New American Airlines Fare Type Comes With Sit Down Dining

American Airlines now sells ‘Business Plus’ fares that include Flagship check-in, Flagship First Dining access (currently only available at New York JFK, Miami and Dallas Fort-Worth) and a third checked bag.

View it as bundling Flagship First Dining into the fare, but beware this is useful only at a limited number of airports. My recent visit at New York JFK was wonderful and worth a modest premium.

American doesn’t plan to offer these fares on routes served by Boeing 777-300ER or Airbus A321T aircraft – which have actual first class cabins. This fare type is a buy up option for planes where business class is the top cabin, offering some of the perks of first class.

In a statement to The Points Guy, American Airlines offered,

We are pleased to offer customers a new way to access American’s Flagship premium travel experience. With Flagship Business Plus, customers can enjoy Flagship First Check-In, receive a taste of our Flagship First Dining and relax in our Flagship Lounge prior to their departure. Flagship Business Plus also provides a third complimentary checked bag and access to the Arrivals Lounge at LHR.

Today, Flagship Business Plus is broadly available on and in third-party channels. We plan to enhance the offering in the future to provide additional value to customers, which would require NDC technology to access and book Flagship Business Plus.

Note that American confirms to me that “customers with regular business fares will continue to have access to the Arrivals Lounge at LHR. No change.” so it doesn’t seem as though Arrivals Lounge access at London Heathrow should be touted as a benefit of these premium business fares.

In my view this could be worth a couple hundred extra bucks to some customers, but American may be banking on it as a choice for customers traveling on other peoples’ money – they’re still buying a business class fare (staying within policy), and getting to enjoy the extra perks.

When the fare type accidentally leaked in January I offered that it could be used “as an upsell opportunity” and “could come bundled with some premium services like Flagship first class check-in.” What this says for the future of first class at the airline remains unclear.

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. Couldn’t the airline save some money by replacing the dinner on relatively short long-haul flights with a sit-down dinner in the lounge before the flight?

  2. Flagship First Dining remains the best domestic airport lounge experience out there, IMO. Worth buying a J ticket to the west coast and using a SWU or BXP cert to upgrade to first. Flying business back is fine as I’m often on a red eye and there is no FFD at LAX anymore.

    @FNT – some customers prefer that when it is an option, like JFK to LHR, or flying BA F from PHL to LHR. Though AA’s FFD is better, in my opinion. Better than Qantas F sit down in my opinion. I think most/all BA lounges offer it for F. I’m not sure it is a money saver for the airlines – they probably have to cater the same for onboard, just to be safe. They might save money if they could get all their J/F passengers to eat on the ground, but that is never going to happen. But that is just shifting costs. Airlines offer it to differentiate the true F passengers from the J passenger who gets to use the F lounge (like I do w/ the Qantas F lounge in LAX.)

  3. Errrrrr …..are you not having ‘sit down dining’ when you have what passes as a meal in-flight?

  4. Tried Flagship dining at DFW last week

    The food is decent and all but how often am I at the airport with enough time to eat well

    Would rather they put $$ into better wine / liquor and better buffet offering than the whole sit and wait for a meal at a table with no outlets. Something like Concorde room.

    Plenty of time on the plane to eat and that should be upgraded so people pressed for time can have a good meal / experience

  5. Gary, I’ve been to first class dining twice in NYC and neither time was it as good as. $100 spent at literally scores of restaurants in NYC.(let alone $250 at a top tier place).

    If it was a restaurant, I wouldn’t have went back. Good use of a BXP1 is about it.

    The only advantage is that you can beat the rush hour and have a meal. But you cold also tske a 10pm flight up LAX and deat better.

    Not due it’s better than an Eggplsnt or Chicken parm hero from Parm or a pastrami sandwich from Katz’s.

  6. And at least the two times I had it, not nearly as good as Qantas F lounge in LAX, I see others disagree.

  7. Remember that FF Dining is AA’s international first class lounge (as well as transcon first class lounge) and is only available to AA customers (with unique exceptions) much like BA’s Concorde Room. But, it is nothing like the Concorde Room in terms of food or ambiance.

    As for FF Dining at JFK specifically, the food is decent but the ambiance is lacking. Of course, this all changes by December 1st, when BA moves into to Terminal 8 and the new merged lounge is purportedly very nice. At the same time, Delta will be rolling out Delta One Dining, which is akin to FF Dining. Delta’s new Sky Clubs are setting a high bar — its new Delta One Dining at JFK will most certainly set the bar higher. Indeed, this might be what’s driving AA with this new product. One can only hope that BA’s sensibilities will dominate AA’s low-cost mindset.

    But, then there’s FF Dining at LAX. In spite of sufficient customer headcount, it remains closed despite HQ’s statements saying it will re-open soon — the staff there say it is unlikely to ever reopen — promises not kept. Instead, FF passengers have access to the Flagship Lounge and eat from the buffet. When the Flagship Lounge at LAX is compared to Delta’s new Sky Club at LAX, Delta wins on both the food and ambiance. But, wait, there’s more . . . Delta One Dining is coming to LAX. AA needs to poop or get off the pot at LAX. (By the way, AA is losing about 30 to 50 pilots at LAX this year due to retirements.)

    In some respects, AA seems to be behind the Eight Ball when it comes to lounges (excluding the JFK T8 remodel).

    As for the Qantas first class lounge at LAX, the food is nice but it loses on the ambiance — it’s simply a large and unattractive (somewhat industrial) space.

  8. Busy business people want:
    * Good food on their 6+ hours flight
    * Bags returned fast at destination (travel by air isn’t over until bags are returned)

    As usual, American Airlines missed by a large margin: neither Flagship First Dining nor Flagship check-in delivers on either.

  9. Has anyone been able to find these fares on I’ve checked some non 77W routes out of JFK and can’t find any.

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