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, many 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. We now have the timeline for another Flagship Lounge reopening.
American Flagship Lounges reopening
American Airlines has already reopened two Flagship Lounges, and a third Flagship Lounge will be reopening shortly:
- 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 is reopening as of January 26, 2022
While the plan was initially for all Flagship Lounges to reopen last fall, that still hasn’t happened, and there’s no timeline for further lounge reopenings, beyond it being in the next several months. For context, here are American’s other Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining facilities:
- American has a Flagship Lounge in Chicago (ORD), which remains closed
- American has a Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining in Dallas (DFW), which remain closed
- American has Flagship First Dining in Los Angeles (LAX), which remains closed
New 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 is also bringing “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 (OGG) 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 Airlines is continuing the gradual process of reopening Flagship Lounges. The Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining at JFK and MIA opened last fall, while the Flagship Lounge LAX will be opening next week.
Unfortunately there are no further updates about American opening Flagship Lounges at ORD and DFW, or opening Flagship First Dining at LAX and DFW.
What do you make of American’s timeline for reopening Flagship Lounges?