OMG: American Airlines Serving Krug Champagne In Lounges

Starting around the middle of last year, American introduced the Flagship First Dining concept. These are essentially lounges within lounges.

American has Flagship Lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and they have Flagship First Dining in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Flagship First Dining is a tranquil space that offers a restaurant style dining experience. Frankly I pinch myself every time I use one of these, because they just don’t feel like something you’d expect from a US airline.


American’s Flagship First Dining JFK

These lounges are really exclusive, in the sense that they’re only open to those traveling in three cabin first class. American’s only planes with three cabin international first class are their 20 Boeing 777-300ERs, and then on top of that they have 17 Airbus A321s that they fly between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco, which also feature three cabin first class. They’ve also now started inviting some Concierge Key members to use these.

These spaces feature a la carte dining, with the quality seeming to vary quite a bit by airport. Most data points I’ve heard suggest that the JFK facility consistently has excellent food, while the LAX one doesn’t.


American’s Flagship First Dining LAX

American has just greatly upped their Flagship First Dining champagne game.

As reported by View from the Wing, American Airlines is serving Krug champagne in Flagship First Dining. Apparently it will be around until at least March 2019, though if they get positive feedback they may keep it around beyond that.

As people will often point out in the comments section, most people probably couldn’t tell the difference between certain champagnes from a blind taste test. So largely this is about marketing. If someone knows they’re having something that’s expensive and exclusive, they’re more likely to think highly of it… and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Krug is one of my favorite champagnes out there (for the record, give me a blind taste test and I’ll be able to pick it out), and it’s not cheap. So the fact that American is offering this represents a nice investment in this lounge product.

While American is the first US carrier to serve complimentary Krug in a lounge, I’d note that you can actually redeem Delta SkyMiles for Krug in their SkyClubs, and it’s an excellent value, at just 10,000 SkyMiles per bottle.

Have you used American’s Flagship First Dining lately? What was your experience like?

Comments

  1. The food I’ve had at LAX has consistently been awful, to the point that the buffet outside is better. At least the champagne will be something to stop by for.

  2. I have visited both JFK and LAX Flagship Dining. Both have green experiences. The servings are small, but that’s ok.

  3. I was recently at the Flagship in ORD for a short bit after a JAL flight before continuing on to CLT. The breakfast buffet spread was pretty good by lounge standards. My only issue was that in the mornings, the sun shines straight into the windows and makes it uncomfortably hot if you want the unobstructed tarmac views. I didn’t see any shades that could be lowered to help alleviate the offending sunlight.

  4. Given there are free cocktails this isn’t a deal, similar to purchasing the lobster for $35 dollars at an all inclusive when the filet / lamb / duck is free. If they had an off-premise license you may be on to something. Maybe a fun redemption if you have endless miles.

  5. “If someone knows they’re having something that’s expensive and exclusive, they’re more likely to think highly of it… and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

    There’s nothing wrong with that? Yuck!

  6. Maybe they should try to do something better at DFW. Just had a lay over on a FC flight LHR-DFW-LAX route, and the best they could do is the standard J lounge, with a couple of free drink coupons each. And of course, no Krug. We settled for Negronis. Best they could say is the Flag lounge is projected to open “next March”.

    What’s with the two coupons anyway? Any other FC lounge would be unlimited. Just because the Flag lounge isn’t finished, that’s no reason to stick FC TATL passengers with 2 coupons, regardless of the length of the lay over. How about a “drinks are on the house” coupon?

    On the other hand the Cathay Pacific FC lounge at LHR went far beyond expectations, with menu based table service. Even if we did have to walk over to the J lounge for the full bar.

  7. Good thing the airline in disArrAy is shelling out money on something so pointless. What AAre they trying to accomplish by doing this?

  8. I am flying F on a transcon from JFK to SFO in a few weeks at 6:59 AM. Should I show up at the lounge at 5:30 AM and drink Krug mimosas?

  9. I hadn’t seen Krug associated with Delta since late 2001 into 2002 when they were suddenly pouring it in biz-elite and just as suddenly stopped… figured back then that someone had stumbled into a trove left over from the days of those maroon leather recliners.

  10. Both lax and jfk had excellent food options on my visits over this past year. The only difference for me is being driven to the plane at JFK all 5 visits this year. The lovely older woman who escorts you via backdoor to the awaiting SUV is just so friendly.

  11. @Anthony: I’m sorry to tell you, but New York City law forbids alcohol before 8 AM Monday-Saturday and before 12 PM on Sundays.
    I was in this unfortunate situation lately 🙁

  12. I was in the Flagship First Dining Room at JFK seven days ago and it was Bollinger, not Krug, being served. Then on the plane the Champagne was only Charles Ellner. One sip was enough.

  13. If you think Krug or Dom Perignon is great, you meed to try ACTUAL quality champagne. Try Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Vintages. Krug and Dom are garbage.

  14. Hi Lucky,

    I don’t know how often it happens, but I was invited to the Flagship First Dining even though I was in Business class headed from LAX to Mexico. I saw them handing out quite a few passes. This was in June, so, unfortunately, no Krug.

  15. “If someone knows they’re having something that’s expensive and exclusive, they’re more likely to think highly of it… and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

    There’s quite a lot wrong with that actually… Materialism at its worst!

  16. You also get access to flagship first dining at JFK flying Cathay first. I did recently JFK to YVR. Nice but I’ll take better whisky over champagne any day. Food was very good as was service .

  17. @Mike – Krug Grand Cuvee is a fine mid-range champagne. The tones are not too complex and the acidity is fine to accompany a multitude of dishes. My personal favorites are Salon Brut Blanc 2006 and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998.

  18. @Mike: I would not consider any branded vintage to be “good” champagne, they are all 110% marketing and have little or no relation to their terroir…If you want proper champagne try Agrapart, Selosse, Egly-Ouriet, Lamandier-Bernier, etc. Those are the real deal, not chemically induced sugary nonsense like any expensive vintage…

  19. @Mike – yes, many do and apparently you do too – enough to comment.

    I’m sure you have hobbies or likes that no one else cares about.

  20. My issue with Flagship First dining at LAX isn’t the food or the champagne, it’s the obscene amount of square footage given over to something that’s used by so few people. I get it, they want exclusivity. But it’s come at a cost – the Admirals Club was reduced in size by half and it’s very common to walk in and find nowhere to sit. The Flagship Lounge is laid out *terribly* and is often completely full at peak times as well.

    Mark my words, we’ll see the interior of the LAX lounge rearranged again within a few years. If the Flagship First dining concept survives at all (I’m skeptical) it’ll be reduced in size. They have a limited footprint to work with, and right now too much space is allocated to something that often has almost nobody using it.

  21. I did a visit in late June only to my disappointment: They had temporarily downgraded Bollinger. It’s good to see the upgrade, that was certainly the weak point IMO.

  22. I’m a CK with AA, so they invite me to FFD even on a PE ticket. I’ve never been that impressed with the food they serve and am still bitter they now serve crap, off-label champagne in the main part of the FL. Going for great, my ass.

    The best North American premium lounge is still the AC Signature Suite at YYZ

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