Priority Pass at LAX (2019)

Recently, I started a trip around the world — which meant that I go to use my new Priority Pass at LAX. I was flying Hawaiian Airlines from Los Angeles to Honolulu out of Terminal 5, so it was easy to get to three Priority Pass locations: the KAL Lounge and P.F. Chang’s in the international terminal, and the Alaska Airlines lounge in Terminal 6.

Priority Pass at the LAX KAL Lounge

It took me a while to find the KAL Lounge in LAX — mostly because I was in Terminal 4 when I thought I was in the Tom Bradley International Terminal! To get there, you need to walk through the passage on the floor up from the Terminal 4 gate area. Once you get close to the international terminal, you’ll see signs for lounges.

Getting into the KAL lounge at LAX with Priority Pass is easy. I just showed my digital card and boarding pass, and they let me in without question. To be honest, I was mildly concerned that my (nice but clearly relaxed) hoodie, yoga pants, and running shoes might be an issue — but no one cared, and I was far from the most casually dressed in the place.

The LAX KAL lounge itself is…underwhelming. I was there around 2:00 P.M., and it was relatively busy, but still had plenty of places to sit. People seemed to be leaving their bags and going off for food, so I imagine that theft isn’t a big problem (or they’re just overly trusting).

I’d read a few reviews of Priority Pass at LAX, and I wasn’t expecting much. The food at the KAL Lounge was decidedly unimpressive. A few sad sandwiches, little veggie sushi rolls, and some truly alarming looking broccoli soup. The best options were a pasta salad and some cut fruit. There were three hot options, but they were very unappealing. You can also opt for ramen noodles in a cup.Since I was using my unlimited Priority Pass, it didn’t matter — but if I had paid for a business-class ticket on one of the partner airlines, I would not have been happy!

The drinks selection was a bit better. There’s a large cooler of canned beverages, including sodas and beer (think Bud Light). In a different area of the lounge, there were a few red and white wines, as well as five liquors (I think I saw gin, rum, vodka, and a couple of other standards) There’s also a coffee machine.

KAL Lounge at LAX: Is it Worth Using Your Priority Pass?

The lounge itself was fine, especially if you just need a place to wait for your flight in LAX. Mostly clean, with lots of power outlets. There’s a nice  balcony area that overlooks the terminal, but it was full. If you’re planning to eat a lot, you might want to find something to do with your plates. I was there for about 45 minutes, and no one came by to collect my dishes. There were a lot of loud families there, which I didn’t love. It’s certainly not a quiet spot to wait, but it’s better than the gate areas!

The KAL Lounge does have wif — you can find the password at the front desk. I forgot and didn’t want to leave my bags, so I just used the LAX wifi, which was fine.

Overall, I’d say the KAL Lounge at LAX is worth using your Priority Pass only if you have unlimited visits — or if you just need a place to sit and work (or watch Netflix).

Using Priority Pass at LAX at P.F. Chang’s Restaurant

P.F. Chang’s with Priority Pass in LAX

I had never been to a P.F. Chang’s before I used my Priority Pass to visit the one in LAX. The pass gets you a $30 credit, so I figured it was worth a try.

On the Priority Pass app, the LAX P.F. Chang’s description mentions “international flights only”; it’s ambiguous as to whether that refers to the terminal, or if you can only use your pass in connection with an international flight. The hostess didn’t ask for a boarding pass, though, so my domestic flight wasn’t an issue. She scanned my digital pass, gave me a tiny piece of paper, and told me to give it to the server.

I visited the LAX P.F. Chang’s around 3:00, so there weren’t many diners. I got seated quickly. Everyone seemed friendly — until I handed the little paper to my server. She turned cold right away, and from then on, her disinterest was clear. She was brusque in her communications, and practically threw the plates on the table and walked away. It was really disconcerting!

Why this change in attitude? My guess is that LAX Priority Pass users don’t always tip. I didn’t have cash, so I purposely ordered above the minimum so I could put it on my card and add a tip. And of course, I tipped on the actual food amount, not the amount after the Priority Pass discount (because the server doesn’t see any of that credit). Frankly, she did not deserve that tip, given her terrible service — but the polite Midwesterner in me couldn’t bear to leave less than 20%. Plus, I didn’t want to justify her treatment of Priority Pass customers!

How was the food at the P.F. Chang’s in LAX? Truly awful. Think one step down from mall food court fare. I ordered a spicy tuna sushi roll that was so loose, it didn’t actually stay rolled. I also got steamed pork dumplings, and the filling was like lukewarm, tasteless glue. I ate two, and then just peeled off the dumpling skin and left the filling behind. Gross. The only saving grace was the big fat beer. 🙂

LAX P.F. Chang’s with Priority Pass

My advice for using Priority Pass at the LAX P.F. Chang’s? Don’t give your server the little piece of paper until you’re ready for the bill. Maybe you’ll get slightly friendlier service! Also, make sure to leave a tip that reflects the pre-discount amount. And honestly, if I’m ever flying through LAX again, I’ll just take my Priority Pass right to the bar and use it on a couple of drinks.

Priority Pass at LAX’s Terminal 6 Alaska Airlines Lounge

This was a disappointment. I walked over to Terminal 6 to find the Alaska Airlines lounge. Following the Priority Pass app directions, I took an elevator to a creepy, dirty upstairs hallway. When I got to the Alaska Airlines door, it was locked. As I walked away, I heard it open  — and when I turned around, someone had put out a sign that said they weren’t accepting Priority Pass members. (this was 3:45 PM on a Saturday) I’m pretty sure there’s another entrance somewhere, but I didn’t bother to look for it.

Overall Review of Priority Pass at LAX

I was decidedly underwhelmed by the Priority Pass experience at LAX. The best option is the KAL Lounge, but only if you have unlimited visits. Frankly, you’d be better off spending your $27 on a coffee and a snack in the airport and hanging out at a quiet gate.

Have you experienced the other lounges that are part of Priority Pass at LAX? What did you think?

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