At the start of the pandemic, airlines closed virtually all of their lounges, both due to the lack of passengers, and due to a need for updated policies. While airlines have started to reopen lounges, some premium international lounges have remained closed due to lack of demand.
In the fall of 2021, American Airlines slowly began the process of reopening its Flagship Lounges. The airline has been making good progress, and next week the last Flagship Lounge will reopen.
American Flagship Lounges reopening
American Airlines has already reopened four Flagship Lounges and three Flagship First Dining facilities:
- In New York (JFK), the Flagship Lounge reopened as of September 14, 2021, and Flagship First Dining reopened as of September 16, 2021
- In Miami (MIA), the Flagship Lounge reopened as of September 28, 2021, and Flagship First Dining reopened as of September 30, 2021
- In Los Angeles (LAX), the Flagship Lounge reopened as of January 26, 2022
- In Dallas (DFW), the Flagship Lounge reopened as of March 2, 2022, and Flagship First Dining reopened as of March 3, 2022
We now know when the last Flagship Lounge will reopen — in Chicago (ORD), the Flagship Lounge will reopen as of April 21, 2022, which is a week from today. It’s exciting to think that all Flagship Lounges will finally be reopened again.
The only thing that still remains closed is Flagship First Dining in Los Angeles (LAX). It’s anyone’s guess if or when Flagship First Dining at LAX will reopen, given that the Flagship Lounge has opened but that exclusive facility hasn’t. It sounds like American may not plan on reopening it, especially with the airline cutting its transpacific hub at LAX.
Flagship Lounge James Beard Foundation chefs
Make of this what you will, because rarely do I find that airlines with “celebrity chefs” have better food. I’d rather airlines spend money on actually improving food, rather than spending money on having well known chefs disingenuously endorse what’s being served in a lounge.
With American reopening Flagship Lounges, the airline has brought “celebrated chefs” to these lounges, in partnership with the James Beard Foundation. Each location features a different local chef with offerings designed exclusively for their hometown lounge. You can expect:
- Chef Tiffany Derry at the DFW lounge
- Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja at the JFK lounge
- Chef Timon Balloo at the MIA lounge
- Chef Sarah Grueneberg at the ORD lounge
- Chef Brandon Kida at the LAX lounge
Who can access Flagship Lounges?
What are American Airlines’ Flagship Lounge access restrictions? The following passengers can visit Flagship Lounges:
- Concierge Key members, and non-American AAdvantage and non-Alaska Mileage Plan oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members, on any American or oneworld flight
- Those on eligible business and first class itineraries
- AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Mileage Plan MVP Gold, and Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members on eligible itineraries
- Access can be purchased on any itinerary for $150
What are eligible first and business class itineraries, for the purposes of accessing Flagship Lounges? These include the following:
- Between the US and Asia
- Between the US and Australia
- Between the US and Europe
- Between the US and New Zealand
- Between the US and South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela)
- Between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
- Between New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO)
- Between New York (JFK) and Orange County (SNA)
- Between Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA)
- Between Dallas (DFW) and Honolulu (HNL)
- Between Dallas (DFW) and Kona (KOA)
- Between Dallas (DFW) and Maui (OGG)
- Between Chicago (ORD) and Honolulu (HNL)
- Between Charlotte (CLT) and Honolulu (HNL)
For Alaska Mileage Plan and American AAdvantage elites not traveling in first and business class, eligible destinations for Flagship Lounge access include Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America (with the same exclusions as above).
American Arrivals Lounge London has reopened
While not a Flagship Lounge, this is a reminder that the American Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow reopened as of January 31, 2022. The lounge is located in Terminal 3, right after the customs hall, as you just have to go up a level. The lounge is open daily from 6:30AM until 2PM, and offers showers, breakfast, etc.
The American Arrivals Lounge can be accessed by the following passengers arriving same day on American Airlines:
- Those in first & business class
- oneworld Emerald members, including Executive Platinum, Concierge Key, and British Airways Premier members
This reopening happened at a time when the UK lifted many travel restrictions for vaccinated people.
American Airlines is completing the process of reopening Flagship Lounges. Flagship Lounges at DFW, JFK, LAX, and MIA are now open, as is Flagship First First Dining at DFW, JFK, and MIA. On top of that, the Arrivals Lounge LHR is open.
We can expect the Flagship Lounge at ORD to reopen as of April 21. The only remaining question is when Flagship First Dining LAX will reopen, but that might not be happening anytime soon.
What do you make of the pace at which American has reopened Flagship Lounges?