When I originally booked my V Australia Business Class ticket via Delta miles, I had a long layover at LAX that I was hoping to change as the date got closer. Eventually I convinced myself that this was a good thing, I could get out of the airport a bit before a 15 hour flight. That and I struggled with Delta's famous award availability. So I embraced this and decided to make the most of the time I had.
I planned on going for a run in the nice warm LA air, as I try to work out daily when traveling, and I thought it to be particularly important since I had such a long flight coming up, and much of my time was spent sitting around eating or sleeping.
My flight from Minneapolis arrived into Terminal 5 at LAX. I went to the Sky Club there to do some work and watch a little NFL football. I no longer have a Sky Club membership, but same day V Australia Business Class customers are granted access to Sky Clubs, which I took advantage of along the way, and it proved particularly useful here. I made my way back to the reception desk, and gently asked the agent if there was somewhere I could store my baggage there while I went for a run. She was happy to let me leave my bags right at the desk.
It was an odd sensation, as when I run, i usually go with a very minimalist approach, but given my situation, I was a bit heavier than usual, with my ID and boarding pass to get back through security. I had my usual ipod and headset with Nike +. I also brought my phone, just in case. So after changing, I was dressed in short sleeves and shorts, and ready to run, so I was off, through T5, and outside security. I felt a bit out of place dressed like this in an airport, but I was more worried about my sweaty post-run appearance.
I had read about people walking/running directly from the LAX terminals, but due to limited sidewalks and lots of traffic, I decided to catch a ride and opted for the Parking Spot shuttle as discussed on Flyertalk. Click here for more information on the Parking Spot at Sepulveda. That allowed me to get away from the madness of LAX, and some nice sidewalks for running. I ran just north of the airport, and actually got to see countless planes arriving and departing during my run.
Qantas had recently grounded their fleet. I was quite glad to be flying V Australia that day!
After my run, I took advantage of the location of the Parking Spot shuttle, after cooling down and some photos...
Dusk departure from 24R
...I had to get an In-N-Out Burger.
Google Map view of the area I ran.
After a burger and re-hydrating, I went back to the parking area, and caught the next shuttle back to LAX. The bus was about half full, and while I felt a bit conspicuous, it didn't seem to be a problem. I then returned to the Sky Club, collected my bags, and then took a shower.
LAX Sky Club shower
The showers at the LAX Sky club were quite nice, and well appointed. How I wish United had more easily accessible showers.
Besides towels and shower basics, there was also a kit containing a razor, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.
Sky Club shower amenities
I was cleaned up, and spent a few minutes relaxing in the club, but I still had to change terminals since V Australia departs from Terminal 3. There are a few airside shuttles that are available since Delta codeshares with Alaska in Terminal 3. I showed my itinerary, and was placed on a shuttle to take me to Terminal 3. I had a whole shuttle to myself, which was a bit of a waste. Its not quite like the ride from the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in a Porsche, but it was pretty cool to ride across the tarmac at a busy airport like LAX. I tried to get photos of the various aircraft along the way, but didn't have much luck, as it was very dark.
LAX airside shuttle between T5 and T3
Once I got to Terminal 3, I went to the V Australia counter to get my boarding pass. I also got an invitation to the Alaska Airlines Boardroom, which serves as the departure lounge for V Australia premium passengers in LAX.
Lounge invitation with the VA sarcastic tone.
I entered the very busy LAX Alaska lounge which was upstairs just a short distance from the V Australia gate. With both Alaska passengers and VA business guests for my flight to Sydney, and a later flight to Melbourne, there were very few empty seats.
Maybe 30 minute before boarding time, several V Australia flight attendants made their way around the lounge greeting guests. They introduced themselves, and let us know when the flight would be departing. This was a nice touch. While the Alaska Airlines Board Room is a decent lounge for domestic US, there is little comparison with international lounges. Even Virgin Australia's domestic lounges put this to shame.
Soon, it was time to board, and I headed downstairs, then over to the gate for boarding for my V Australia Business Class flight from LAX to Sydney.
V Australia 777-300ER operating VA 002. Taken from a bouncy airside shuttle