Which Has the Longer Line: TSA or the American Airlines Club Bar?

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve been in TSA pre-check lines in Atlanta that were longer than the Sky Priority lines, and the people in Sky Priority got through faster (my traveling companions were Sky Priority). And here’s something to watch out for: when I returned from Europe to ATL on Thursday, there was a 10 minute backup in the Global Entry line (after the kiosk, but before the luggage). Not good!

  2. @Gary – Is a line of that magnitude at the bar normal? If so, a cunning plan might be to put a second bartender on the busier shifts.

  3. the regular line at DCA went faster than the Pre line because it was being VIDEOTAPED. The AA Club was standing room only on Thursday night, but I think that must be expected as road warriors are all traveling home that day.

  4. @Christian I don’t usually visit that club. There were two bartenders at the bar. However they got into a fight and only one was helping customers, the other was doing ‘important stuff’.

  5. AA has been shifting flights around among the terminals at PHL a TON in the last 6-8 months. I have flown out of Terminal A more in the last 6 months than I have in the prior 5 years combined. The clubs in A – especially the one in A East which is the legacy AA one – are really undersized for the amount of traffic they now see, both in square footage and staffing levels.

  6. @ Gary — The barkeeps at A-west must have tenure or something. I’ve never had such poor service in an club lounge in my life, and for the record I’m usually a supporter of all things ‘Gray Panther’.


  7. We were in that lounge last week. Bartender made three people form a line (inside the velvet rope) so she could remember who was next. Your line looks absurd.

    PHL-ATH was delayed and there was no available estimate of a new departure time. Agents said they would make an announcement. Out of the blue, an announcement came over the PA that the flight was now boarding and ‘the doors are closing.’ Everybody sprinted to the gate only to find out that boarding had just begun.

    Strange lounge experience, to be sure.

  8. Where can I find information on the airports where Platinum card holders get access to faster security lines? How do you identify these lines?

  9. I regularly fly out of PHL and as soon as I read the post’s headline, I knew it was going to be about the club in Terminal A. If you want drinks served in a timely manner, you have to schlep it over to the club in terminals B/C.

    Likewise, security is always a nightmare in A-east. I always enter through another terminal and schlep it to my gate.

    tl;dr PHL terminal A sucks

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