American is introducing new sit-down dining options for their premium Flagship lounges, adding new lounges and renovating others, and making their first class lounges available to more customers.
Currently American has two primary types of lounges:
- Flagship lounges. These are American’s first class lounges, for those flying international first class (and 3-cabin first class transcon) and that American’s top tier elite members can use when flying internationally.
- Admirals Clubs. These are most of American’s clubs. Members buy access, use a premium Citibank credit card to gain access, or have access based on the class of service of their ticket.
The “Flagship” name has an interesting history. American opened the very first airport club lounge in 1939. New York’s Mayor LaGuardia was criticized for having too big an office at New York LaGuardia airport so he rented out some of the space to American. They couldn’t name it “Admirals Club” because a judge determined people might think it was for Navy Admirals only, so it was named “Flagship Club.”
(The second club was at Washington National airport. They weren’t allowed to serve alcohol, so they stored bottles for members. This practice continued until liquor laws were changed in 1970.)
Paid memberships to American’s clubs weren’t introduced until 1967 (previously they had been given out by AA Sales). The price was $25 per year or $250 for a lifetime membership.
American is Introducing Tableside Meal Service in (4) Flagship Lounges
Although predominantly buffet, American opened a Flagship Dining Room inside the Admirals Club on the DFW D Concourse in the fall. This was temporary and an early test.
Credit: Hans Mast
American will introduce pre-flight meals “with full tableside service and elegant dining” at New York JFK, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Rendering of New Flagship Dining, Courtesy American Airlines
American is Building New Flagship Lounges in Dallas, Miami, and Philadelphia
Current Flagship Lounge, Chicago O’Hare
Rendering of New Flagship Lounge Seating, Courtesy American Airlines
They will also add Flagship Lounges at:
- Dallas Fort-Worth at the D concourse Admirals Club lounge, which currently hosts Flagship dining – the lounge will be renovated to add space. (Back in June DFW Airport confirmed for me that a Flagship Lounge would be coming.)
- Miami at the D30 Admirals Club, which will be renovated to add space.
- Philadelphia at the A West club between Gates A15 and A16.
In the near-term this should be seen as a vote of confidence in international operations at Philadelphia.
More Customers Will Have Access to Flagship Lounges
Access has been for international first class passengers, premium transcon first class passengers, Executive Platinum members flying internationally, and Emerald members of oneworld partner frequent flyer programs.
Starting in 2017, long haul and premium transcon business class passengers will have access as well.
Renovating the London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge
American starts renovations this month on the London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge.
They say the “space will be renovated with private showers and dressing areas, food and beverage service and valet pressing service to help customers feel and look their best after a trans-Atlantic flight.”
Of course, the lounge already has private showers, food and beverage service and valet pressing service. I’m actually quite a fan of the Heathrow Arrivals lounge.
Existing London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge
New Admirals Clubs
Construction on new clubs in Houston (IAH) and Orlando (MCO) is scheduled to start in the next few months.
Rendering of Orlando Admirals Club, Courtesy American Airlines