Last week I stopped by the United Club at LAX. I’ve been avoiding lounges during the pandemic, but was curious to see what steps United has taken to create a safer environment at its LAX club as well as what service still remains.
United Club LAX During Pandemic
Some things don’t change. I was warmly greeted by Bruce at the door, a 45-year United veteran who has been a graceful presence at LAX for as long as I have been flying.
One thing I noticed immediately: no more morning rush. This lounge used to be packed during the early morning hours, but with United’s schedule greatly reduced during the pandemic, I had the lounge mostly to myself. When I arrived there was a couple other passengers inside, but the majority (a whole half dozen…) were sitting on the patio.
The United Club at LAX is unique in that it has an outdoor patio. That has always been a pleasant place to sit, but now it a preferred point of congregation for passengers who wish to enjoy the fresh air (occasionally dashed with the fumes of jet fuel) during the pandemic. Couches have been removed and replaced with additional tables and chairs, allowing more passengers to sit outside while practicing social distancing.
Throughout the lounge are new signs implementing social distancing. Passengers are asked to space out indoors and hand sanitizer is available. In practice, the lounge is so empty right now there is no need at all to worry about sitting near someone.
Staff are vigilant and clean tables immediately after a passenger departs.
How About Food + Drink?
The buffet is empty and the drink machines turned off. There are no more self-service offers.
Instead, bar staff have both food and drink available behind a plexiglass divider.
Breakfast options included:
- String cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Granola bars
- Apple sauce
- Chocolate pudding
There were also all-day options like:
- Chocolate chips
Coffee, tea, juices, water, soft drinks, and alcohol are available as well, by request. No espresso-based drinks are available now.
You may ask how this Club can even open. Aren’t both indoor restaurants and bars shut down in Los Angeles County? While true, United has worked closely with state and local health officials to carve out a compromise in which passengers are kept safe while not being forced to shut down. With 20,000 square feet, this is easily achievable based upon current crowds.
I have not published a full review of this lounge since it is opened in late 2016. Tomorrow, I’ll publish a full review. But today I wanted to focus on how the lounge has changed during the pandemic. In short, it’s a great time to visit the lounge in terms of crowds. But if you’re expecting Korean beef tacos and other (former) lounge favorites, you’ll have to wait a bit longer…