American Airlines Shuts Off Eternal Flame In The DCA Admirals Club

The new American Airlines Admirals Club template is gorgeous. The first one to open was on the E Concourse at Washington National airport. There’s now a second club using the new design template at Newark.

Every piece on the new DC lounge highlights the fireplace feature of the lounge. It helps make the space.

However American Airlines has shut off the fireplace in the lounge.

Staff there tell me that they were told the fireplace had to be turned off “because of emissions.” American Airlines is literally the world’s largest airline, burning jet fuel all day, and they’ve turned off the fireplace to be sustainable?

The carrier tells me that “as we are in the warmer months of the year” except the policy change requiring the shut down of the fireplace seems to have gone into effect in September. American says, though, that they “will be turning on our fireplace once more during the cooler months of the year.”

Ultimately, virtue signaling over the environment shouldn’t take precedence over doing things that actually address environmental problems. American’s efforts working with Google using data for contrail avoidance is actually meaningful. Most of the environmental impact of flying comes from a small portion of trips and can be avoided by changes in altitude. United is investing in direct carbon capture. Environmental problems are real, and deserve serious solutions, not cosmetic changes or cost reductions using the environment as a fig leaf.

With the big investments that American is making in its new clubs (albeit fewer clubs than they should be, and more slowly) it’s a shame to undermine the experience with cuts so soon.

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. Why not also ban all cell phone charging in the lounge? It’s most likely run on coal fueled electricity. All beverages must be room temperature. Why do you need it cold anyway?

  2. We all know this has nothing to do with “the planet” and everything to do with saving a few bucks.

  3. I feel like Zhivago desperately collecting firewood to heat the Varykino house in Soviet Russia.

    For $800, I guess I have to put my own fireplace video on my laptop screen, while nibbling on, as you call it, the snack tower of sadness. Did they unplug the ice machine for the cold beverages? Is there no barista to customize my espresso beverage to extra hot? I’d rather wait in the broom closet that passes for the Amtrak Acela lounge. That’s the closest comp that I can think of….

  4. You’re correct that this a relatively small issue, but burning of fossil gas as a decorative feature is not a good look. And in warm months it creates the need for more air conditioning, which means more electricity use, which means more emissions. Call it virtue signaling if you want, but it’s still the right thing to do.

  5. You’re assigning meaning here with no basis so that you can attack a strawman. The word “emissions” has a much broader meaning than just carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere. It would certainly cover the fireplace emitting heat into the lounge causing patrons to complain that the lounge is too warm. Unlike your interpretation, that explanation would also be entirely consistent with American’s plan to turn the fireplace back on in the cooler months.

  6. You would THINK that since it was built in 2023, and the fact that it’s literally ONLY for “ambiance” anyways, that they would have designed it with “low emissions” anyways. Stupid reason to shut it off, especially after so many AA loyalists like myself haven’t got the chance to see it yet.

  7. John H,
    Some elderly corporate guys or gals who like the fireplaces at their private social clubs is who probably insisted on having an actual real live fire display inside an airport. Those people live in the past, in the glory days of AA when AA used B707s and almost everyone traveling for business smoked cigarettes or cigars .

  8. Why do so many people care about this one airport lounge fireplace in New Jersey? Y’all need to calm down.

  9. I see that there is not a need for a fireplace in the summertime but why have a fireplace as a center piece or focal point in a lounge if it is not used? I really don’t think that the Airline is turning it off due to emissions because newer gas fireplaces burn pretty cleanly. I just think that that AA turned it off because it was the logical thing to do during a hot summer.

  10. @BigTee Dr. Zhivago was collecting firewood in Moscow, not Varykino. He was apprehended by his half-brother who realized Zhivago would not survive what was coming in the city, and arranged train passage to the Urals.

  11. This is a perfect example of virtue-signaling woke madness. The Left has truly lost their mind — and it doesn’t help that posturing Bud-like companies like American are aiding and abetting the nonsense. It’s time for the grown ups to take the wheel and put the children in the backseat where they belong.

  12. @I Told You So—oh my! Left madness, virtue signaling, and of course throw *woke* in there too as if has any meaning anymore. You idiot… who almost shut down the government? Who is trying to impeach the President with absolutely NO evidence of anything? STFU you rapid moron.

  13. @Robert What I love about Robert is the complete irony of his comments. He validates EVERYTHING I say without even having the self-awareness to realize it!

    P.S. Read the news, Robert. Socialist Congressman from New York City (Jamaal Bowman) was caught on camera by the Capitol Police pulling a fire alarm today. He was trying to stop Congress from voting in support of GOP bill to keep the federal government open. Sounds like insurrection to me!

  14. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t. If they didn’t turn off the fireplace you’d be whining about that.
    Sure it’s not a lot on its own, especially compared to all the jet fuel used, but isn’t it better to still use a little less?
    It’s like Macdonald’s and diet coke… of course if you’re already eating a greasy high calorie meal it’s better to drink diet coke than add a bunch of sugar.

  15. Companies these days are getting caught up in political and sensitive issues.
    There’s the transgender issue, there’s cancel culture issue, there’s the smoke issue, and among others, there’s the climate change issue.
    This is nothing more than a company making a statement in the climate issue.

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