Back in May I wrote that American was planning a limited Flagship lounge in Dallas. American wasn’t talking — but I got the airport to confirm it in June.
American’s Flagship Lounges are their first class lounges. They are in:
- New York JFK (see also here and here)
- Chicago O’Hare (see also here)
- Los Angeles
- London Heathrow (oddly, though I’ve been there, I don’t have a review – though I’ve reviewed the London arrivals lounge)
They feature substantial food, open bar, and restricted access.
The special Flagship area in Dallas has been completed, and has its soft opening tomorrow.
- This is a Flagship Dining Area inside the Admirals Club in Terminal D.
- Official opening day is November 3, but they begin slowly inviting customers in Thursday October 29 while they ramp up.
Flagship Dining will be available to anyone that would otherwise have access to a Flagship Lounge:
- Passengers traveling to or from: Europe, Asia, Central and South America and Mexico City and
- Who are either in 3-cabin first class or have American Executive Platinum status regardless of class of service
oneworld Emerald members of other airlines have access even when flying American Airlines domestic
When you check in at the terminal D Admirals Club, eligible passengers will be given a paper invitation to Flagship Dining.
Down the hall to the left inside the lounge there’s a room with frosted windows where there will be a staff member outside the door to check your invitation and boarding pass and welcome you in.
The room includes café tables (generally set up for 2 people) tops and comfortable chairs. There’s a buffet and a drink station. Customers can eat in the room or take food out into the larger club.
Food Service in the Flagship Dining Room
Here are the meal service hours:
- Breakfast: 8:30-11am
- Lunch: 11am-2pm
- Tea: 2-4pm
- Dinner: 4-9:30pm
There are no gaps in meal times from 8:30am to 9:30pm. (And of course passengers have access to existing Admirals Club offerings throughout the day.)
There will be place settings at the tables and staff will clear tables and offer drinks. The buffet is spread across two walls, and the back wall features wine, champagne, beer, and other beverages. Liquor is available from the Admirals Club bar. (As now, international premium cabin customers and oneworld elites receive drink chits when entering the lounge. A server can get drinks for customers from the Admirals Club bar and bring them back to Flagship Dining, passengers will need to provide the server with a drink chit.)
There’s a rotating food menu and will include things like crudité and hummus, fresh berries, sandwiches, salads, and soups. These are different flavor soups than those served in the Admirals Club (which I much like) but from the same provider.
Food items will include appetizers along the lines of those I shared in June (though not these specific items).
“North America” Macaroni and Cheese
“Asia” Sesame Soba Noodles with Chicken Satay
“Europe” Ricotta whipped with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, ciabatta crostini
“South America” Peruvian Causa Yellow Potato West Coast Dungeness Crab Aji Amirillo Basil Cilantro Oil
Mac and cheese will come in multiple varieties — truffled mac and cheese, for instance and sweet pea and ham mac and cheese. They will be presented on small plates (they were fried in the presentation above but won’t be in the lounges).
American Hasn’t Had International First Class Ground Service in Dallas in a Decade
Dallas used to have a first class lounge in the A terminal. It’s still there inside the Admirals Club, a separate room, that seemingly no one ever uses. It’s where I always go in the A terminal — you take the elevator up into the club and instead of walking straight ahead past the desk of agents, you turn around 180 degrees and the room is behind you, it has its own bathrooms and it’s quiet.
Once the D terminal opened as the international terminal in 2005, there was no more need for a first class lounge in A. And American opened its Admirals Club in D but without a Flagship Lounge.
American Has Mostly Moved Away from an International First Class Strategy
In recent times American has been moving away from international first class. Once its Boeing 777-200s are done getting reconfigured with new business class seats they won’t have a first class any longer. And the only planes left with international first class will be Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which from Dallas currently operate to London (one flight), Sao Paulo, and Hong Kong. (American’s A321T transcon Los Angeles and San Francisco – New York JFK have a first class, but those don’t visit Dallas.)
So with fewer first class seats, it made sense that Los Angeles, New York, and London Heathrow kept first class lounges. Chicago’s lounge is a bit of an anachronism, though it hosts Japan Airlines first class passengers. And the idea of a Dallas first class lounge is surprising.
The D terminal is home to the Dallas American Express Centurion lounge, so there’s some competitive pressure. (And this may relieve a bit of the congestion in the Centurion lounge, since every American Executive Platinum and oneworld emerald member flying international will have access, and some will choose to use the new Flagship Dining Room that might otherwise have used the Centurion lounge.)
There has been talk in the past that this Flagship Dining Room is temporary, that American could build a separate Flagship Lounge in the future in Dallas. But airport leases and available spaces can be tricky, and here they had space available in which to upgrade service without as significant a capital expenditure.
I do like that this investment signals a commitment to premium service on the part of American. They’ve worked hard to demonstrate product investment. They’ve fought an uphill battle, given management’s reputation coming from US Airways and the initial deep cuts in meal service imposed in September 2014 (that they’ve since walked back from). Definitely filed under good to see and for oneworld passengers flying through Dallas good to know about.