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Flight Review: Virgin Australia International Business Class LAX-MEL

One of the Star Alliance lounge's bars.Virgin Australia used to depart Terminal 3, and while their check-in desks are still there, you actually have to exit the terminal and walk down to the Tom Bradley International Terminal to pass through security and to your gate. A lot of late-night flights to Asia were departing around that time so security was a zoo, even in the premium lanes, and I was glad I had extra time because it took a while.

My business class ticket got me access to LAX’s much ballyhooed new Star Alliance Lounge (which is operated by Air New Zealand).The outdoor deck. The lounge opened back in September and has some really unique features (certainly by LA lounge standards) like an open-air patio with fire pits, a balcony that overlooks the terminal and fun little rooms like a “Library” with books painted on the walls (I mean, who reads in LA?), another with a huge photographic mural of the Hollywood sign, and plenty of different seating areas.

Some of the cold appetizers.

Though the palette is somewhat muted, the appearance is clean and stylish and looks like it’s based on LA’s mid-century modern heyday with chairs that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of recent seasons of Mad Men. More importantly, there were tons of outlets and the WiFi was fast, so I was able to get that little bit of last-minute work done before my flight.

The kitchen/cafe area displayed the usual selection of food with cold cuts, salads and wraps.

As well as a small hot section with pasta and chicken parmesan (which I’m afraid did not look appetizing).

And perhaps my favorite food feature, the DIY noodle soup bar where you could choose noodles (rice or egg), chicken or tofu, a variety of veggies and sauces and then ladle your own beef broth over. I had a bowl and it hit the spot after my stressful evening.

The hot ones didn't look that great. Loved the DIY noodle bar. The main business class cabin. I got 2 seats to myself.

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