Review: Delta One at LAX Private Check-In Lounge and Experience

Check-in desk, built from a DC-9 horizontal stabilizer

Check-in desk, built from a DC-9 horizontal stabilizer

By Jonathan Spira on 16 November 2015
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It started with an e-mail: “Expect Something New When You Check In For Your Upcoming Flight,” the subject line read. However, the e-mail, which promises a seamless experience from curbside to airside with the new Delta One at LAX check-in lounge didn’t really do the experience justice.

I had already told my driver to be on the lookout for the “Delta One” signage as we approached Terminal 5 and we were able to pull in directly in front. Waiting was a friendly greeter who asked whether we were heading to Delta One. Receiving an affirmative reply, she welcomed me with a warm smile, took charge of my roll aboard, and escorted me to the check-in desk.

That the check-in agents sit at a desk versus a counter is itself noteworthy but the story of the check-in desk is deserving of particular mention. It is built from a horizontal stabilizer from a retired Douglas DC-9 aircraft. Saved from a desert retirement at the Pinal Airpark in Marana, Arizona, the desk was designed by MotoArt, an El Segundo-based company. The DC-9 (N401EA) was built by Douglas in Long Beach, just about 22 miles (35 kilometers) down the road from where I was standing.

Delta One at LAX greeters awaiting the next passenger

Delta One at LAX greeters awaiting the next passenger

In addition to the desk, another noteworthy architectural accent is the glass wall past the check-in area. It was built by another local company, Livinglass, using recycled materials.

Check-in took much longer than it would for a typical traveler because I spent time admiring and discussing the desk. The staff is used to it and ready to accommodate people taking photos of the desk and lounge. In fact, the greeter began to pose when I stepped out of the car, camera in hand.


I had already checked in using the Delta iPhone app and had my seat and boarding pass on my Apple Watch. However, wanting the whole Delta One experience, I checked in with the agent as well. I handed over my passport as identification and she invited me to take a seat and she’d bring my boarding pass over. Had I been checking luggage, the staff at the lounge would have taken it at that point.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Lounge, Snacks, and Security Checkpoint

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