American Airlines Building New Admirals Club Lounge In The Austin Airport

American Airlines has grown tremendously in Austin, quadrupling the number of destinations it serves from the city compared to pre-pandemic times.

Austin has been an important spoke city for American for years, with high yield business travelers and corporate contracts. And the city has been growing rapidly year after year. Only now, though, are we starting to see American shuttle connecting traffic through the airport.

Even before the pandemic the Admirals Club there was overcrowded. There used to be a putting green at the entrance. That was turned into seating. Customer seats were added to the check-in area. The conference room was turned into seating. Busy throughout the day, in the hour or so before the British Airways London departure the place got truly packed. Renovation of the club has been on ice for years.

Now, though, American Airlines and the Austin airport are announcing plans for a new Admirals Club near gate 14. That’s 8 gates away from the current club, and indeed 8 gates away from American Airlines gates. But it’s brand new space, and at over 15,000 square feet it’s twice as large as the current facility promising seating for over 250 passengers. We won’t get the hoped-for American Express lounge but we will get a new lounge at the airport.

Lounge design is still in process, so it’s not yet clear when to expect that the lounge will open, however they’re planning “to create a club that reflects that eclectic style and pays homage to the lively music scene” of Austin according to American’s Managing Director of Premium Customer Experience and Onboard Products Clarissa Sebastian.


Rendering Credit American Airlines

That sounds great to me – a departure from the current renovation standard the airline has been using, embodied in the Dallas A concourse club, which I find aesthetically ‘institutional.’ So inspiration “reflecting the urban fabric of Rainey Street, Austin Parks, local art and music” sounds great, though I’m somewhat more cautious endorsing their plan for entertainment by local musicians. Often in the lounge what I want is quiet to work.

The existing club will remain open while the new club is built, and once complete will be larger than the gorgeous Delta Sky Club at the Austin airport with its Sky Deck, and of course larger than the modest United Club that sits beside the current Admirals Club near gate 22.

While the existing club hasn’t been big on amenities – it never offered made-to-order guacamole, avocado toast, or a mac and cheese bar, for instance – it has the absolute best lounge staff in American’s system. (With the retirement of Maryann Mazza from the club at Washington National airport there’s no longer even any competition.)

The ladies in the Austin lounge (they are in fact all ladies) don’t just remember all of their passengers, and come across as genuinely happy to see each one, they work miracles with reservations during irregular operations. They kept passengers moving efficiently even during the most challenging times at American. They’re the reason I’ve maintained my Admirals Club access. One staff member there just won the airline’s Chairman’s award, which – while she’s amazing – I’ve also taken as recognition of the whole team there.

A new physical club is sorely needed, and I can’t wait to pair a proper space with the excellent staff.

About Gary Leff

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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Comments

  1. Are they really all ladies or this is your assumption? Admirals Club staff uniforms do not display pronouns.

  2. Well…..I am NOT overjoyed….as I have never flown out of Austin….but I do fly out of BDL about 25 times a year, and was VERY disappointed when American closed the Admiral’s club there, which greatly reduced the value of my Citi-issued AA Executive Card.
    I imagine the folks who fly out of Greensboro feel similarly.

  3. @Wokeflyer #BLM – yes, Gary is correct – they coincidentally are all ladies who staff the front reception at the Austin Admiral’s Club. I fly in and out of Austin a lot and have also gotten to know some of them. Totally agree with Gary that they’re truly superstars and deserve all the recognition they get!

  4. Not all ladies anymore! I’ve seen a man working up front on a few past visits, yesterday in fact, but he’s as friendly and helpful as everyone else. The Agents in the AC in AUS deserve all the praise they get.

  5. I had an IROPS issue at Austin because of crew issues last week, and Alex in the club proactively protected me on a different flight and called me before I got to the airport to give me options. When that flight went tech and returned to the gate, he met the plane and worked to get me on another flight that would get me to my destination when his first option went wrong. As an elite based in the land of pmUS cities, the proactivity made what could have been a rough day much easier. Looking forward to the new club, especially since with the AUS expansion AA is using gates beyond their usual ones.

  6. Great news! In a perfect world AA would then remodel the existing club since the new club will likely be overcrowded soon. I agree the Austin club personnel are the best in the system. The only club where i regularly get called to warn about delays and suggest remedies. Have had them call in the morning to say storms are forecast in AUS or DFW this afternoon but if you can finish your day early we can book you on an earlier flight which won’t be effected. Staff in the club is top notch too.
    I agree on live music. That is too much. I want to either relax in quiet or work while at the club.

  7. My guess is that the UA lounge will take over the adjacent AA lounge space as soon as it becomes available. Just add a couple of doors and voila, the UA lounge is twice as big!

  8. Based on AA cost and service cuts, will the new Admirals Club in Austin food and drink vending machines accept credit cards only?
    “however they’re planning “to create a club that reflects that eclectic style and pays homage . . .”

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