LAX Admirals Club Gate 52 Review (Remote Terminal 5)

I’m traveling out of the remote 5 (gate 52) terminal at LAX today and had a chance to visit this Admirals Club. This is a HUGE benefit if you’re flying out of this remote bus terminal. There are not a lot of amenities for these Gate 52A-52Z or well what ever letter. I had low expectations for this lounge as I’m used to visiting the United Lounges at IAH that are tiny and have no toilets.  I’m not sure how crowded this lounge gets but it was very nice, not over crowded at 6am to 8am on a Thursday but maybe that was just luck.

They offer a full bar, typical food. Super nice staff and 4 toilets (2 Female and 2 Male). You could even use this as an arrivals lounge but no showers. The toilets are very large and would be easy to change clothes, etc.

Silly but AA is flying some 4 hour type routes on Regional RJ Jets into this terminal. I’m getting ready to board a non-stop to MCI that clocks in at about 3:40’ish. Thankfully my upgrade cleared at a lowly AA Gold. This route doesn’t seem to be elite heavy on the days I fly this route. This is a nice route for our small’ish Kansas City airport as it gives us a non-stop to a large HUB on the West Coast.

Summary: American doesn’t always get things right but this is one bright spot in a not so awesome terminal area. Thanks AA

Trip Review: Business trip to New York City

OK here is the recap of what I did and learned on my recent trip to NYC for business. I had business on Monday in Baltimore so I flew into Washington Reagan DCA and stayed in Baltimore Sunday night. Took care of business in Maryland on Monday.

Monday afternoon: I drove into NYC and got to Avis at LGA at about 9pm. I experienced terrible service there. Took the shuttle over to the D terminal and called HyattPlace Flushing to pick me up. They arrived in about 15 minutes. Very cold about 4 degrees out so it was nice to wait inside the terminal while waiting.
Cost and lesson so far: A one way rental with Avis from DCA $200 plus gas and NJ turpike and bridge tolls. It would have been much cheaper to drop and stay out in Newark I’m thinking. The shuttle tickets from DCA, BWI, etc. much too expensive during this period.

Arrived at the HyattPlace Flushing at about 10pm only to find out that Pointshound screwed up my reservation. Luckily the best front desk person in the world (Kristine ? I think) at the Hyatt got a hold of Pointshound and got them to rebook me at the nearby ParcHotel as the HyattPlace was sold out. The ParcHotel was very nice and only about 2 blocks of 4 degree and ice covered walking. The Hyatt offered to shuttle me over even. ParcHotel was actually about $25 a night cheaper so Pointshound in theory will refund me the difference.

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Lesson and note to self: Maybe not use Pointshound in the future? If I stay at ParcHotel Flushing make sure to ask for a North facing room so I can again view the LGA airfield and flights (NICE).

Tuesday: Was able to travel to the Bronx via the Main Street Flushing subway station. Cost about $2.75. Took care of business there and took the subway to The Bronx, another $2.75. Took care of business there and headed back to Flushing, another $2.75. Not bad.

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Lesson: Don’t swipe your Metro subway card in two different turnstiles. If it doesn’t take the first time stay on that one so you don’t lose $2.75 (My bad). Oh and don’t do a walking tour of NYC when it’s 4 degrees out. It effects the train schedule, crowding and your body.

Able to find good Chinese food and even visit the Mall next to the ParcHotel which was a very nice location.

Lesson: Start learning Cantonese or Mandarin or something since everywhere you go lately there are Chinese tourist :)

Wednesday: Used local car service to LGA at 5am. Flat rate $22 plus tip of course. US Airways flight out of Terminal C. Enjoyed the AA club there and met a super nice guy that claimed to be an 18 year Chairman member due to his frequent travel along the East coast. He knew everyone in the airport. He knew that you can get a Wall Street Journal at the Delta Shuttle area and better coffee. AA only has NY Times and USA Today.

Lesson: AA club at LGA Terminal C is required to have CNN on 5 TV’s and ESPN on two TV’s however you can request they change it. Once you leave or after so long they have to change it back.

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Reasons I like airport lounges

The first time I gained access to an airport lounge was the Delta lounge at Miami years ago on a long layover. It’s a nice little lounge with a great view of the airfield. It was special. I was scared to eat the free food and couldn’t believe how clean the restrooms could be in an airport.

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Many like airport lounges for the free wifi, free drinks, access to expert airline staff, free food, etc. There are many ways to gain access. You can be an elite member of an airline or buy your way in with expensive day passes. You can also be a member of a third party lounge network like Priority Pass or you can have a high annual fee airline branded credit card. The cheapest is to be the guest of a person with access that can get you into this “secret” world.

So why do I like airport lounges? I like them for the ability to relax with mostly normal humans in an area with comfortable seats, usually somewhat quiet and with restrooms that aren’t crowded and/or gross.

As much as I like all that one of the best parts of airports and airport lounges is people watching. I won’t include photos here but think Walmart with mass transit. At the gate or on the plane you’ll find all kinds of people from folks with $2,000 business suits to middle aged men in cartoon character pajama pants.  It’s an interesting cross section. When you get into the lounge you tend to lose the cartoon pants (mostly) but you have a cross section of business travelers, elite jet setters and what I see as older semi or totally retired frequent travelers with disposable income. It’s interesting to talk with people to see where they are going, where they have been or why they are there. It’s just fun.  Sure some of them are picky or some may act like snobs but most aren’t bad. Even if they don’t like the wine selection or the coffee machine. It’s still light years away from the terminal gate areas in my experience.

Next time you find yourself in a lounge or even stuck outside the doors and can’t get in. Take a minute to look around you and study the people. It’s fun to watch.

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