Airline and airport lounges are gradually reopening and restoring services that were closed or curtailed because of Covid. American Airlines began reopening its premier Flagship Lounges on September 14, 2021. Flagship Lounges are reserved primarily for American and oneworld passengers flying internationally in first class or business class. In connection with the reopening, American Airlines has, for the first time, made Flagship Lounge access available to anyone – for $150 per person.
American’s basic domestic lounges, Admirals Clubs, aren’t bad (a recent review is here), but Flagship Lounges are a huge step up from the experience Admirals Club members receive. American has Flagship Lounges in New York (JFK), Miami, FL (MIA), Dallas, TX (DFW), Chicago, IL (ORD), and Los Angeles, CA (LAX) its international gateways except for Charlotte, NC and Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia will have a new Flagship Lounge by the end of the year.
Previously, Flagship Lounge access was open only to a tiny fraction of travelers. As of September 14, 2021, American Airlines for the first time began selling Flagship Lounge access to any passenger flying an American Airlines or oneworld flight, domestic or international. The price is $150 per person.
This fee is per visit not per day. So a passenger connecting on the same day through multiple cities with Flagship Lounges can visit only one for this price. In contrast, the $59 Admirals Club day pass provides access to all Admirals Clubs on the day of purchase (departing and arriving flights) and includes access for up to three family members under age 18.
Are Flagship Lounges worth $150? That depends on various facts and circumstances, but for me I think not. The price seems high even by American’s standards.
Prior to the pandemic, American tested selling access to First Class Dining at DFW. First Class Dining is a more exclusive part of some Flagship Lounges that offers a la carte dinning and ultra premium alcohol like $150 bottles of champagne. American’s top elites could buy access initially for $150, and the price was later dropped to $100!
Miami Flagship Lounge
My favorite Flagship Lounge is the one in Miami. It is spacious but intimate having been divided into several separate seating areas. This lounge has First Class Dining, but other than that is identical to other Flagship Lounges in terms of food and beverages, décor, nd amenities.
I’m sharing photos of the Miami lounge here because I discovered that I’ve never reviewed it. The lounge is located near Gate D30. It is scheduled to reopen on September 28, followed two days later by the reopening of its Flagship First Dinning room.
The essential service of any lounge is comfortable seating in a quiet environment. The Miami Flagship Lounge has an abundance of comfortable seating with access to electrical power and free wifi.
The strength of the Flagship Lounges is found in their food and beverage offerings. All food and beverages are free. Food is served on a buffet. Breakfast is served until 10:30. Lunch and dinner items are provided after that. I’d rate the quality as being on par with American Express Centurion Lounges.
In addition to the main buffet, the lounge has several other food service areas for lighter options like soup, fruit, cereal and pastries.
For those lucky enough to be flying internationally in first class, the Flagship First Dining room serves a la carte dining and more expensive booze, wine and champagne than is available in the general seating areas.
There is also a station that serves specialty items, pulled pork sliders in this case.
All alcoholic beverages are free and are of a higher quality than the free drinks served in Admirals Clubs.
Alcohol is self service, which I prefer to avoid waiting on a bartender. A premium wine bar is stocked with domestic and imported wine and champagne.
There are recliners for napping and a TV room for catching up on the news or watching the big game.
Flagship Lounges have some of the best lounge showers in the U.S.. They are equipped with toilets, hair dryers, towels, and seating areas. Dental and shaving kits are available on request. A shower and a shave is relaxing and makes my upcoming flight more enjoyable, especially when flying economy.
American closed the showers in the Admirals Clubs because of Covid. I don’t know if they will be open in the Flagship Lounges. Attendants clean the shower rooms after each guest. That would seem to take care of any Covid issues.
Last, like Admirals Clubs, Flagship Lounges are staffed with representatives who can assist with travel questions or issues relating to American and oneworld partners. The Flagship Lounge reps might even be better than the ones in Admirals Club.
Thanks for taking the time to check out the post. Do you think airline and airport lounges do or could enhance your travel experience?