Must-read Earlier Installments:
- Singapore, Cathay, and Qantas First Class.. Some of the Best Meals of My Life, and a Tour of Hyatts in Bangkok, Singapore, and Sydney
- Inside the New Oneworld Lounge at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal
- Cathay Pacific First Class, Los Angeles – Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class Lounge, Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Bangkok
- Grand Hyatt Bangkok: Suite, Club Lounge, and Facilities
- Thai Molecular Gastronomy at Sra Bua in Bangkok
- Getting Custom Tailored Suits Made in Bangkok at Empire Tailors
- Nahm at the Metropolitan: the Best Thai Food in Thailand?
- Thailand’s Iron Chef Cooks Ancient Recipes in a Deserted Top Notch Restaurant
- Eating The Best Local Thai Dishes in the Bangrak Neighborhood of Bangkok
- Louis Tavern CIP Lounge and Cathay Pacific Business Class, Bangkok-Singapore
- Grand Hyatt Singapore
- Eating and Entertainment Like a Singapore Local
- Singapore Airlines ‘The Private Room’ First Class Lounge
- Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class, Singapore – Sydney
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Eating… and Drinking (As One Does..) in Sydney
- Review: Quay, Sydney’s Famed Restaurant Overlooking the Opera House
- Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney
- Qantas A380 First Class, Sydney – Los Angeles
American continues to offer ‘Flagship Lounges’ or first class lounges in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York JFK, at London Heathrow.
There are no longer Flagship Lounges in Dallas or Miami. The Dallas lounge still has the dedicated room, just walk into the Admirals Club in the A terminal and when you get upstairs and come out of the elevator you are facing the desk with reservations agents. Turn completely around, because right behind you is the room that used to be the Flagship Lounge. Almost no one is ever in it, it has separate restrooms, it’s great for quiet and privacy even when the rest of the lounge is busy. In Miami the Flagship Lounge closed, and didn’t re-open.
My favorite flagship lounge is Los Angeles, overall the food offerings have been decent in the past although they were disappointing on this visit. Plus you frequently see Hollywood celebrities (you see them in the Admirals Club sometimes, too).
I like Chicago because of the staff there (and because there’s sushi, since it doubles as Japan Airlines’ lounge). Certain Admirals Clubs — especially Washington National and Austin — are staffed with really phenomenal people. Chicago is as well, with agents who welcome you and take great care of your reservation when things go wrong.
Heathrow is well-provisioned, but it’s also frequently super-busy, because American gives Flagship Lounge access to Executive Platinum (100,000 mile flyer) members when flying internationally. And all American Executive Platinums are flying internationally when they’re at Heathrow.
The one I like the least is JFK. It’s one large room that gets busy before the transatlantic and evening South America departures. The staff isn’t nearly as good as in Chicago. And the food isn’t as good as Los Angeles.
But it’s better than an Admirals Club because there is food and a self-serve bar as well. And there are showers.
These lounges are available to:
- first class passengers on an American Airlines or oneworld international flight or on a 3-cabin transcon (JFK to Los Angeles or San Francisco)
- American Airlines Executive Platinum members on an international itinerary regardless of class of service flown. (International means transoceanic, Canada and the Caribbean do not count, although I believe that Mexico City does.)
- oneworld Emerald (top tier) members, excluding American’s own top tier elites, flying on or connecting to a same-day oneworld flight. I used to use these lounges flying purely domestic itineraries when I was a British Airways Gold member.
After having cleared immigration I walked across from the Tom Bradley International Terminal over to the American Airlines Terminal at LAX. I went up the escalator at the end of the terminal for premium security and PreCheck. With no line I was on my way quickly into the terminal and straight down to the lounge.
You check in downstairs and take the elevator up. At reception they handed me the ‘key’ that opens the Flagship Lounge doors upstairs. You deposit the key in the bin when you enter, though there was also an agent there.
Once inside the first thing I asked for was a shower room.
American’s aren’t the most luxurious airport showers, and I’ve never been a huge fan of soap and shampoo on the wall, but there’s nothing to keep you going like washing off a long flight!
Once cleaned off I went into the lounge to find a place to sit and catch up on work, having been offline for the length of the previous flight.
I then hit the buffet to see if there was anything I wanted to snack on.
The food didn’t look especially appealing, so I decided to give it a miss. I just answered emails for awhile, looked out over airport operations, and waited for my final flight of the day.