Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge LAX

Filed Under: American

About a month ago a friend and I were flying American Airlines out of LAX, and since I’m a oneworld Emerald member, I am allowed oneworld lounge access with one guest to the international first class lounge. Flying American Airlines out of Terminal 4 at LAX, the best lounge available is the AA Flagship Lounge located in the Admirals Club.

As we entered the lounge, we were greeted by a very friendly AAgent who took our boarding passes and invited us to use the Flagship Lounge. We were handed a white key card and were directed to the second floor. The key card was used to open the sliding doors that revealed the lounge.

We were yet again greeted at a desk with some more of the finest Admirals Club agents where we checked in and returned our white key card.

The atmosphere of the lounge was quite nice, especially because of the architecture. The huge windows provided lots of light, and the ceilings were high giving the lounge a very open feel. It was also very quiet in the lounge and it wasn’t crowded either.

Flagship Lounge LAX

The lounge offers complimentary Wi-Fi internet, showers, places to relax, materials to read, and food. In terms of food, the lounge offers hot and cold light meals, lots of drinks in refrigerators, and lots of alcohol.

Food serving area

Drink selection

Snacks and soup

Wine selection




Drink selection

The highlight, of course, was the huge hot nuts bowl, which kept them nice and warm, accented by a handful of ramekins.

There were plenty of areas open to sit, and since we were hungry we went to one of the tables by the window and “sampled the selection.”

The food was pretty tasty and washed down quite well with Diet Coke with lime. Although nothing was gourmet, it did the job.

Comparing this lounge to United IFLs (International First Lounges), this blows United out of the water. The AAgents, atmosphere, food and drink selection, and design were much nicer. I’m hard on United because I like to call them “my airline,” but I think it might be worth flying American a bit more if I’m connecting through a city with a Flagship Lounge (New York/JFK, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc).

Tarmac view

And by the way, did I mention how much more enjoyable it is to a use an international first class lounge when traveling domestically vs. internationally? Before an international first class flight I don’t want to ruin my appetite with the lounge food, but when traveling up to San Francisco on a quick hour-long flight right around lunch time, this is a great place to eat. Perhaps an even better dining experience than Encounter

  1. What program are you top status on to get Emerald access to the IFL? You aren’t even ExecPlat on AA.

    How did I miss this very important information?

  2. @Qbrain, Lucky explained it all last year–or was it 2008–but it’s all so muddled.

    Ben, it’s extraordinary how much time you spend on planes and in airports. I’m not critizing, I’m just observing in wonderment.

  3. Just so I’m clear, you don’t want to ruin your appetite for airline food by eating airline lounge food? Is that like not eating a hamburger at McDonald’s because you’re saving space for a hamburger at a different McDonald’s? 🙂

  4. @Jared, just where is that McDonald’s that serves Krug, Dom and caviar with all the fixings?

  5. I don’t doubt the quality of the champagne. But let’s be honest for a moment — you can dress up airline food however you’d like and serve it on whatever you want, but it’s airline food. I love Ben’s blog, and I’ve learned a ton from him (and flown with him – he’s a great guy), but we will agree to disagree on the issue of food served on a plane. Save for the champagne, it’s airplane food. It’s wonderful that they serve it to you nicely, but if I’m being honest, the food served by nearly any restaurant would beat any food served on a plane. I can appreciate the service; I can appreciate what they’re trying to do; I can appreciate the theater of it all; I can appreciate that some of it is edible more than other airline food. But it is airline food.

  6. Nice review. Now I know what to expect next year as I close in on Executive Platinum. Better snacks for sure than the cookies and salty pretzel mix.

    Funny how the gate keeper at the same lounge ran me off whe she saw I was Platinum flying business class to South America.

    The regular Admirals Club in LA is quite nice and they sevre a really good Bloody Mary with real horseradish. Ten times better than the Bloody Mary at the Miami Admirals Club.

    Of couse I should simply pack my own turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread to eat in the regular Admirals Club. Better and healthier than the silly stuff they call food. The photos are not even close to what is served. My chef’s salad in the Admirals Club at Dallas was disgusting. Served in a plastic bowel that had been sitting in a fridge for hours…

  7. @Lucky, if I am flying in from HKG on CX F will and heading to ATL on AA F will I be able to use the Flag Ship International Lounge?

  8. Ben,

    I’m confused too. How were you OneWorld Emerald prior to the BMI Acquisition??

    Please do tell as I really need to use this Lounge soon! 🙂


  9. Ah thanks! Is there an advisable way to get OW Emerald right now? I asked BMI for a Status Match around April 22nd but they wouldn’t do it 🙁 . I didn’t know the doors were about to close or I would have done it sooner.

    Thanks. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  10. @ ThunderStorm — Sorry, I didn’t originally see the comment. Best I can tell unfortunately there aren’t any OneWorld carriers matching to Emerald right now, aside from the bmi status match.

  11. If you are impressed woth AA’s Flagship Lounge check out Asian’s and Cathay Pacific’s. They truly have truly world class lounges.

  12. Due to a series of cancelled flights I was at the LAX flagship lounge for 12 hours. The Muzak almost had me losing my mind after hour 1. The agents while nice are incapable of changing the music- they say their “chief loung caretaker” chooses it and they can’t change it. Hmm.

    I’m BA Gold and recommend someone from AA get on a plane to Heathrow and check out the Concord Lounge where you will never hear that type of irritating, tacky background noise. Drink selection good, small sandwiches (likely Monsanto GMO wheat) are pretty bad. How about adding organic food options for people who can’t eat the processed junk Americans call food?

    And if you dare have a red eye that departs after 11:15pm God help you – you will be chased out of the “flagship” to the main lounge by agents who want to go home. If I were AA I think I would ensure the “flagship” experience was a premier one. If this is good compared to United and I know it’s better than Delta- it’s a sign that all the little amenities are on the way out as AA looks for cost savings.

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