I’m writing this post from The Loft, Virgin America’s lounge at LAX Terminal 3 on the night of May 10th. Tonight is the last night for this lounge to be open, and I happen to be flying into LAX this evening. Normally I would go directly from the airport to my go-to hotel at LAX, The Hyatt Regency. But since the club is closing I decided to stop by and pay one final visit, on the final evening of, Virgin America’s only lounge.
The evening is lively with many guests visiting the premises. The bar staff just started offering free libations, and everyone is enjoying themselves. As I sit here and type I’ve overheard a few patrons discussing that tonight is the last night for the lounge, and that Virgin America is moving over to Terminal 6 with its parent company Alaska Airlines.
The big move is on at LAX, and in particular at Terminal 3. On landing and disembarking from my SFO-LAX Virgin America flight, we used the gate on the Spirit side of the terminal (gate 34). I’ve never wondered over to the Spirit side of the terminal, and what a sea of humanity it is. I didn’t realize how many Spirit flights operate out of LAX.
Looking around Terminal 3 there are subtle, and less subtle signs that change is coming during the next few days. Most of the eating establishments are boarded up and closed (except for Burger King). Many of the terminal areas looked as if they are being prepped for construction. On the plus side, Shake Shack is coming to Terminal 3 this summer. In front of The Loft there is a sign indicating the move by Virgin America to Terminal 6 on May 13th, and that The Loft is closing May 10th. On the way into The Loft there is also a notice of a liquor license for the future Delta Sky Club.
The lounge itself also looks pretty rough, but maybe that should be expected on the last night of operation. A lot of the padded furniture is missing and the staff has repositioned chairs from other areas of the lounge to fill in the spaces. I would imagine the attitude is “get by until tonight, and then close the place down.” The staff has been very friendly and doing good work on keeping the place clean and the guests served.
I was a little critical of The Loft in my past review. I’ve always liked the design and style of the lounge itself, but thought the food offering was sub-par. It will be interesting to see what Alaska Airlines, the new combined Alaska Airlines, does with its lounge products going forward. The first post-merger Alaska Airlines lounge is slated to open this summer in Seattle. A second one is scheduled for the combined Terminal 7 at JFK early in 2018. Will these new lounges by Alaska Airlines take a page from Virgin America and improve the design look? I recently visited the Delta lounge at Seattle, and Alaska has a lot of catching up to do. The new Delta Sky Club at Seattle is superb.
At 11:15pm I took a seat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of wine. Five minutes later the last of the guests exited the space, and it was just myself as I watched the workers prepare to vacate the facilities. Things accelerated from there, and I decided to get out of their way. I wasn’t planning on being the last person in the club, but it ended up being that way, and I was glad I had one final evening to visit. Cheers to Virgin America’s first, last, and final lounge.