Starting Tuesday, September 14 American Airlines will sell access to its business class Flagship Lounges to any passengers flying an American Airlines or oneworld flight for $150 per person. This will even be available to domestic passengers. This fee is per visit not per day, so a passenger connecting through multiple cities with Flagship lounges on the same day can’t visit them all for this price.
News: Starting tomorrow, AA is opening its premium Flagship Lounges to everyone with a new $150 single-visit pass. This isn’t just a pandemic cash-grab — it’s “permanent,” @AmericanAir tells me exclusively. More details coming!
— Zach Griff (@_ZachGriff) September 13, 2021
Flagship Lounges Start Re-Opening This Week
American’s New York JFK lounge is first to re-open on Tuesday with Flagship First Dining there following on Thursday. Miami’s Flagship lounge opens September 28 with Flagship First Dining following two days later.
Flagship lounges at LAX, Dallas – Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare will still open “later this fall.” The good news is that American now says LAX Flagship Dining is expected to re-open, though “not until 2022.”
American Airlines Flagship Lounge LAX
American Airlines Flagship Lounge Pre-Pandemic Buffet New York JFK
Premium Lounge Upsales Were Tested Pre-Pandemic
Selling access to these lounges is not new. American began to offer paid access as part of a premium bundle with their Five Star airport concierge service. What’s new is offering unbundled access to Flagship lounge walk-ins.
Just before the pandemic American ran a test selling access to Flagship First Dining to Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members for $150, and then even dropped the price to $100. That’s all within the realm of being worth it since the Dining element (including premium drinks and champagne) is a very upscale product and in some sense was being offered too cheaply for those willing to drink their weight in Krug. This new pay-in option is for Flagship lounge only, however, and not for Flagship first class dining.
How Flagship Lounge And Dining Access Normally Works For Premium Passengers And Elites
It’ll be interesting to see how this leads to crowding – or not, for awhile, since international business class travel remains so limited. Currently access to Flagship lounges is available to:
- Business and first class passengers flying on a oneworld airline to Asia; Australia or New Zealand; Europe; South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela) as well as business and first class passengers flying premium transcon routes (New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco and certain Miami and Boston – Los Angeles flights as well as New York JFK – Orange County).
- Business class passengers on long haul Hawaii flights
- American Platinum members and above and Alaska MVP Gold members and above who are flying to one of these eligible destinations on a oneworld airline.
- oneworld sapphire and emerald members in programs other than American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan who are flying on any oneworld flight (including American and Alaska domestic flights)
- ConciergeKey members flying on a oneworld airline, including American and Alaska domestic
Flagship First Dining access is limited to:
- Three-cabin first class passengers flying American Airlines to Asia; Australia; Europe; or South America or flying between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco
- Historically, to oneworld partners who have paid for access (such as British Airways for their first class passengers in some locations) and to Concierge Key members who have been given a limited number of passes, as well as to those offered a buy-in option or who purchased access through American’s Five Star premium ground service
Now broader pay-in passengers will supplement those with access via paid travel.