Welcome to the final post in the series from my trip to Thailand in 2021. I was surprisingly fresh after arriving in New York on a Japan Airlines flight form Tokyo. A lounge visit was almost unnecessary. With almost six hours until the flight home, the Flagship Lounge was the place to spend the layover. The JFK Flagship Lounge was one of a handful of Flagship Lounges that remained open during Covid.
Before reaching the lounge I had to go through JFK Customs & Immigration, which was a breeze. I used Mobile Passport instead of Global Entry. Mobile Passport is a free app authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It issues an official electronic bar code without having to use a kiosk. You input the information on your phone after landing. Mobile Passport is free and there is no interview. Details are in this post.
Lounge Location & Hours
The JFK American Airlines Flagship Lounge is located in Terminal 8. It is open daily from 04:30-00:15.
Take the elevator or stairs to level 4. After presenting boarding pass and ID, the reception agent will direct you to the Flagship Lounge on the left. An AA Admirals Club is to the right. Don’t go there.
Flagship Lounges are international business class lounges for American Airlines. Yet, anyone traveling on any flight marketed or operated by American or a oneworld airline (regardless of cabin flown or frequent flyer status) is eligible to enter. The kicker is: unless a customer falls into one of the categories below, entering the lounge will set you back $150 (or 15,000 AA miles) per person. That’s steep unless you are on an expense account. The only time I paid to enter a lounge was at the exquisite Qatar Al Safwa First Clasps Lounge in Doha. Paying for a few hours in that lounge was well worth the $69 price of admission.
Getting in free depends on your class of service, type of flight, or status in the frequent flyer program of American Airlines or any other oneworld Alliance airline. Get access if you’re traveling in first or business on a qualifying same-day international, transcontinental or other domestic flight marketed and operated by American, a oneworld airline or marketed by JetBlue and operated by American. International flights exclude Mexico, Canada, Caribbean, Central American, and some South American destinations. A qualifying same-day international, transcontinental or other domestic flight is a flight marketed as providing Flagship service.
Customers with at least mid-tier status with American or Alaska Airlines get access when departing, arriving or connecting on a qualifying same-day international flight (regardless of cabin) marketed and operated by American, a oneworld airline or marketed by JetBlue and operated by American.
Customers with mid-tier or higher status with any oneworld airline other than American or Alaska Airlines get access when departing, arriving or connecting to any same-day flight marketed and operated by American or a oneworld® airline (regardless of cabin). Except for customers who purchase access, at least one guest is allowed without charge. Pets in carryon kennels can enter with their traveling companion and they don’t count as a guest.
My Japan Airlines business class boarding pass for the flight from Tokyo was my ticket to enter. When the sliding doors at the entrance opened, a surprise welcome awaited.
Food & Beverages
Eating, drinking and scrolling on phones seem to be the favorite pastimes in lounges. Flagship Lounges are among the best in the U.S. when it comes to free beverages and buffets. The JFK Flagship Lounge also contains a Flagship Dining restaurant offering free a la carte meals only for first class customers and American’s super-secret Concierge Key members. Flagship Dining is not covered in this post because I did not qualify to enter.
The stay lasted long enough that I was able to see what was offered for breakfast and lunch. Here is the breakfast menu:
These is an excellent selection of Western fare. I’d recommend adding about three pancake machine like they have in Alaska Airlines lounges and others.
This buffet is better and faster than just about any airport restaurant.
Lunch service begins at 10:30.
I enjoyed pernil, sea bream, egg plant and a couple of deserts.
All beverages and food are without charge. There is a good selection of quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Putting water in paper cartons helps our problems with plastic waste.
I had no problem creating satisfying meals for breakfast and lunch.
Lounges provide quiet places to work and relax. Several areas and types of seating accommodate those activities.
There are booths for people to make cell phone calls. Unfortunately, almost no one uses them.
Flagship Lounges have some of the nicest showers of a business class lounge anywhere in the world. The showers were closed in November but are open now.
Click on images to enlarge.
American Airlines Flagship Lounges are outstanding U.S. lounges and compare favorably to many foreign lounges for business class passengers. They are one of the reasons why I switched from Delta to American as my primary airline several years ago. Delta is now creating dedicated lounges for business class passengers that will address this competitive disadvantage. I hope the competition leads American to make more improvements to Flagship Lounges.
Thanks for sticking with me through all of the posts about Thailand. I’ll add a post that amalgamates all of the posts for easy reference.