From Airbus To Megabus: A Trip Of Contrasts
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Villa
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Activities & Dining
Review: Al Maha Bedouin Suite
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Dining
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Activities
Review: Dubai International First Class Lounge DXB
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A320 Dubai To Doha
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A380 Doha To London
Review: British Airways First Class A380 London To Los Angeles
Review: British Airways A380 First Class Tasting Menu
Review: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport LAX
Review: American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles LAX
Review: American First Class A321 Los Angeles To New York
Review: Hilton Austin Airport
We were dropped off at LAX at around 4:45AM, 75 minutes before our flight’s departure. One of the swankiest things American offers at LAX is their Flagship check-in facility, which is available to Concierge Key members, those traveling in international first class, and those traveling in three cabin first class to New York.
The facility has a separate entrance directly from the outside roadway of the terminal, and then there’s a “bouncer” who lets you in. We didn’t yet have our boarding passes, since we weren’t able to get mobile boarding passes for their segment, due to the complexity of the itinerary. But she checked our name off a list and welcomed us in. It’s like high school all over again, except this time we were invited! 😉
Once you’re inside the facility there are some check-in kiosks, as well as an agent to help out. The agent was friendly, and had us checked in within a minute.
There are a few seats in the facility, though this isn’t an area where you’d want to spend any amount of time.
Once you exit the facility there’s an elevator which takes you straight up to the security checkpoint. The real value-add of the facility is that there’s usually an “escort” who ushers you to the very front of the security line. And the escorts usually aren’t subtle about it either, and yell “excuse me, coming through, first class.” It can potentially save quite a bit of time, because they’ll bring you all the way to the front of the x-ray belt, so you’ll be through security in no time. When available, it’s one of the most impressive airport “escort” services in the US.
In this instance there weren’t any escorts available, perhaps because it was so early in the morning. That wasn’t a big deal since the queue was short. But during the day I’ve never had issues being escorted to the front of the security line.
For what it’s worth, Delta has a similar check-in facility for their business class passengers. It’s pretty, though adds virtually no value, because it’s actually further from the security checkpoint than the standard check-in area.
Once inside the terminal we headed to the Admirals Club, which also houses the Flagship Lounge.
The lounge is located across from gate 40.
The Admirals Club as such can be accessed if you’re traveling in international business class, business class to New York or Miami, or have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.
However, the Flagship Lounge is American’s equivalent of an international first class lounge, and can be accessed by those traveling in international first class, first class to New York, Executive Platinum members traveling internationally, or non-American oneworld Emerald members on any oneworld flight (even if it’s domestic).
The Flagship Lounge is open daily from 4AM until 11:15PM.
The associate who checked us in was friendly, and upon scanning our boarding passes presented us with a key to the Flagship Lounge.
American Airlines Admirals Club entrance LAX
I’m not sure where American gets these keys from, though I’ve always found the “Guest Safety Tips” on them to be… odd.
Flagship Lounge key LAX
From the entry level of the Admirals Club we had to take the elevator up a level.
Once on the second level we turned right, and then turned left past the customer service desk, where the entrance to the Flagship Lounge is located.
At the entrance to the Flagship Lounge there’s another customer service desk, where you drop off your key and let them know which flight you’re on.
Across from the desk are some arrival and departure monitors.
The Flagship Lounge LAX is basically one long room. As you enter, the business center, relaxation area, restrooms, and shower are to the left, while the dining area is to the right.
The business center consists of four attached cubicles, two of which have PCs, and two of which you can use for your own “setup.” There are also printers and fax machines.
Past that are some chairs with ottomans, which have headphones on which you can listen to music. I’ve certainly been guilty of taking a nap or two in this area before a redeye.
Along the windows is more “traditional” lounge seating, which continues along about two thirds of the lounge.
This area has great tarmac views, in particular of the area between terminals 4 & 5.
Then in the back right of the lounge are some dining tables along the buffet.
In the same area by the window are some bar stools with high-top tables, and then also some lower tables with benches.
I believe they don’t offer hot food in the lounge until 6AM, which is perfectly fine by me. At around 5AM they had whole fruit, yogurt parfaits, fruit salad, English muffins, bagels, danishes, and more.
The selection of hot food is usually pretty decent when it’s offered, and includes scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, pancakes, etc.
As a caffeine addict, the lounge offers both filtered coffee, and then also a nasty Nescafe espresso machine (if you’re going to have one of those machines in an international first class lounge, at least make it a Starbucks machine, similar to what Alaska offers in their Board Rooms). I prefer filtered coffee anyway, so as long as a canister of that is out, I’m a happy camper.
Possibly my favorite part of the lounge is that they have bottled Evian and S. Pellegrino. American doesn’t offer sparkling water on their flights (only club soda), so I’m sometimes guilty of taking a bottle or two to go, for consumption on my flight.
The bathrooms for the Flagship Lounge are located at the far end of the lounge, near the relaxation area. I always notice a queue for using the stall, given that there’s a single one, which might not be enough given how busy the lounge gets.
The lounge also has shower rooms, which can be reserved. One area where American excels in almost all of their lounges is with shower rooms, as they’re consistently quite nice.
As I was taking pictures of the lounge the agent came up to me and rudely barked “ya can’t take pictures here, ya need to stop.” Alrighty then. I’m not sure how me taking pictures of an empty lounge violates American’s photography policy, but at that point I had most of the pictures I wanted anyway, so I just said “okay, sorry.”
It also sort of amazes me how some agents speak to people. Seriously, this is the airline’s most premium lounge. Is that really how you talk to customers? If she wanted to make up her own rules, couldn’t she at least have done so nicely? “Excuse me, I’m sorry, but pictures aren’t allowed in the lounge.”
American Flagship Lounge LAX bottom line
I’ve visited all of American’s Flagship Lounges several times, which are otherwise located in Chicago, London, and New York. (there’s also Flagship Dining in Dallas, but I wouldn’t really consider that a Flagship Lounge, as such).
All around I’d say the Flagship Lounge LAX is probably the nicest:
- I generally don’t visit the Flagship Lounge London, since I can also access the Cathay Pacific Lounge and British Airways Lounge, which are nicer and just a couple of minutes away
- The Flagship Lounge Chicago is probably my least favorite, as it’s tiny and doesn’t have very good views; it’s still better than the Admirals Club, I suppose
- The Flagship Lounges in New York and Los Angeles are my favorites for the views, and I’d say I slightly prefer the overall experience in Los Angeles, especially when you factor in their superior Flagship check-in facility
What’s your favorite American Flagship Lounge?