American announced today that they’re closing their Tokyo Narita Admirals Club “around late March 2020,” with premium services agents moving over to work at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. This club was large, and had huge windows and plenty of light, but wasn’t as nice as the nearby Japan Airlines club.
It makes perfect sense that American would close this club.
- They’re shifting much of their flying to Tokyo Haneda, and will be down to just one flight at a day at Narita.
- Customers have access to Japan Airlines lounges in both airports.
Indeed, even Admirals CLub members flying American Airlines same day out of Tokyo Haneda can access the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge there (regardless of elite status or class of service). This policy will be extended to Tokyo Narita as well.
Those aren’t all the club losses of course, they closed the second Boston club and years ago gave up Kansas City, San Juan, and Seattle years ago and in fairness they’ve added Houston and an additional club at LAX.
I’m not a fan of the new design palette myself, I find it institutional, but American has invested in redesigning clubs and they’ve improved the food offerings in several as well from breakfast tacos to the new mac and cheese bars (which Delta offered for some time).
The Narita club closure is fully expected. What I’d love to see is more openings and expansions because kicking out passengers not flying the airline same day isn’t really about reducing crowding, it’s about making it less enjoyable for club members to fly other airlines when they don’t have access to an airport club (in hopes they’ll stick with flying American).
The reason I’d like to see more clubs is because the agents inside are often the absolute best at keeping customers moving during irregular operations. Certainly the agents in the Austin club (and only the agents!) make membership worthwhile, and the same is true with the legacy American staff at Washington National. And after all, memberships aren’t getting cheaper.