Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago

Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago

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UPDATE: American has significantly invested in enhancing their lounge experience, and opened the Flagship Lounge in Chicago. I visited in 2017, and you can see this post for a full, detailed review.

My flight from Seattle landed around noon, so I headed straight to the Flagship Lounge located at the end of the “K” concourse. While the Flagship Lounge is technically an international first class lounge, OneWorld Emerald members also have access to it, so it’s a nice perk of being an Executive Platinum member.

The Flagship Lounge agents are almost always exceptionally friendly, and once I was checked in they proactively checked the flight status for my flight to tell me the departure gate and confirm we would leave on time.

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Lounge entrance

The lounge is a bit on the small side and could use a refresh at some point. It features plenty of seating, and to my surprise the lounge was almost completely empty when I was there, which I rarely find to be the case. Yes, the lounge gets really busy in the evenings before the transatlantic departures, but in this case it was just about deserted.

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Seating

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Seating

There’s also a small business center at the end of the lounge as well as a separate “quiet” room, which used to be a smoking room back in the day.

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Seating

The buffet consisted of “light lunch” options, including veggies, soup, finger sandwiches, sushi, cheese, fruit salad, brownies, etc.

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

There was also an open bar with a pretty decent selection.

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Open bar

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Drinks

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Drinks

I was most excited about the yogurt covered pretzels they had in a dispenser, which I hadn’t seen before. Yogurt covered pretzels are probably the greatest thing ever invented, so I might have had one… or a hundred.

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Snacks

I spent most of my layover catching up on work, and Andrew joined me at around 1PM when his flight landed from DC.

At around 3PM we headed to our departure gate, K13, which was just a two minute walk away. There we saw the 767 that would take us to Helsinki, which was even painted in American’s new colors.

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Our plane to Helsinki

Within a few minutes of us getting to the gate business class boarding was called, so on we went.

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Our departure gate

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  1. Brad

    We are flying BA first class from ORD to LHR in July. Would you rec this lounge or the BA lounge?

  2. ORD-TGU

    I like ORD FL because it is small and quick easy access, same level as gates and close to gates for international flights, you can also exit through back door. Reasonable amount of food and drink choices.

  3. lucky

    @ Josh G -- Aside from the dining area and spa at the JFK BA lounge, and the pre-flight supper area at some other BA lounges, I do think the Flagship Lounge is nicer.

    The BA lounges in the US (for example in SEA, SFO, ORD, and IAD) are all pretty crappy), and while the Cathay lounge at SFO is in theory more nicely furnished, it's so small that it's almost impossible to find a seat before a Cathay flight.

  4. Josh G

    @ Lucky are you sure you didn't mean "with the exception of" British Airways and Cathay Pacific? Admittedly I've never been to the new CX lounge at SFO but the pics look very nice and it's like the HKG lounges on a smaller scale. BA at JFK, while very large and crowded is far ahead of the FL IMO especially with the Elemis Spa and dining area. YMMV

  5. Susan

    I first noticed the yogurt pretzels a couple of months ago in the Boston AC. They're weirdly addicting, aren't they?

  6. Jason

    Awww yis, yogurt covered pretzels. I have to agree, wish I saw them more often out there.

  7. lucky

    @ wwk5d -- Definitely right, lounges outside the US are almost always nicer than lounges in the US. That being said, I find the lounges of foreign carriers in the US don't match up to American's Flagship Lounges for the most part (for example, the British Airways and Cathay Pacific lounges in the US).

  8. lucky

    @ benji -- That's correct, the American Express Platinum card gets you into the Admirals Club and not Flagship Lounge.

  9. TN

    Flagship Lounge(R)

    International Travel Lounges

    Get away from the busy terminal and enjoy a little peace and quiet before your flight in an American Airlines Flagship Lounge. Complimentary access to the Flagship Lounge is extended to you and one guest if you meet one of the following criteria:

    First Class on an American Airlines marketed and operated international* flight. Lounge access is also valid on a same-day itinerary that includes a qualifying international segment.

    Flagship Lounge(R)

    International Travel Lounges

    Get away from the busy terminal and enjoy a little peace and quiet before your flight in an American Airlines Flagship Lounge. Complimentary access to the Flagship Lounge is extended to you and one guest if you meet one of the following criteria:

    First Class on an American Airlines marketed and operated international* flight. Lounge access is also valid on a same-day itinerary that includes a qualifying international segment.
    First Class cabin on an American Airlines marketed and operated three-class nonstop transcontinental flight. Lounge access is also valid on a same-day itinerary that includes a qualifying transcontinental segment.
    American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum® customers when departing on or connecting to an international* flight, operated and marketed by a oneworld® airline, regardless of cabin flown
    oneworld First Class international* customers when departing on or connecting to a oneworld marketed and operated flight
    oneworld Emerald customers** when departing on or connecting to any oneworld marketed and operated flight, regardless of cabin flown. Access is valid on a same day itinerary.

  10. benji

    Am I correct in assuming that if you don't have status, the Amex Platinum won't get you in and you can't pay for daily access?

  11. wwk5d

    "While the Flagship Lounge is technically an international first class lounge"

    Technically is right. You've posted pictures of business class lounges overseas which are just as nice (some nicer, too).

  12. Jeff

    Whoever decided to call those things "yogurt" covered pretzels instead of frosting-covered pretzels is a marketing genius. I just looked up a recipe for making them at home, and the coating calls for 2 cups of vanilla (i.e., already-sweetened) yogurt and 5 cups of confectioners' sugar!

  13. Lauren

    I was equally excited to see those yogurt covered pretzels in the admirals club in JFK last week!

  14. Ozaer N.

    Ben..why do you like those yogurt covered pretzels so much? hehe...I think they're kinda strange.

  15. David

    As a frequent user of the ORD FL, I'd quibble with the phrase "plenty of seating". :)

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Brad

We are flying BA first class from ORD to LHR in July. Would you rec this lounge or the BA lounge?

ORD-TGU

I like ORD FL because it is small and quick easy access, same level as gates and close to gates for international flights, you can also exit through back door. Reasonable amount of food and drink choices.

lucky

@ Josh G -- Aside from the dining area and spa at the JFK BA lounge, and the pre-flight supper area at some other BA lounges, I do think the Flagship Lounge is nicer. The BA lounges in the US (for example in SEA, SFO, ORD, and IAD) are all pretty crappy), and while the Cathay lounge at SFO is in theory more nicely furnished, it's so small that it's almost impossible to find a seat before a Cathay flight.

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