Non-Members Turn Overcrowded American Airlines Admirals Club Into A Bedroom

There’s a secret spot in the Austin airport that two travelers found for a sleep – the American Airlines Admirals Club, and you don’t actually have to be a member.

The American Airlines Admirals Club in Austin gets very crowded. It’s a small space that wasn’t big enough for peak travel days a decade ago, even before British Airways began service and filling up the lounge with a large business class cabin each evening. And while American has pulled back from its pandemic service buildup peak, they’re still operating substantially more flights than they were five years ago.

Two and a half years ago American announced a new club for Austin, but construction never started. Instead they shifted plans to open a new club in the “West Infill” space whose shell is current under construction. My understanding is that this will be a smaller club and they will keep today’s lounge space as well.

Every possible space inside has converted to seating, and the entryway to the club is now seating, too. It was once mini-golf. What’s strange is that it is a seating area before you reach club reception to show you’re eligible to be there. The area around reception is packed with seats, too.

Since you can, essentially, use the old mini-golf area as lounge seating whether you’re a club member or not naturally some passengers are going to take things a step further.

Here’s two passengers, luggage up on the seats, themselves lying down on the floor – fast asleep. Storms in Dallas wreaked havoc on the airline’s schedule, and many passengers were stranded for hours. I guess this is one way to find a quiet spot to rest.

The great thing about the Admirals Club in Austin is the agents. They work miracles with passenger itineraries, especially during irregular operations. They were busy on Tuesday, and unfortunately I witnessed one passenger treating an agent there very badly. That passenger was frustrated, the agents were as apologetic as could be and doing everything they could. And the delays just were not their fault. They also were certainly not in a position to police people sleeping on the floor, out of their eyesight, when they couldn’t leave their desk.

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. If it’s outside the entrance, it’s first come, first served. Taking the chairs away doesn’t solve anything.
    I’m sure there were plenty during the storm looking for a place to crash. I bet the club looked like an LA street corner encampment, luggage included.
    My hat’s off to the two individuals, thinking out of the box!!! Shows motivation and problem solving.
    That’s very rare in America!!

  2. Well at least all AA clubs still have agents able to assist, unlike DL which has replaced agent desks at some SkyClubs so they can cram in a few more seats. Perhaps it’s time to shine a light on that DL ‘premium’ nonsense too?

  3. I visited the Admirals Club in DFW, Terminal C, a few weeks ago. There were storms that caused delays, but it was a pretty sad club – seemed like something out of the early 1990s, with way too much cubicle style seating given the large numbers of people milling about in the club. The decor in this club looks similar from what I can gather. American’s newer clubs (LGA, DCA), are *ok*… But I really hope new management decides to truly reinvest in their clubs.

  4. Kind of selfish, honestly- unless you are stuck overnight (and there is a hotel at the airport so not sure why not able to go there), why take up 6 seats by laying on the floor? I can’t even imagine how it occurred to these folks to even go to the AA lounge if they weren’t members given it is upstairs (literal stairs) or by use of an elevator, e.g. not on the main floor and easily found/stumbled upon.

  5. @Lara S
    My thought exactly what a dick move by occupying seats with their suitcases.

    I’d move them away and sit down one of those.

  6. How do non members go into the Admiral Lounge? You can’t even get in there unless you have an AA boarding pass as a member paying $595/yr for the AA Advantage Elite card.

  7. Stupid non-members, amirite? Why, some Very Important Person might have been temporarily inconvenienced before they showed their Uranium Delta Amex For Very Rich and Important Persons and were allowed into the lounge for a massage and a blowjob.

    GTFO here with this non-story. It’s not INSIDE THE BLOODY LOUNGE, therefore it’s open seating for all. Or does OP think that all poors should be standing overnight if their flight gets disrupted?

  8. I’m still bitter the DFW Admirals club gave me food poisoning on the way to Mexico. I’ve never expected much from the lounges, which are the sort of places I’d go well out of my way to avoid if I weren’t stuck in an Airport, but I do expect them not to make me very sick.

    So much for that minor expectation. It tells us a lot about back of the house in the Admirals club I think. Front of the house is already the level of a mediocre holiday inn.

    I don’t understand why people are interested in these dreadful clubs. As one with access.

  9. I wamt the name and address of every commentator here! I am suing alll of them for ” sleep shaming”. This is USA..we can do what we want when we want wherever we want..we are nit quite reserved respectful Asians..we arw AMERICANS!!!

  10. Oh, wow, and look at all the other seats filled with members, and the crowd of people, mostly elderly folk and/or pregnant women, desperately begging those inconsiderate slobs to ‘please, please let me have my rightful place in the seat of the public antechamber of the Admirals Club!’.

    Once I got inside, the Romaine was slightly wilted, and I saw someone stuff a half-eaten croissant into their purse. Another day in hell!

  11. Mr. Tom Bodett of Motel 6, an Accor company, said, “We’ll leave the light on for You.” I wonder if the American Airlines Admirals Club’s marketing strategy is to attract more non-member squatters by adding seats and comfortable sleeping spaces to cater to the unwashed masses of common passengers attracted to flying on low-cost carriers.

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