American Airlines Closes 23 Clubs, And For The First Time In This Crisis I Cried A Little

Just two days ago I wrote about American Airlines closing 11 lounges and restricting service in others. Now they’re further shuttering lounges.

  • All Flagship lounges except New York JFK are closed. That means LAX, Dallas Fort-Worth, Miami, and Chicago O’Hare’s lounges have closed. In the previous update the JFK Flagship lounge became the ADmirals Club, and the Admirals Club there closed.

  • All Flagship Dining – New York JFK, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas Fort Worth – have closed.

  • Additional closures: In addition to those previously announced Charlotte B concourse; Dallas Fort Worth B concourse, LAX Eagles Nest; Philadelphia Terminal A and Terminal F; Phoenix B5; San Diego ‘Airspace Lounge’ (which welcomes Admirals CLub members) closes Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m.; Washington National B concourse

  • Reduced hours: Atlanta (6 a.m. – 7 p.m.); Austin (6 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.); Boston (5:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.); Charlotte C concourse (6 a.m. – 10 p.m.); Chicago O’Hare H/K concourse (5 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.); Dallas Fort Worth A (5 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.); Dallas Fort Worth C (4:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.); Denver (6:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.); Houston (6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.); Nashville (6:45 a.m. = 6:45 p.m.); Newark (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, closing at 5:00 p.m. on weekends); New York LaGuardia (5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m); Orange County (5:45 a.m. to 5 p.m); Orlando (6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m); Philadelphia B/C (5 a.m. to 9 p.m); Phoenix A7 (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and A19 (6 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Pittsburgh (6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m); Raleigh (6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.); St. Louis (6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.); Tampa (6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.); Mexico City (7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.); Toronto (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday – Friday and 5:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday)

American Airlines Admirals Club DFW Concourse A

Many clubs are forbidden by regulation from serving alcohol. I don’t follow the logic of this restriction, since non-alcoholic beverages are still permitted. Strong enough alcohol and passengers would actually have hand sanitizer.

Many clubs are only permitted to serve ‘to go’ food. Since regulations vary from location to location, in some clubs the to go food may be eaten in the lounges, and in other cases eating lounge food in the lounge isn’t permitted.

These lounge closures make complete sense – American is flying only 3 long haul international routes (Dallas – London and Miami – London plus Dallas – Tokyo three times a week) so international business class lounges don’t make sense. The overall reduced flight schedule means fewer passengers and flights at compressed times. I’m surprised there are still 3 Admirals Clubs open in Dallas – though the airport is spread out and it’s difficult to fly from one terminal and use a club in another.

This is sad for the airline, and for premium services staff. While I’ve had my quibbles with food choices I do appreciate the improvements in the clubs in recent years. The Flagship lounges have been great, no not as nice as United Polaris lounges but open to many more customers than United’s business class lounges. Admirals Clubs have had guacamole and avocado toast stations (funded by Mastercard, and downgraded since first introduced) plus many lounges have been renovated – not to my taste, but certainly with better self serve soda machines!

Minutiae may seem trivial at this time but thinking back on them, I realize how much I’ve appreciated the effort. Mostly though I’ve appreciated the people. The ladies in the Austin club (they’ev all been ladies) have been amazing, taking care of me during the worst of American’s operational challenges.

I haven’t been in during recent days to offer support, and I feel badly about that too. After 9/11 I brought treats to my local United Airlines City Ticket Office to support the employees that I’d gotten to know and had been so helpful to me over the years. I sobbed a little bit thinking about the people who have done so much for me over the past several years, and that I haven’t been in a position to do much for lately.

If anyone has ideas how to offer your friendly airline employees support – hopefully still working, but airside – I’d love to hear it in the comments.

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. @ Gary — There will be many more tears shed if the projections being tossed about by the media are anywhere close to correct. This is scary and sad. I am still baffled at why the entire country isn’t on full (to the extent possible) lock down.

  2. Serving alcohol is banned in certain locations as a way of stopping people from going to local bars.

  3. @E – yes, of course that makes sense, though seems like prohibitions on the number of people gathering accomplishes the same – as well as ordering the bars closed.

  4. @Gene – it’s been demonstrated recently with consumer surveys that there is a huge ” infection belief gap” between Democrats (very high) and Republicans (more like ~50%). And Republican Governor-led states (like DeSantis and the Oklahoma clown) have been slow to get with the program.

  5. The bars (and restauarants) are ordered closed, whether they serve alcohol or not. In addition, most executive orders allow to-go order of food and non-alcoholic drinks, although some states are now allowing alcoholic beverages in a sealed container to-go (still not on-premise consumption).

  6. “If anyone has ideas how to offer your friendly airline employees support”…

    Um, one would be to support federal policies that provide fall-backs and safety nets for working-class Americans during times of hardship. But that would be too big of gubmint, now wouldn’t it?

    Interesting perspective that tears are being shed over seeing capitalism work the way it is intended to…maybe the invisible hand will wipe them?

  7. It’s rather amazing to see Trump and his Republicans jump onto a Pelosi-House Democrats’ coronavirus-recovery program for American that seems closer to being Bernie Sander’s deepest fantasy come true than anything typically Republican before Trump. Actually maybe this is also Putin’s fantasy come true, with Trump and Trump Republicans first destroying the national budget/finances on the revenue side and then stuck to destroy the national budget/finances on the expense side too.

    Remember this is Trump willing to spend anything and do anything to get re-elected even as so many of his actions are Putin’s dream come true: to see America undermine itself from the top down, from inside and out.

  8. You can best support your “friendly airline employees” if you take break from continuously bashing American at every opportunity and maybe stop for a while, using employee channels to get the info to support your bashing agenda. Give it a rest.

  9. For those who are EXP or higher there are the “job well done” certs if you know the name. Maybe the best way to support the great employees who take care of us is by not being there and bringing potential infection. After this crisis there will be time to express sympathy and gratitude, for those of us who survive that is.

  10. @Amapas – I call BS. While I don’t always agree with Gary, I can’t recall an instance where he trashed general employees at American. Parker and his ilk are public figures working for a publicly traded company, and commenting on their corporate stupidity when he sees it is completely justified. Using your logic, Gary is supposed to allow massive greed and stupidity to go on because he feels for the regular people. Bad idea.

  11. @Christian call BS all you want. Never said not to do it, I only asked for a break. This stuff is red meat for many of the readers hence Gary’s bread and butter. I only asked for a break. Second, regardless if you’re beef is worth leadership or the employees, there are good, friendly employees who may feel bad with the constant bashing. Gary asked what can he do, I answered.

  12. UN-NYC and GU wonder still liberal idiots and must bring politics and anti GOP into everything very Sad

  13. @Dot – Yeah, I can’t stand intolerant people. You disagree with someone for bringing politics into the discussion by bringing politics into the discussion?

  14. The airline was in terminal decline long before the virus. I hope they go broke. Pity about the staff…hopefully they can find work with any airline emerging from the rubble.

  15. City ticket offices? Wow! That’s a blast from the past. I remember when every single airline had a city ticket office at the intersection of 16th and K Streets NW in Washington DC. Now there are none.. I also remember an American Airlines ticket office in the lower level of the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington VA. The guy who ran that office helped me change a lot of tickets in the 1990s.

  16. @Bob
    I didn’t mean to sound uncaring about the staff. I hope they are ok. But this airline is so poorly managed that it’s something of a joke relative to the competition. It would be scandalous to give public funds to the muppets running the show; any bailout would have to be contingent on ‘root and branch’ reform, including a complete clear out of senior management.

  17. “Any bailout would have to be contingent on ‘root and branch’ reform, including a complete clear out of senior management.”

    Agree, but are other airlines closing their clubs as well? Permanently closing clubs (esp. Flagship clubs) does seem like the kind of move that an executive team that changed the USAir ticker to LCC would make.

    We all know high-ticket business and leisure customers are clamoring for another Spirit airlines, more than anything else in US (not.).

    Took my first flight on Delta in awhile last week, and quite enjoyed it. I don’t see them making the same dum-dum moves to lose their customers willing to pay a lot for seats as some.

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