Prior to boarding the flight from LHR to Charlotte, NC, I had a few minutes to visit the American Airlines First Class Lounge in Terminal 3.
American’s Lounge Makeover
American is going through an extensive lounge makeover process. During this process it has renamed its best lounges, the Flagship Lounges, as International First Class Lounges. Compared to other lounges for first class passengers and top tier elites, these lounges have long needed to improve their interior look and dining options. Once the renovations are finished, American will again call these lounges Flagship lounges.
American has almost completed the changes at the International First Class Lounge at JFK Terminal 8. It now has a much more contemporary look.
To further illustrate what the new lounges will look like and to compare to other OneWorld alliance lounges, here is a review of the progress of the renovation at JFK and reviews of First Class Lounges of Japan Airlines NRT Main Terminal and Satellite Terminal, Cathay Pacific The Pier and the Wing and Cabanas at HKG and Ethiad.
LHR International First Class Lounge
The American International First Class Lounge is located on the Terminal 3 concourse level at lounge area H. It is inside the Admirals Club.
After presenting my business-class boarding pass to the agent at the Admirals Club check in desk, I told her I wanted to go to the first class lounge. She seemed confused like it was the first time she’d had that request. I explained that Executive Platinums were entitled to use Flagship lounges and first class lounges when travelling internationally. After about a minute of perusing the boarding pass while looking perplexed, she pressed the button that opened the door to the International First Class Lounge. Sheesh!
It was immediately apparent that this lounge needed serious updating. Entering the lounge, the food area is on the right. Restrooms and showers are on the left. The main seating area is straight ahead at the back of the lounge. There are windows but no tarmac views.
The seating and decor is pretty dismal compared to the first class lounges in the reviews above and to the remodeling at JFK.
Next to the seating area is a small business center.
The highlight of this lounge is the small dining area where one can order a meal or eat food from the buffet.
I brought some food from the buffet to one of the tables. I did not have enough time to try the menu. The breakfast menu looked appealing while the afternoon a la carte selection was limited to two items.
The buffet is well stocked with breakfast items.
Alcoholic beverages are also set up in the buffet area which also offers coffee, juice and bottled water of course.
Next to the buffet was an informal dining area.
I did not get to check out the showers but just took a pee(k) in the bathroom. It was clean but again not up to the standards of other first class lounges.
Being disappointed with the current state of this lounge, on my way out I asked one of the attendants about the plans American has advertised on its website to renovate the lounge, establish a First Class Dining area, and convert the lounge back to a Flagship lounge. The attendant informed me that she was aware of no such plans.
Except for the small dining area with a la carte options, the condition of this lounge was a letdown. The agent at the check in counter was unaware of the criteria for access, and other employees were clueless about the renovation plans. For this lounge I give American a Needs Big Improvement. There is hope for the future though as long as Executive Platinums retain access to all features of the remodeled lounge.