American Airlines Reservations Agents Are Confused About Lounge Access On Hawaii Flights

American Airlines is re-opening its international business class Flagship lounges starting next month. American’s business class passengers on long haul Hawaii flights will now have access. They’ll also receive Admirals Club access.

This only applies to long haul Hawaii flights on widebody aircraft featuring international business class cabins. That’s flights out of Dallas, Chicago and Charlotte to places like Honolulu, Kona, and Maui.

And this only applies to business class passengers it does not apply to elite frequent flyers in coach or premium economy.

This is confusing for reservations agents at the airline, so I’m sure it is confusing to passengers too. One problem that seems to be coming up is agents telling customers on Los Angeles – Hawaii flights that they’ll have lounge access. They do not. These are not long haul flights and don’t count as ‘Flagship’ for lounge access. The airline is trying to educate their team:

If an airline’s agents can’t make sense of a policy it is probably too complicated a policy.

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. You’re joking right? This policy is literally so straightforward. Maybe the problem is that AA’s agents are in general horrible at their jobs!

  2. I think you guys are being a little harder. Sure reading it it’s fine but when you’re processing countless entries and being asked questions etc I could see some agents getting confused. Some probably don’t even know where Lihue is let alone who has access. It doesn’t mean they’re dumb but we assume agents are well traveled and in my experience they are not.

    I have no idea why AA can’t just tie if you your ticket. Scans ok your in. Shouldn’t be up to a person making a subjective call based on their interpretation.

  3. As Shawn said, AA should invest in technology for gates and boarding pass scanners like Euro/Asia lounges do.

    While they’re at it, do the same at the gates since they are already reducing gate agents.

  4. Passengers are frustrated to be inaccurately advised by American Airlines reservations agents to pay for a premium Business/First class of service ticket because it will include Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge admittance. Then, on arrival at the Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge at LAX, they are told they are not worthy and prohibited to enter unless they pay an additional payment.

  5. Do AA business class passengers traveling between the mainland and Hawaii get lounge access?

    The answer is “it depends” and that’s a bad policy.

  6. Love the “non-stop” flights between LAX and Hawaii. Any stop between LAX and Hawaii is basically a water landing.

  7. This is nothing new. Is San Juan PR US territory? Many years ago I flown there from LAX direct, and I didn’t have admiral club membership then. I was told by check in agent that I had access because I was flying business class and it was considered international flight. Hawaii is strange because that’s not considered international flight. I have admiral club membership now, but they are much more strict with access. Reason being it’s not an AA operated lounge (Honolulu). Now it’s Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge, not one of my favorite. It used to be Qantas Lounge.

  8. But the wide bodies to/from PHX do not get the lounge access for Business? Riddle me that, Batman.

  9. Flew AA LAX-OGG last week and was not informed of this. One thing to keep in mind is you can use the Admiral’s Club to get your Hawaii wristband and do not have to wait at the particular gate they are using for all Hawaii bound customers. My wait to get my wristband was 45 minutes and the line moved at a snails pace. I was informed once I entered the Admiral’s club, with a day pass, that I could have bypassed that mess and they would have knocked it out for me. Wish the check-in agent would have mentioned that.

  10. Anecdotal, but my agent over the phone had no challenges when relaying this to me.

    Imo, the only people confused are flyertalk members who feel entitled to lounge access on these routes, even if flying in economy with gold status

  11. Reasonable IT would let either the customer or the agent quickly call up the service bundle included with any particular flight. If it’s so complicated it can’t be coded into their system, they shouldn’t expect employees or customers to quickly decipher it either. Ultimately, this is the mess of having so many different bundles under different and confusing names. The fact the First Class is an inferior product to Flagship Business and is altogether more akin to Premium Economy highlights the confusion. To add to this, the “Flagship” label doesn’t even define lounge access, because plain old Business gets it on “select” flights. So, yes, I give AAgents a pass on this one — the airline created this monster.

  12. Not the first or the last AA policy to be so overcomplicated that it’s confusing to passengers and employees alike. When will the bean counters figure out that this only angers both?

  13. Tried to do LAX-DFW-HNL same-day connection 3 months ago. The LAX AA Lounge Agent was able to grant me access on the lounge. I explained to her that i do have a connecting flight for my ticket LAX-HNL (I presented my DFW-HNL boarding pass). I didn’t have time to check the lounge in DFW because the connection between my flight was too short.

    Oddly enough, 2 months ago. I did multi-city LAX-DFW-HNL (with DFW-HNL) departure the next day. I tried to access LAX AA lounge and the agent told me that she cannot grant me access to the lounge since i am only flying domestically and it is not part of flagship routes that AA offers after that she asked me if am part of active military personnel or high AAdvantage Membership tier and i said no. I told her about my DFW-HNL flight but she said the same thing and told me that it is not part of the flagship route. At the end, i didn’t have any access with LAX AA Lounge. But on the next day from DFW, I had no issue with the access lounge and was able to get into the lounge.

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