American Airlines Is Replacing Flagship Check-in, Lounge And First Dining At New York JFK

British Airways is moving into the American Airlines terminal at New York JFK in December, with the two joint venture partners working more closely together not just on scheduling and pricing but also on customer experience. That means a new shared premium check-in area and revamped larger joint premium lounges.

The two carriers had discussed co-location at JFK in 2010, when airlines were moving at the airport as a result of of the terminal 3 and terminal 4 refurbishments. American’s bankruptcy and the British Airways lease on terminal 7 got in the way of progress at the time. The project puts almost all of oneworld under the terminal 8 roof.

New York JFK terminal 8 was designed for 57 gates, but only 36 were built. This project involves creating new widebody gates and hardstands, and eliminating some narrowbody gates and regional gates.

Just before the pandemic I wrote that “there won’t be a separate British Airways lounge. But there will be a dedicated path straight through security to the lounge. This will be the first joint American-British Airways lounge.”

American Airlines is finally talking about what this means.

  • Flagship First check-in is being enlarged, renovated, and rebranded.

    [A} co-branded premium check-in area providing personalized, concierge-style service for top-tier guests will replace American’s former Flagship First Check-In space. Thoughtfully designed architectural elements will also define an exclusive new check-in space for eligible business customers.

    Credit: American Airlines

  • Lounges are being redone as well, with a total capacity for 1000 passengers.

    • a “champagne bar, fireside lounge and a la carte dining room.. reimagines American’s Flagship First Dining”

      Credit: American Airlines

    • “Adjacent, another premium lounge — with sweeping airside views, a wine bar, cocktail lounge, library and buffet — will offer an elevated, lively experience.”

      Credit: American Airlines

    • “American’s Flagship Lounge and Concourse B Admirals Club will be repurposed into a contiguous lounge for eligible business class customers.”

    Flagship check-in will close February 1 and replaced by temporary check-in desks. All lounges remain open during these changes. However “following completion, the Concourse B Admirals Club will close” and “the Concourse C Admirals Club will continue to serve members, qualifying elite customers and those traveling on eligible itineraries.”

    Existing premium lounges at New York JFK are less than 5 years old today of course.

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. The current Flagship First Dining at JFK is absolutely unimpressive when compared to the Concorde Room at JFK (or any other true first class lounge) and can only hope that the new combined lounge will be similar in character to the Concorde Room.

    I would also hope that the new flow will actually be similar to Heathrow’s First Wing check-in going right to private security screening going right to the first class lounge.

  2. PS Heathrow’s First Wing allows first class passengers (and top elites) on One World partners to check-in if their flight is departing from T5. Hopefully, the same would be the case with this rework at JFK. Nice benefit.

  3. When will AA get on with it and upgrade First Class catering standards and service levels to those of BA on LHR routes

  4. No matter how much lipstick you put on the pig Americans food can be described as elegantly as gas station sushi or Walmart cafeteria inspired perhaps worse
    BA has it right with First class check in @ LHR but I’m uncertain in my lifetime if American will ever get food and beverage right.Only international carriers seem to understand how to approach quality standard onboard or off
    It’s like asking American to create a reasonable level of comfort throughout coach or space to move In the lavatory that’s reasonable
    American says it’s going for great to only end up upside down in the toilet most of the time
    American typically goes for subpar or below
    Hopefully BA could help them do premium but I can think of nowhere they been successful or a must have like Qantas First in Sydney or BA First @ LHR
    American was better in 2000 some 22 years ago when I had reason to fly them when on board
    The rolling salad bar was nice and entrees fair enough.
    It was premium like as opposed to premium fail year after year

  5. American has also decided to adopt BA’s outrageous charges in addition to a bucketload of point for all US-Europe flights with points for premium classes. Won’t be flying them very often.

  6. Tim, I would agree. The challenge is that AA’s customer cross-section is atypical right now. That is, there’s an overpopulation of budget-minded leisure travelers. Nonetheless, every business needs to treat its top-paying customers well. As has been abundantly mentioned, AA’s food in the premium cabins is subpar. Given the trans-Atlantic partnership, if one can buy a first class ticket on AA and BA for the same price, I’ll take BA every time. BA staff’s aircrews appropriately. BA has better food. BA’s row 1 seats have overhead storage (AA’s 777-300s don’t — someone needs to be fired). And, then, there are the seats themselves — BA’s are ergonomic and AA’s are . . . well . . . not (again, someone needs to be fired).

  7. @Joyce – pretty sure the additional costs from AA are if you book a BA metal flight with points. Otherwise a pretty reasonable amount (like $150 or so with business class award which covers the various government fees and taxes).

  8. The 4 new widebody hardstand parking positions being added is not an enhancement that I’m looking forward to. I can only imagine taking the bus to board a flight in a February snowstorm or a steamy August heatwave to be the opposite of a World Class Customer Experience.

  9. All of the “moaning” about AA above is accurate, but let’s remember that at JFK, the BA Lounge wouldn’t even let us as Emeralds enter their sit-down Dining room if you are flying on different OW metal. Almost insulting! But as already mentioned, the BA First Wing LHR arrangement, with the dedicated security and direct lounge access, truly creates one of the great pleasures of flying when in Europe! Re the AA Flagship food and experience, the Flagship lounge in my home hub of Miami really isn’t bad; so if that can become a baseline for JFK, it would be a good starting point. True?

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