DFW Airport’s Plans for New American Airlines First Class Lounge and Shared Premium Lounge

Last weekend I shared the rumor that American is going to build a new Flagship first class lounge at DFW airport in terminal D. I also mentioned that the airport has had plans for a new shared premium lounge.

I believe that I can now confirm both of those things are at least in the planning stages, they aren’t just rumors. According to an airport spokesperson,

[T]he new premium lounge in terminal D is still under development… The premium lounge does remain very separate and distinct from the AA Flagship lounge in terminal D.”

Regarding the premium lounge, I wrote a week ago,

DFW airport has been looking to bring a premium experience lounge to the D terminal. The plan was to consolidate the independent lounges hosting several carriers in the terminal, build a new premium lounge, and even co-brand with a hotel possibly to run it. The most recent action taken, that I can see from the airport website, is increasing the contract ceiling for consulting services to the firm advising them on the project back in March (from $1.2 million to $1.24 million, having at that point spent $1.138mm).

Here’s a .pdf of the plan that DFW airport was shopping at the beginning of the year. Ignore the November 2015 projected opening date, it doesn’t appear to me to be on track for that. Indeed, the airport spokesperson writes to me, “I do not have any time frame at this time regarding the progress of the premium lounge…”

DFW airport, though, believes the lounge experience for international carriers operating out of terminal D is quite poor.

Their surveys suggest that passengers agree.

The Club at DFW, which can be accessed by Priority Pass members, serves as an independent lounge and also as the lounge for several of the foreign airlines operating out of terminal D. There are separate rooms for each of British Airways, Qantas, Korean Air, and Lufthansa.

Those rooms are fairly small. The idea is to consolidate the lounge operations at gate D21 into a single premium lounge that would be about twice as large as the DFW Centurion lounge.

I haven’t heard anything about the airport’s desire for a hotel partner to brand and run the lounge.

Meanwhile, American used to have a first class lounge in the A terminal. But when the D terminal opened as the new international terminal in 2005, American opened an Admirals Club but not a Flagship lounge.

As American has moved away from international first class (and indeed, first class onboard their Boeing 777-300ERs isn’t that much better than their business class which is very good) it seems strange that they would open a first class lounge. But perhaps it’s a signal and response to the competition.

I haven’t seen a lease for new space yet, or construction plans, so this isn’t done. And everything involving airports gets complicated. But the airport, at least, things the new Flagship lounge is in the pipeline. Where is stands with contracting, including with American’s capital committee, let alone construction is another matter. But I’ll certainly be checking board and concessions committee actions to learn more.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Perhaps AA sees a revenue opportunity with a high number of partner Emeralds and/or F pax, plus OAL premium (carrier pay-per-visit) traffic through D that a Flagship lounge now makes sense?

  2. I avoid DFW when flying First Class international because of crowded Admiral Clubs and sub par offerings in food and beverage
    I hate having to pay for a sparkling water
    I get it if I’m flying coach
    DFW is simply not a premium experience so I fly out of other airports and with other carriers
    This may help Americans position if they do it right but usually they mess it up!

  3. So… Is the rumored first class lounge in the now defunct smoking room at terminal D’s Admiral club already open? Could any readers who visited it share the experience?

  4. 1) Thwre are quite a few EXP’s flying Business, OW connectors flat flew First on BA or Qantas and (pure speculation) that Qatar would like its Business Class connectors to have a better experience, even if they have to pay up to make it happen.

    2) The Centurion Lounge changed the math at DFW. I’ve heard it while in both clubs that the AMEX club shames the Term D Admirals Club. And it’s true.

    3) DFW desperately needs an arrivals lounge, a la Heathrow. Or a better shower experience in the Admirals Club.

    As a DFW home airporter, I’m in Term D pretty constantly. If I can avoid it, I never use the shared lounge or Admitals Club.

    I’m bidding on a spot in Term D for a restaurant as part of the remodel. All of this is a good ways’ off. Probably late 16 at the earliest.

  5. Was in their “premium lounge” in D on our way to REK in August. The only positive was that it wasn’t crowded. It’s old, tattered and in need of a gut remodel. It doesn’t compare to the AAdmiral’s Clubs in other terminals at the airport, which have all been remodeled. What was once the AAdmiral’s Club in D is now the shared premium lounge, but as an AA passenger, one cannot use the shared lounge. Also, the Centurion lounge is D is closed, so no other option. Pretty sad…

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