American Airlines Business Class Lounges – And First Class Dining – Start Re-Opening Next Month

In June American Airlines announced a plan to re-open most of its international business and first class lounge facilities. United has not announced its plan yet for re-opening business class Polaris lounges. And Delta does not currently have a similar product, although one may be coming to Los Angeles.

Miami’s Flagship lounge and Flagship First Dining were said to re-open in September with the other Flagship lounges were planned to re-open “throughout Fall 2021.” Flagship Dining facilities were slated to re-open too – except for the Los Angeles location. We now have a firm schedule for the first two:

  • New York JFK: Flagship lounge re-opens September 14 and Flagship Dining inside that lounge September 16. When JFK Flagship re-opens, the Admirals Club on the C concourse will re-open as well (since Flagship, which expanded into the old B concourse Admirals Club, has been used as the Admirals Club).

  • Miami: Flagship lounge re-opens September 28 and Flagship Dining inside that lounge September 30

Flagship lounges at LAX, Dallas – Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare will still open “later this fall.” The good news is that American now says LAX Flagship Dining is expected to re-open, though “not until 2022.”

Accessing Flagship Lounges And Flagship First Dining

Access to Flagship lounges is available to:

  • Business and first class passengers flying on a oneworld airline to Asia; Australia or New Zealand; Europe; South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela) as well as business and first class passengers flying premium transcon routes (New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco and certain Miami and Boston – Los Angeles flights as well as New York JFK – Orange County).

  • Business class passengers on long haul Hawaii flights

  • American Platinum members and above and Alaska MVP Gold members and above who are flying to one of these eligible destinations on a oneworld airline.

  • oneworld sapphire and emerald members in programs other than American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan who are flying on any oneworld flight (including American and Alaska domestic flights)

  • ConciergeKey members flying on a oneworld airline, including American and Alaska domestic

Flagship First Dining access is limited to:

  • Three-cabin first class passengers flying American Airlines to Asia; Australia; Europe; or South America or flying between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco

  • Historically, to oneworld partners who have paid for access (such as British Airways for their first class passengers in some locations) and to ConciergeKey members who have been given a limited number of passes, as well as to those offered a buy-in option or who purchased access through American’s Five Star premium ground service

Flagship First Dining New York JFK

Miami First Dining Corn Chowder With Corn Fritters

New Food And Amenities

American is naming celebrity chefs for its Flagship lounges.

  • Dallas – Fort Worth Chef Tiffany Derry of Top Chef and Dallas restaurant Roots Southern Table as well as sustainability spokesperson for the James Beard Foundation. American promotes her work with the Dallas school district’s lunch program, which doesn’t make the food she signs off on sound better.

  • Miami Chef Timon Balloo, Eater’s Chef of the Year local restaurant Sugarcane and “now building out his own brand with concepts like Mrs. Balloo, an Asian cuisine-inspired food truck, delivery-only Balloo Wallah and Balloo, for which he was nominated Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation in 2020.”

  • New York JFK Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja from Shuka and Shukette offering Eastern Mediterranean cuisine (not to my taste, personally).

  • Chicago O’Hare Chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio, the 2017 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Great Lakes.

They don’t yet have a named chef for Los Angeles. Along a certain margin celebrity chefs can matter for an airline. In general they raise my estimation of the airline’s investment in food, while lowering my estimation of the chef’s commitment to quality over other considerations.

Meanwhile Flagship lounges are replacing their bath products, moving to D.S. & Durga hand soap and lotions in restrooms They’re also going to be refreshing their D.S. & Durga amenities in Shinola bags on board.

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, 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. Great choice for Chicago’s celebrity chef – Monteverde is delightfully fantastic. Try to see if you can go on your next trip!

  2. Without alcohol I’d assume….since Woke Dougie sems to think that all of AAs operational problems and onboard incidents are directly due to people getting loaded at the airports before contorting themselves into their seat onboard an oasis-fied 737. Wonder why DL and UA don’t seem to have these kinds of problems?

  3. So would a Platinum elite get access to flagship from JFK to SFO flying economy? They’d get it on international destinations and the JFK to SFO looks to be a eligible. Thanks!

  4. Tim, no, AA elites traveling on domestic itineraries that have a Flagship Business cabin (such as JFK to SFO) do not get entry on an economy ticket, as they would on an international economy booking.

  5. So if I understand this correctly, if you are flying JFK-DFW-HNL, NO at JFK, and YES at DFW? Any experience getting that to be a YES at DFW?

  6. So,

    I bought DCA-MIA-BZE prior to Central America being removed from eligibility for Flagship Lounges. Am I grandfathered in on account of the date of purchase of the fare? Or am I out of luck?

  7. So, @Gary, any news on the T3 LHR Flagship Lounge since I believe AA has or will be moving back to T3 from T5?

  8. I have a question. My wife and I are scheduled to fly from LAX to London next March. We have 1 ticket in 1st class and 1 in business (hoping to bump the 2nd one to first class if the seats open up at a reasonable point level-presently 175000). We got a business class for 57500 and 1st class for 85000 miles.

    I see that paid first class and business class are eligible for Flagship First, but it appears that award tickets are not.

    can anyone confirm or correct that?

  9. I wouldn’t discount school food in the hands of a talented chef, which most cafeteria works are not. The best school food our son ever had was in preschool when the lunches were prepped by a professional chef who was tired of restaurant hours. He made and got the kids to eat every possible vegetable and complex protein, and this was with 2-5 year olds. No chicken nuggets or Mac & cheese. Parents got in line to volunteer for helping at lunch time.

  10. @Paul Davis – any International First qualifies, regardless of paid or award/upgrade. Business class passengers are not allowed in Flagship Dining, but as an International First passenger you are allowed 1 guest.

  11. Wow, bad timing on JFK FL re-opening. We fly LAX-JFK-SFO in Flaghship Business or FIrst (don’t remember which trip is which), 9/9-9/13. Missed it by that much. Although JFK Centurion is very nice. Will catch JFK FL on our similar November trip.


  12. @Gary,

    Agree on the LHR T5 comment. Everything I’ve read suggests that the AA move to LHR T5 is permanent. While this has some advantages, there are some nice lounges in T3 that I’ll miss.


  13. AA is already fully back in T3 at LHR with the exception of AA departures to JFK. Currently, AA passengers departing LHR have access to the not-so-great BA Galleries lounge in T3 and the No.1 Lounge in T3.

    There is word that there is some activity in the Admirals Club but no word on re-opening.

  14. @IADCAFlyer,
    Very interesting. This certainly goes against what they said they would do (permanently) last year. But they seem to have reconsidered and now split things, as you say.

    Some advantage for the long-term as those other T3 lounges reopen. I do prefer the BA Galleries F lounge to FL, but certainly below Qantas and a bit below Cathay for me.


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