American recently opened the first of its new Flagship Lounges at New York JFK. It’s a much nicer lounge than anything they’ve offered before, but it does get busy. Access is fairly broad. All American ConciergeKey members, Platinum members and above flying internationally, oneworld partner mid-tier elites, as well as oneworld international business and first class passengers (and American business class passengers on flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles) have access.
That’s why the renovated Admirals Club next door isn’t super crowded, everyone’s in the Flagship Lounge.
Inside the Flagship Lounge though is an exclusive experience, Flagship First Dining. It’s advertised as being for American’s own international and premium transcon first class passengers only. It’s never busy, features sit down dining and table service.
I have to give them credit, the food inside Flagship First Dining is quite good.
American’s published rules are that while Flagship Lounge is open to oneworld partner premium cabin passengers and elites, First Dining is for their own first class customers only — and not even for their ConciergeKey members flying business class.
It turns out though that the ‘no exceptions’ policy isn’t quite accurate. Cathay Pacific recently moved from terminal 7 at New York JFK (where it was housed alongside British Airways and Qantas) over to terminal 8 with American.
Reader JB let me know, and American Airlines confirmed, that they have an arrangement with Cathay Pacific for that carrier’s first class passengers to be given access to Flagship First Dining at New York JFK.
JB expressed disappointment that he was leaving on the morning Cathay Pacific departure and Flagship Dining had none of the menu’s advertised fresh juices, “fruit delivery didn’t come” he was told. But he was still surprised and delighted to receive access as a Cathay Pacific (award) first class customer.
This raises an interesting question, it’s clearly possible for American to negotiate such arrangements where they (1) offer Flagship Dining, (2) are in the same terminal as a oneworld partner which offers an international first class product, (3) which doesn’t have its own lounge.
It will be interest to see whether British Airways and Qantas will arrange access in Dallas once the First Dining facility opens there, for instance.