American Airlines To Restart Philadelphia Flagship Lounge Project

Before the pandemic American Airlines was about to start construction on a dedicated business class lounge in Philadelphia.

The airline has “Flagship lounges” in Miami, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles and has turned its New York JFK Flagship lounge into its business class Greenwich lounge shared with British Airways. London Heathrow, which was originally planned, was shelved. And Philadelphia has remained sidelined.

With American’s returning focus to Philadelphia, after having lost its partnership with JetBlue and vision for growth in New York, they’ve re-engaged on a Philadelphia Flagship lounge. However I do not currently expect the lounge to be complete for summer 2024.

In December 2019 American released renderings of its Philadelphia Flagship Lounge.

Credit: American Airlines

Credit: American Airlines

Credit: American Airlines

Flagship lounges are open to oneworld international business (and first) class passengers, to American’s Platinum elites and higher flying internationally, and to oneworld partner airline mid-tier elites — even when they’re just flying American domestically.

American closed its A-West Admirals Club on September 30, 2019. That’s left remaining clubs overburdened. Once Flagship opens, that will benefit not just passengers with access to it, but passengers who access Admirals Clubs as well. However with four years having passed, starting the process over is cumbersome. The airport itself exists across more than one jurisdiction. This space is in Delaware County and not even Philadelphia.

The airline, for its part, only offers that “We continue our commitment to offer customers a premium experience in the Philadelphia International Airport and will share more updates on the Flagship Lounge as they become available. Customers can continue to access the Admirals Club lounges in terminal’s A, B/C, and F.”

There are no Flagship lounge planned for American’s hubs at Charlotte, Phoenix, or Washington National.

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. Finally! PHX, CLT and DCA don’t need Flagship for the number of premium international passengers so this make total sense. Be interesting to see if DCA ever gets LHR service with an XLR and transcon service, then it would make sense to change. CLT while having internalation flights, might in the future get Flagship “lite” and PHX has a only one flight along with BA so just upgrading their lounges or adding a shared lounge with BA might make sense but that’s in the distant future.

  2. AA: I feel like we’ve forgotten something in PHL but can’t remember what. Hmmm…..

  3. It would be nice if they could bring back AT A MINIMUM complimentary premium drinks in their Admirals Clubs for qualifying international Flagship trips. Other airports where Flagship departures exist include BOS and RDU. Seems wild to me that someone traveling on a $5k ticket would have to pay for their drinks in the lounge preflight.

  4. Best wishes to PHL! I can’t tell you how many times during the pandemic that I flew OW partner QR to DOH because domestic destinations were closed or if open, no amenities. I recall, years ago, my travel agent always suggesting competively-priced flights out of PHL. I don’t recall ever flying in out, or through PHL. Maybe I did once; I guess PHL was not all that memorable. Philly was 19th out of the 20 busiest airports when it came to its customer satisfaction score in the Wall Street Journal’s 2022 airport rankings.

  5. Welcome news on the lounge – if AA knows what’s best for them, they’ll build the Flagship Lounge out as quickly as possible to accompany their new routes to Europe

    As a West Coast flyer, it’s nice to see an FL for potential layovers… but the thought of a transcon A321 flight makes me want to book away from PHL connections… if AA could send a morning Dreamliner to PHL from LAX, then we’d be talking!

  6. @Mike. AA spent (or seemed to have spent) sooooOOO much money on those new BA branded lounges in Terminal 8 at JFK. They always seem empty- albeit very nice on all three of them.
    Just seems the focus is off course. BA. then JetBlue (miss)…. bad money spent all around.

  7. By the time this project gets underway I think they’ll need to think about revamping the interior design as that looks like the old JFK flagship.

  8. They should get BA to chip in and consolidate the galleries lounge into it. Amex could then expand the centurion down into the galleries space

  9. Where is the facts that American is restarting this? Nothing in the article shows proof or comments that’s is being restarted. I see no comments from AA or other articles. Feels like click bait without facts.

  10. @Rob, the biggest lounge (Greenwich) was built prior to BA moving to T8. The lounge get busy in the evening with a lot of London and intl traffic.

  11. @joshua – I am telling you this is what is happening, based on conversations with employees at American familiar with the matter.

  12. I wonder when the new Austin Flagship lounge is being done. As I recall it was announced a long with PHL and another one .

  13. @Colby a new Admirals Club was announced in November 2021 but no work was done. I have written I expect a location swap into the new West Gate Expansion being built that is still 3 years away

  14. @sunviking82 writes “Be interesting to see if DCA ever gets LHR service with an XLR ”

    There’s no way DCA is ever getting LHR service in any possible foreseeable future 1) Would require preclearance at LHR, which has been loosely talked about but there’s no real movement towards 2) would require a perimeter slot exemption which is immensely political and unlikely to be given for an LHR flight over a domestic destination 3) I’m not sure – but is the DCA runway long enough to even allow a TATL departing flight?, such a flight is 1200+ miles longer than DCA-SFO.

  15. I just went through 2 admirals clubs flying first to cdmx. The DFW one was like a sad Holiday inn and gave me food poisoning. The Mexico City one was better but still utterly mediocre

    Frankly I can’t see setting foot in one again of any flavor I have no faith in American. I’d rather just go sit in a restaurant

  16. @sunviking82 says it will “Be interesting to see if DCA ever gets LHR service with an XLR”

    That not going to happen in any foreseeable future: 1) would require preclearance at Heathrow, which has been loosely discussed but there’s no real movement towards 2) would require a beyond-perimeter slot exemption – which is an immensely political process and would unlikely be given to an LHR flight over a domestic destination 3) I don’t know – but would the somewhat short DCA runway even allow a TATL flight? DCA-LHR is more than 1200 miles longer than DCA-SFO.

  17. Both AA and the Philly airport qualify as the biggest S##t s##w in airplane history. I speak as a Concierge Key member. Most fault lies with the city council who use the airport as an under-invested cash cow. Eg, two TSA gates for 6 terminals. For international TSA flyers departing terminal A, they have to go to Terminal C. Also, the business lounge is in Terminal B – a shlep of a walk to the gate. The lounge itself reminds me of Bucharest Romania circa 3 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  18. Hope the PHL change is not like CLT where they closed for 6 months and changed…..the kitchen!! They left the 3rd world bus depot lobby lounge intact. Kinda glad I have retired and don’t have to experience the traveling now which I really loved in the 80’s and 90’s. Even AA was good then.

  19. @Colby
    Wait what????? An AUSTIN Flagship Lounge you say? When was this announced? Are you certain of this? Skeptical here. I thought it’s just getting a new regular admirals club. This would be H-U-G-E

  20. @Roy Jones – stop it with the hyperbole. Terminal A-West and A-East, both have TSA checkpoints. Terminal B does as well. Terminal C is TSA-Pre only. Terminals D & E share a large checkpoint. Terminal F has its own checkpoint. It is not only 2 checkpoints for 6 terminals. It is 6 for 7 terminals. Granted, it sucks that Terminals A & F no longer have TSA-Pre – but that is not what you posted.

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