Review: American Flagship First Dining Dallas DFW (Surprisingly Terrible)

Filed Under: American

Flagship First Dining is American’s most exclusive lounge facility, and I was looking forward to checking out the DFW location, which is the last one I hadn’t yet visited.

Flagship First Dining is also the only time you’ll be served Krug champagne when flying American Airlines, so that in and of itself makes this place pretty awesome. 😉

American Flagship First Dining Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Review

Overall American Airlines has done a good job with overhauling their international premium lounges. While American has five Flagship Lounges, four of them have Flagship First Dining. I’ve reviewed Flagship First Dining in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles (the Chicago Flagship Lounge doesn’t have Flagship First Dining, due to the lack of first class at the airport).

These are intended to be international first class lounges that offer a la carte dining, a quieter ambiance, and elevated service.

American Flagship First Dining DFW Access Requirements

Flagship First Dining is reserved for:

  • Those traveling in American three cabin 777-300ER first class to/from Asia, Europe, or South America same day, even on connecting itineraries; these passengers are allowed to bring one guest into Flagship First Dining
  • Those traveling in American three cabin first class between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco (though this isn’t very useful for the DFW facility); these passengers aren’t allowed to bring any guests into Flagship First Dining
  • For the past couple of years, Concierge Key members have received two passes for Flagship First Dining every year, which they can use whenever they want
  • While in general flying oneworld first class doesn’t get you access to Flagship First Dining, there are specific agreements that American has with partners:
    • British Airways first class passengers can use Flagship First Dining at DFW
    • British Airways first class passengers can use Flagship First Dining at MIA
    • Cathay Pacific first class passengers can use Flagship First Dining at JFK

On top of all that, American is currently running a test where they’re selling Flagship First Dining access to Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members traveling on long haul flights.

American Flagship First Dining DFW Hours

While the Flagship Lounge is open daily from 5AM until 10PM, Flagship First Dining is only open from 8AM until 10PM.

While Flagship Lounges try to be open for all the hours where passengers could possibly use it, Flagship First Dining is only open over hours where there’s actually a significant amount of demand.

The first departing flight with three cabin first class is at around 11AM to Hong Kong. However, the first arriving flight with first class is from Sao Paulo at 5:20AM.

So they’re definitely excluding some passengers by not opening earlier, but I guess they’re fine with that.

American Flagship First Dining DFW Location

Flagship First Dining is located inside the Flagship Lounge. This is located in Terminal D, between gates D21 & D22.

Flagship Lounge DFW exterior

The entrance to Flagship First Dining is about halfway into the lounge, and you’ll see the door on the right side.

Flagship First Dining DFW exterior


Flagship First Dining DFW exterior

When you arrive at the Flagship Lounge you’re supposed to be informed of access to Flagship First Dining, and if you want to use it, one of the agents is supposed to walk you to the facility.

For what it’s worth, I arrived at the Flagship Lounge the moment it opened (at 5AM), though the agent didn’t inform me I was entitled to using Flagship First Dining. I get that the facility wasn’t open, but you’d think they’d explain to me what the facility is, and that it opens at 8AM.

Of course it wasn’t an issue for me since I knew about it, but from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know…

American Flagship First Dining DFW Layout & Seating

American’s Flagship First Dining at DFW is 1,440 square feet, and seats 54 people. It’s quite a beautiful facility, and is similarly designed to other Flagship First Dining locations.

Just inside the entrance is the bar area, which has four high-top seats by the bar, and then two pairs of awkwardly placed seats around the bar — I’m not sure what purpose they serve, exactly.

Flagship First Dining DFW bar


Flagship First Dining DFW bar


Flagship First Dining DFW bar area


Flagship First Dining DFW seating

Then there’s a partition, and on the other side is the main dining area, which has just under 20 tables. Most of the tables seat two people each…


Flagship First Dining DFW seating


Flagship First Dining DFW seating


Flagship First Dining DFW seating


Flagship First Dining DFW seating

…though there are also some tables seating four people.


Flagship First Dining DFW seating


Flagship First Dining DFW seating

The one slight disappointment with Flagship First Dining DFW (well, in addition to everything else… stay tuned), is that the lounge doesn’t have amazing views.

Flagship First Dining at JFK has incredible views of the apron, while Flagship First Dining DFW is located in the interior of the lounge, so it faces lounge seating. That being said, given the setup, they actually did a good job of creating picturesque windows that still have views of the apron and runways.


Flagship First Dining DFW view

Ranking the Flagship First Dining setups, I’d say my favorite is New York, followed by Los Angeles, followed by Dallas, followed by Miami.

American Flagship First Dining DFW Food & Drinks

Ugh. Let me start by saying:

  • In general breakfast is the least “impressive” meal; when I was there they were only serving breakfast, while at the other Flagship First Dining facilities I’ve always had lunch or dinner
  • Maybe it was just an off day?

Here’s the Flagship First Dining breakfast menu:

Here’s the Flagship First Dining wine and cocktail menu:

I ordered a coffee to start — unfortunately American doesn’t even have proper barista made drinks in Flagship First Dining, so you just get the same coffee they have in the regular Flagship Lounge.

Flagship First Dining coffee

I decided to order two things, and both were brought out to me at the same time.


Flagship First Dining breakfast

First I ordered shakshuka. I was delighted when I saw this on the menu, because it’s probably my favorite breakfast dish, and I order it just about whenever I see it on a menu.

This was absolutely disgusting, and the worst shakshuka I’ve ever had. In what world is this even shakshuka? I felt like I was being served a microwaved plate of that mild chunky salsa from Chipotle, rather than a proper shakshuka dish. The texture was disgusting, the dish was lukewarm, and just bleh. On the plus side, that is an egg on top (as it should be), and not sour cream (as I initially feared, based on how it looked).


Flagship First Dining breakfast

I figured at least the other dish would be better. I ordered the quinoa yogurt parfait, described as offering acai vanilla greek yogurt, quinoa, flax seeds, and fresh seasonal berries. Forget that this wasn’t even a traditional “parfait” presentation, but more importantly, yuck, this was every bit as disgusting as the other dish. The yogurt was a horrible texture and tasted bitter, and the quinoa was sour.


Flagship First Dining breakfast

I’m not expecting Michelin-starred food, but what is it with the execution of these dishes?

I ordered a glass of Krug to wash this down, and that of course didn’t disappoint.

Krug in American Flagship First Dining

American Flagship First Dining DFW Service

Unfortunately the service was just mildly better than the food quality. Flagship First Dining has a host, and on the plus side she was incredibly friendly, though the extent of my interaction with her was her bringing me to the table and presenting me with the menu and wine list.

American Flagship First Dining table setting

Flagship First Dining is supposed to offer a restaurant-style dining experience. Shortly after sitting down the server asked “do you know what you want?” There was no, “hi, I’m _____, and I’ll be taking care of you today.”

Some people think I’m nuts for wanting people to introduce themselves, but think of any restaurant dining experience you have, even if you’re going to the Olive Garden. Doesn’t it always start with the server introducing themselves by name? But I guess that could be a safety concern

There was just nothing “good” about the service:

  • If American is going to serve really expensive champagne, you’d think they’d want to capitalize on the goodwill generated by that and bring you an empty glass, bring out the bottle, show it to you, and then pour it at your seat; in this case the server just brought out the glass already poured
  • While I’m sure I could have requested it, I was just asked “water?” rather than being asked if I wanted still or sparkling water, etc.
  • There was only one server working, and while Flagship First Dining was empty at first, about half a dozen tables were taken towards the end of my visit, and it took literally 15 minutes to get a drink refill

Flagship First Dining becomes better with every glass of Krug

Flagship First Dining DFW Bottom Line

In general I’m a huge fan of American’s Flagship First Dining. It’s something that’s so nice that I’m shocked when I use it, and have a hard time believing this is a product of American Airlines.

I’m hoping it was just an off day, but well, this experience felt very American Airlines. the food was legitimately horrible, and the service wasn’t good at all, in terms of friendliness, attentiveness, and professionalism.

But there was Krug, so there was that…

Again, I’m really hoping I just visited Flagship First Dining on a bad day. The JFK facility is In a completely different league, in my opinion, at least based on this experience.

If you’ve visited Flagship First Dining lately, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. I’ve visited Flagship First Dining at DFW twice now (once arriving form Hong Kong and one departing to Hong Kong) and had a fabulous experience both times, with excellent service and delicious food. I ordered steak and eggs when I was there for breakfast alongside French toast and was delighted by both. I also ordered several cappuccinos which they had no problem serving me.

    One of my favorite parts of FFD is the signature lemonade, which you can (thankfully) order virgin without any issues. I always make sure to have a couple of glasses.

    I think you must have just had a bad day, which is unfortunate. Hopefully it’ll be better next time!

  2. but think of any restaurant dining experience you have, even if you’re going to the Olive Garden. Doesn’t it always start with the server introducing themselves by name

    No. This is a mid-market affectation of the last couple of decades. The server in the restaurant should be welcoming (which does not sound like it happened here) but there’s no need for them to introduce themselves by name. Various cultures have “traditional” methods of referring to restaurant staff, from garcon in France (and much of Europe) to uncle in China and manage to provide warm and professional service without personal introductions.

    If American is going to serve really expensive champagne, you’d think they’d want to capitalize on the goodwill generated by that and bring you an empty glass, bring out the bottle, show it to you, and then pour it at your seat;

    I cannot recall ever having this happen with by-the-glass servings while seated at a table in a restaurant unless someone in the party specifically requested information about the wine. Among other things, it would prevent another server from pouring the same wine for another table. While seated at the bar, the bartender will often do the pour in front of you, especially if you’ve expressed any interest in the actual wine, but not necessarily.

  3. I visited the one @JFK a couple of weeks ago and it was my first time using FFD…and probably will be my last. The service was slow and the room wasn’t even full. It took over 20 minutes before I was even asked for my order, 30 before I got a beverage, and almost an hour for my meal to arrive.

    At least they were polite and apologetic about the delay.

  4. @ LarryInNYC — I’m not suggesting it’s a global phenomenon, but virtually every restaurant I go to in the US, from fine dining to more casual, the server introduces themselves by name. But you’re right, if they’re welcoming I don’t care much either way, but that wasn’t even in the case here.

  5. You ordered a bowl of tomatoes and Quinoa yogurt. WTF. Of course it was nasty. That poached egg looked delicious.

  6. This is not a Shakshuka. In Authentic Shakshuka all the ingredients (mainly diced peeled tomatoes, a bit of green hot pepper (or chili pepper) and garlic) and the eggs are slowly cooked at the same skillet until the eggs yolks are set. So the eggs are being cooked in the sauce. Often times the Shakshouka is being served in the skillet it has been cooked in. In what appears in your photo it is obvious that the egg was added to whatever it is in the plate just before serving.

  7. The “shakshuka” looks vile, but gotta ask: Why were you surprised that it came with an egg on top, not sour cream.

    Shakshuka is literally: “a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and garlic.” So it should come with a egg on top…and the menu said it would.

  8. @ Bob — Sorry, maybe I didn’t phrase that correctly. I was expecting an egg on top, but my point was that it initially looked to me like sour cream (and I’m happy it wasn’t).

  9. You keep booking AA because of scheduling and availability. So you get what you get, stop the nitpicking. This is a lounge in an airport, not a restaurant. Yeah, the service does suck. Yeah, the food is mediocre. But we knew all of that already. What are you adding to the conversation that hasn’t already been said about AA? Stop flying them.

  10. @LarryinNYC

    Literally every restaurant I’ve been to in NYC where I’ve ordered a glass of wine has been poured for me out of the bottle at the table.

  11. @ Alonzo — You’re not reading very closely at all. I made it clear that in general these facilities are excellent/a bright spot in the AA experience, and this particular experience at this location wasn’t. The service at other locations doesn’t suck. The food at some other locations isn’t mediocre.

  12. To be fair, as other comments mentioned, you ordered two dishes that, alone, sound disgusting. I think you might’ve been better off with one of the more traditional dishes. And I think the nitpicking of the service is fair considering it’s a Flagship First lounge, but at the same time you got there right at opening at 5 AM. In my experience, arriving right at opening of a restaurant is not the best time; I think had you gotten there at 6 or 7, you might’ve gotten better service.

  13. @Ben

    I know the service flow in some American restaurants often starts with the server saying “Hi I am ___, I’ll be taking care of you tonight”, but is that not exactly a sign of the service levels of The Cheesecake Factory or Olive Garden? I can’t remember having anyone say that in any reasonably good restaunt. It is anyway a pretence of delivering service to affect (they hope) the tip in a positive direction, and not really anything that actually has anything to do with the actual service.

    There is nothing wrong with a waiter or waitress introducing themselves, but in the mechanical forced way that you expect here is a clear negative for me.

  14. @ Brian — I was there at 8AM, not 5AM (Flagship First Dining only opens at 8AM). And 8-10AM should be a peak period, as it’s right before the flight to Hong Kong. And sorry, I’m not sure I understand why the dishes sound disgusting “alone?” You mean the way they’re described on the menu, or what about them should I have anticipated being disgusting?

  15. @ Jesper — We’re going to different US restaurants then. I can’t remember the last US restaurant I’ve been to, whether casual or fine dining or whatever else, where the server didn’t introduce themselves. Again, as such that’s not a problem though. If I had received any sort of a real greeting I would have been fine. But I didn’t…

  16. You arrived at 5 and the restaurant opens at 8? Not telling you about a restaurant that’s closed for the next 3 hours sounds fair enough if you arrived at 5AM. 3 hours is longer than most people will stay in a lounge, and telling customers all about facilities that are NOT available to them would just be a way to disappoint them.

  17. So how do you use Flagship if you are arriving internationally rather than leaving? Wouldn’t you have you have to go through immigration/customs and then go back through security? And how could you do that without an onward boarding pass?

  18. @Lucky,

    Maybe it’s because of the few eligible flights out of Dallas?, You have a total of three eligible AA flights (HKG, LHR, GRU).

    I’ve been to the JFK one many times and found the service to be top-notch. Of course, they have the most eligible flights between (LAX,SFO, LHR, GRU, HKG).

    But I guess it should be the reverse- fewer passengers better service?

  19. You arrived at 5 and the restaurant didn’t open until 8? Three hours is longer than most people stay in a lounge. Telling people about a facility that is NOT available to them would just be a way to annoy or disappoint them, so I think not mentioning it to you on arrival was 100% fair enough.

  20. @ Tom,

    Connecting flights would be the only option. You would think they would have arrival lounges at certain gateways (LAX.DFW, JFK, MIA) in the USA.

  21. @ JM — they knew I was flying to Hong Kong at around 11AM. They knew the facility would be available to me. I think it would have been appropriate to say something like:
    “You’re welcome to relax in the Flagship Lounge and enjoy breakfast. Just so you know, since you’re flying first class to Hong Kong, you’ll have access to Flagship First Dining, which opens at 8AM. That offers a la carte dining. If you’re interested in that, just come back and see us here anytime after 8AM, and we’ll be happy to take you there.”

  22. @ John — Yeah, DFW on the surface has fewer passengers, though I imagine DFW also has the highest concentration of Concierge Key members, who can also use their passes here. Agree it could go either way — busier could mean more focus on service, or could also mean worse service. Regardless, this experience stood out as being especially bad for FFD.

  23. Just had a fabulous time at Flagship First Dining JFK. I loved my stay and the food and the people working there, where amazing. Hope, that they had a bad day at DFW.

  24. @Lucky,

    Good point about the Concierge Key members. The entire Flag Ship experience has been a head-scratcher for me. Quality service, excellent top-shelf alcohol menu, then you get on the AA aircraft and its $15 bottles of champagne in F (JFK-LAX). Wouldn’t you want to keep the F&B experience consistent?

    On the Otherside of the coin, I’ve noticed on (JFK-LHR and JFK-LAX) because passengers are going to Flag Ship Dinning before the flights, nobody is really eating on the flights except the non-revs, which results in very poor customer experience as the onboard service takes a significant hit.

    I heard from friends working high up at BA in NYC that CX actually funded or was going to fund the JFK lounge overhauls so they could move to T8. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe they needed a certain standard for CX F customers and decided to roll it out at the rest of their gateways.

    AA kills me. They are part of an excellent alliance, have great schedules and routes- and yet the service is so hit or miss I really stopped caring about it. I just accepted it until I started flying Delta again. Now I’m critical.

  25. DFW Flagship consistently has the worst food service of any of the four lounges. I’ve done FF dining twice there and it doesn’t compare to LAX (haven’t done JFK) and ORD’s buffet is as good as FF dining in DFW. The only saving grace is they have the best booze collection of any of the lounges.

  26. You got this one perfectly correct. It is unbelievable how different the food is at DFW compared to JFK/LAX/MIA. It was barely edible. The burger was not made the same way as the other locations, everything was oddly cold, the fish was past its prime, etc. …

  27. @BarryInNyc if I called Waiter in France ‘garcon’ the very least I would expect is to have my soup spat it and deservedly so. Very condescending and about 50 years out of date. Monsieur, Madame or mademoiselle will do fine.

    I agree though that being on first name terms with one’s server is somewhat superfluous.

  28. Lucky, sorry that you got a sh*tty visit. I visited the one @JFK back in in October, it was my first time at FFD and it was awesome. My waitress was friendly and tentatively. I ordered 4-5 dishes and overall the food was quite good. I even got few cocktails and Krug Champagne. Per my request, she even brought out the mini Krug bottle to the table and left it there so i can take pictures and self-refill.

    Didn’t know that only CX First from JFK is eligible for FFD. Good to know. Thanks!

  29. It looks like the acoustics would be slightly worse than the average high school cafeteria. Do they try to overcome that with canned music, played loud? I don’t remember any of your reviews mentioning sound quality. But then, we never see you in the photo. Are you wearing Bose headphones?

  30. AA could probably cure cancer and youd still hate them at this point. Have been in FFD almost a dozen times and all have literally been exceptional (foodwise). Service slightly hit or miss. To say something was “absolutely disgusting” doesn’t jibe with the anything I’ve ever read or experienced.

  31. Only on frequent flier blogs could someone suggest that shakshouka and a yogurt with quinoa be viewed as some affront to evidently people’s desire to meat and potatoes.

  32. Tiny 2 top tables, no table linens, lousy food, lousy service? The ambiance looks awful, the food looks even worse. Looks like a complete waste of time. You should’ve had breakfast at the DFW Hyatt. Fly First on AA and get “going for great” and 3rd world service. Thank you Dougie.

  33. For a little twenty something year old who has become laughing stock in high flying community because he thinks Starbucks is good coffee…I enjoy the fits of laughter every one of your delusional posts where you expect people to backflip for you to even say it’s “meh” ….get a grip girl

  34. “Tiny 2 top tables, no table linens, lousy food, lousy service? ”

    What high end restaurants are you going to that have table linens? I have not seen a table linen in a restaurant in years, and outside of a 1990’s steakhouse, I can’t see why anyone would expect one. And if you haven’t been sat at a two top in a fancy restaurant, I am wondering, what restaurants are you going to?

  35. Great review fair enough. I feel like I know exactly what to expect flying first from Dfw to HKG next summer. I think I’ll enjoy some Krug before the flight for sure. 🙂

  36. I’ll note the Grand Café in Minneapolis, where me and my wife went for our anniversary, is a James Beard award winning restaurant, and there’s not a table linen in sight. Also the two top seats are small.

  37. The issue most of you guys dont understand about AA is that AA pretends to be an international carrier with First Class seats, First Class dining, Flagship check in, One world membership, a strong mileage program etc. However, none of that works well, its sucks at each of those items.

    If AA said, hey guys we try but we suck so please dont think highly of us and just fly us to get from point A to point B, then well they set the expectation. But they dont.

    When you fly Spirit, well you know it is Spirit and you know what you will get so your expectations are low. You cannot go into a Spirit flight and then fly AA First Class just to perceive you got the same experience.

  38. Lucky, I guess you’re going into granular detail for the sake of reviewing this place. I agree, no server should be so indifferent to your presence (especially when you’re the only one in there), and the shakshuka looked point-blank unappetizing.
    When I visited a few months ago before my flight to HKG, everyone went above and beyond with their service – very friendly but still professional. The server was genuinely interested in hearing if I liked my food. The beef with green tomatillo sauce was so tasty that I even ordered a second one.
    Unfortunately, the warm service did not translate onto the first class cabin on the plane. I can’t say my experience was as bad as yours (they addressed everyone by name), but it certainly felt like everyone was trying to get a job done, however mediocre was their delivery… the cackling coming from the galley as people were trying to sleep was certainly the worst part, followed by how the purser herself refilled my water bottle with the larger one used for other passengers with both openings touching. I was horrified. Makes me wonder how hygienic is their food prepping in the galley…
    I was onto a connecting flight on CX, and the overall onboard experience was shockingly different (even on a regional flight!)
    But then again, it’s American AND out of DFW.

  39. @LarryNYC – Most fine dining restaurants will always bring out the bottle and pour it table side even if you order just a glass. It’s considered proper wine service. Stop eating at Chili’s and pretend you know what you’re talking about.

    @Sean S. – Lots of fine dining restaurants do have white table linens.

  40. Flying out of DFW tomorrow and I noticed that the PP Lounge in terminal E is a video game lounge called Gameway. Lucky, you should do a review. I haven’t seen this reviewed anywhere, although I might have missed it.

  41. Lucky, like usual you are right on the money. Upon entering the Flagship lounge they saw your boarding pass to HKG and should have said that the Flagship dining opens at 8am, they shouldn’t have skipped over that. Then your server should have said something like my name is Tina, I will be serving you, can I start you with still or sparkling water. Its that friggin simple!

    Geez, that shakshuka looks disgusting.

    Last month I flew JFK-CDG and thanks to a friends expiring system wide upgrade I upgraded to business. The food in the Flagship lounge was better then I expected and the only thing I ate on the plane was the dessert – pumpkin cheesecake which was horrid. I was actually excited for a brief moment when the FA said its delicious and I can serve it to you with whip cream. The pumpkin cheesecake was a circular disk, manufactured industrially, probably made for the US Army and intended part of an MRE meal.

    I used to love AA, pre Doug Parker. Now they are beyond disgusting. The only thing I can say is maybe your server in the Flagship lounge was overwhelmed? It also might help if AA has a smaller breakfast menu. Don’t overshoot and then under deliver, the slogan of “going for great”…just go for average.

  42. Wow. Sean was in my nabe as I live blocks from Grand Cafe

    I have been to 5 Michelin star rated restaurants and several James Beard winners in the last year

    Some had table cloths. Some didn’t
    Some small tables. Others huge.
    Some servers told us their name, others didn’t
    Some I liked, others not so much

    Those traits do not in and of themselves make a great experience

    In my opinion, Lucky didn’t have a great experience, and us using these traits as examples.

    In reality, did the restaurant
    —have delicious food
    —make you feel welcome… nay, celebrated
    —make you feel like something special was happening

    Here, the food was bad
    The maitre d’ was not welcoming
    The server was going through the motions at best

    No champagne or decor or canned greeting will fix this

    AA must create a vision, and the employees have to believe the vision

    Not sure AA created the vision. The employees certainly don’t believe it

  43. I don’t know if the DFW location is the case or not, but a lot of times, the food is prepared at an off site location. The staff that work in the back just look at photos at how it should be plated and that’s it. They probably don’t even have a gas fired stove.

    Same with airplane food. If you’ve seen how it’s prepared, the amount of hands that it goes through, the one plus year expiry dates on some of these wraps they serve inflight, you will have second thoughts about eating airplane food.

  44. With the amount of negative review you doing ..I bet AA staff is on a look out for you. They probably will give you the worst service ever every touch point .so that you will leave AA for ever will marry your long term partner Delta . I was talking about your review to AA staff at Miami . Let me tell you long story short ..staff at AA hates you !!!

    I haven’t used Flagship dining. But I love their food at flagship lounge at T D and their AA crew at the lounge are really helpful . They sort your issues and provide you service in style !!!

  45. In traditional fine dining, an industry I worked in for many years, one never introduces themselves by name. However, outside of the few major US cities that could support numerous traditional fine dining restaurants, I have noticed that the regrettable custom of by name introductions has been sneaking into the fancier restaurants. That said, whether your waitron introduced themselves by name or not, the casual and offhand service you described is by no means fine-dining.

    I am not sure I would have ever ordered that parfait in the first place. The idea of mixing quinoa with yogurt sounds foul on consistency alone. I imagine it would set like quickrete.

  46. @Alonzo
    Excuse me but I read this blog to find out how airlines are performing regardless of whether we expect them to do well or poorly. Lucky is doing his job.

  47. @ James — Your reading comprehension leaves a bit to be desired. From a post literally a week ago:
    “Starbucks is a brand that I largely associate with being on the road. That’s because I rarely visit Starbucks while at home, but I visit all the time while traveling. I don’t go to Starbucks because their coffee is the best in the world, but rather because they’re predictable, because they’re typically open early, and because their stores are usually good places to work from, with reliable internet.”

  48. @ James Morris — Except I’ve had mostly positive things to say about other Flagship First Dining locations, and I actually had a positive review of the Flagship Lounge. I’m curious, does my shakshuka dish look good to you?

  49. @Ben (lucky)

    Can I suggest next time you perhaps send the food back and request the chef to come out and explain themselves?

    Also going forward, suggest you stop entirely flying the likes of AA and BA for that matter. These are not airlines for you and will never satisfy your travel needs.

  50. So here’s my beef…

    If you fly internationally in business AND there is no first AND they call it “flagship Business Service”…

    You would think you would have access to flagship dining.

    Nope. I was chased out of there by a woman that had the civility and manners of an underfunded lunch lady.

    As an EP, I spend over $15k annually… for this?

  51. “Surprisingly” and “Terrible” are not two words that one expects to see together in any of your AA reviews. Not to imply that you are wrong, but you didn’t get us used to this…

  52. Hello,
    I am arriving on AA international first from LHR to LAX (T4) and have same day connection on AA business to YVR (T5). Can I use First class AA lounge after arrival from LHR and before dep. to YVR? thanks vaclav

  53. Hello,
    I am arriving on AA international first from LHR to LAX (T4) and have same day connection on AA business to YVR (T5). Can I use First class AA lounge after arrival from LHR and before dep. to YVR? thanks vaclav

  54. Been to this lounge. They are average. Why is anyone surprised? Lucky is spot on.

    If you love the food here, good for you. He doesn’t have to like that pos they call shakshuka.

  55. Merry Christmas to those that celebrate!

    Texas is known for quite a few things, sophisticated dining is not one of them. It’s interesting how that carries over to large international airports – but not surprising. People are a product of their environments and social norms are a thing.

    Also Lucky – you’re wrong that greeting you by name is the sign of a fine dining establishment – that is so Olive Garden :).

    Be well to yourself and everyone around you.

  56. Just visited there on the 22nd, got the Shakshuka, and it was exactly the same food you’re describing. I even had the same thought – “did they just put salsa in this?!”. The service was better though, the waitress was kind if timid.

  57. Money speaks louder than words to these businesses. Complaining, then continually funneling money to them (and qualifying for their FFP) just tells them nothing needs to change.

    Why not avoid flying AA as much as possible instead, and try smaller airlines. It would be more interesting to have variety in your reviews, and more effective than just complaining all the time about AA.

  58. Ben – great review.
    Truth be told – you probably could have done yourself a favour and ordered other dishes. Shakshuka is a dish best cooked slowly. Anyone who ever worked in a commercial kitchen can see that these guys had the “sauce” (rather salsa) prepared the night before and that the egg is a poached egg prepared separately. Can’t imagine it being nice. The quino parfait falls into the same category I think. For it to work the quinoa would have to be cooked very slowly for a long time until it becomes most porridgy. Can that happen in an airport lounge, 10 mins after they open? Unlikely.
    Quick advice : at a-la-carte lounge dining, try to order things that can be cooked quickly. They will usually be fresh (I am guessing the steak dish would be much nicer than what you had)
    When it is a buffet situation, or on a plane, I would go for the opposite strategy and order the stews and the curries, as they handle the rehearing and the wait much better.

  59. I have had a similar experience on my most recent visit to the DFW FFD. The service was very underwhelming and the breakfast food we ordered was very bad tasting. I had ordered the same food on previous trip and was much much better. I was told it was a new chef that want to do things “differently”. From what I have gathered, the service staff they hire are very new to the profession.

  60. @Eskimo I am confirmed in First class so I will finally get to enjoy some KRUG 🙂 . That is correct non revs are not allowed in the lounges.

  61. Visited for dinner last week after hearing mixed reviews from a couple of colleagues. Food was good but not amazing – what really stood out though was the service as both the host and the waitress were polite, polished, and professional. Heck they even poured my Le Pich by showing me the bottle while I was trying it, as it should be done. So hopefully you found only another bad apple in the system.

    To one of the commenters above: really upscale American restaurants still have white tableclothes. If you do not believe me go see For yourself at any respectable Michelin-starred restaurant. If you haven’t been to one because you cannot afford it or because you do not think it’s worth it, then stop talking about fine dining and go back to you casual dining. This is like people that can not distinguish a good wine from a bad one – just stop drinking wine and go back to Miller Light.

  62. I had dinner at that First dining facility in DFW few months ago. It was disappointing. Food tasted like diner food. I was expecting decent restaurant level but I was wrong. Service was also slow and had to chase down servers to get food and drink. Not impressed! I had better service and food at BA concord lounge.

  63. No vintage year on the wine list? That’s a telltale sign that you’re going to get bad quality, as no serious restorateur would do that.

  64. @Vaclav Honek
    The ticketing you describe WILL give to access to the AA Flagship Lounge — including Flagship First Dining.
    And you’re in luck. In my experience, the food AND service at LAX are best of all four FFDs that are now open (LAX, JFK, MIA, and DFW — pretty much in that order, actually).

  65. @Vaclav Honek

    … But seriously, if you are in LAX, and you have access, go to the Qantas lounge. (And you would, as a OneWorld member)

    It blows away AA. And usually, it is a departure lounge, but the good thing for you is you are going on, so you can benefit from its better ambiance, service and superior food.

  66. Zebraitis

    The rules are clear – your ticket needs to be in First on a 3-class AA flight. Regular domestic First or International Business doesn’t count.

  67. Good point about Hyatt. One could have a real breakfast at the two Hyatt’s at the airport.

    Also the tables look like when you are back in grade school. Every table lined up and straight.
    Just myself, I prefer more a quiet cozy, private seating.
    Early in the mornings hotels and airports have too much noise. They play music FOR THE PEOPLE WORKING THERE and not for the pax looking at a 10 hour flight ahead of them. Amazing that other travelers don’t notice this.

  68. I am amused Airways and Travels at your disconnected snobbishness. No one thinks Ruth’s Chris is a Michelin Star restaurant. Have you been to Noma? Not a white table linen in sight. Alinea in Chicago? Foods on the table! No one cares about your opinion just because you get a per diem for your dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. Come again when you update your palate beyond a filet mignon.

  69. @Airways and Travels:

    Google or yelp “Single Thread” restaurant

    Notice the lack of table cloths

    Then look at its Michelin 3 star rating and buckets of awards

    There are a ton of non table cloth high end restaurants

  70. This is going off-topic I guess but it’s interesting to hear folks who expect tablecloths, etc in ”nice” restaurants vs those who don’t. It seems to hint at their experiences with fine dining.

  71. I think it speaks to people whose idea of good taste is solely connected to easily recognizable status symbols, such as Krug, table linens, or caviar. The reality is that “fine dining” moved past such boring, hoary old stuff along time ago. In fact, it’s the stuffiness of those ideas that spurs on many of the chefs and restaurants I and other people mentioned. And pointing out this is not a sign that we have “Miller Lite” tastes (which by the way, is a perfectly reasonable and drinkable beer) but a sign that tastes have moved beyond expensive for expensive sakes.

  72. Um, table cloths aren’t there for “expense.”

    They’re there for comfort, they’re there to soften the environment and reduce harsh sounds, just like curtains and carpets instead of harsh surfaces everywhere.

    So unsure how your view of good taste trumps aesthetic realities, except that you want to impose your own personal preferences on others.

  73. Again, despite your claims that it is an “aesthetic reality” apparently someone forgot to tell the actual high end restaurants you claim to have knowledge of. Do some high end restaurants have table linens? Surely. Does having table linen make you a high end restaurant, or impart any sort of service expectations? Not in any way shape or form. The “reality” is that decor does not dictate quality, and none of the major review bodies/awards make their decisions on it from Michelin, to AA, to James Beard.

  74. I had a much better experience there in November. I had access flying business class to HK because I am EP (OW Emerald).

  75. Egh…Breakfast is the most boring meal of the day in the U.S. Even though you order shakshuka the cook was probably lazy and used the ingredients he prepped for omelets. Give me a bowl of pork infused congee, a century egg, green onions and some youtiao.

  76. I consider Flagship dining awful low cost low quality slop for the non discerning and uneducated about decent dining
    They have variety but it’s sad as it is poor
    This applies to the business and first class
    I would argue before the larger spread of cheap slop they call flagship dining they
    severed slightly better fare
    That’s far from a compliment for FailedShip Dining
    I always dine elsewhere before arriving or even better fly a foreign carrier 98% of the time
    Then I don’t have to deal with their continued train wreck dining

  77. 1) Garcon is not nearly as commonly used as it was, including in France. Monsieur/Madame is much more common in France now.

    2) There is nothing boring about a US breakfast. In fact, it might be the most diverse breakfast in the world. You can have ultra savory, like steak and eggs, or basically dessert with waffles and pancakes.

    3) It is a pity they can’t get that shakshuka right. It is actually one of those things that commercial kitchens should be good at. High volume kitchens are good at either things that cook low and slow and are good for heating (like soups or the base for shakshuka) or things that cook quickly (eggs and shrimp). You don’t want things that require attention, which is the reason for so much rubber chicken. That they failed on this is such a disappointment and probably a product of poor training.

    4) I like the FFD concept and the atmosphere of the lounges at LAX and JFK (the ones I’ve used). I’m not surprised, sadly, that they kinda failed on this at DFW. Texas is good at sledgehammer food, not refinement.

    5) Krug is so brutally overrated. The sweetened bile effect is not something I’m looking for in my champagne. I don’t care what something costs – it needs to taste good. They should switch to the LPGS, which actually is good.

  78. For me, it’s another example of why I simply choose not to fly a North American carrier abroad. Especially in a First cabin. I live in Minneapolis and I go a bit out of my way to fly LH or LX from the West Coast (or Chicago on the return) to get a proper experience in F. I’ve read about the AA First seat on the 777-300 and it doesn’t appear all that bad. But the overall experience would not even be a comparison. In a moment of weakness, I flew United F from ORD to GRU just a few years ago before they discontinued that cabin. What a complete waste of money.

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