American continues to offer ‘Flagship Lounges’ or first class lounges in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York JFK, at London Heathrow.
There are no longer Flagship Lounges in Dallas or Miami. The Dallas lounge still has the dedicated room, just walk into the Admirals Club in the A terminal and when you get upstairs and come out of the elevator you are facing the desk with reservations agents. Turn completely around, because right behind you is the room that used to be the Flagship Lounge. Almost no one is ever in it, it has separate restrooms, it’s great for quiet and privacy even when the rest of the lounge is busy. In Miami the Flagship Lounge closed, and didn’t re-open.
My favorite flagship lounge is Los Angeles, I think the food offerings are pretty good and you frequently see Hollywood celebrities (you see them in the Admirals Club sometimes, too).
I like Chicago because of the staff there. Certain Admirals Clubs — especially Washington National and Austin — are staffed with really phenomenal people. Chicago is as well, with agents who welcome you and take great care of your reservation when things go wrong.
Heathrow is well-provisioned, but it’s also frequently super-busy, because American gives Flagship Lounge access to Executive Platinum (100,000 mile flyer) members when flying internationally. And all American Executive Platinums are flying internationally when they’re at Heathrow.
The one I like the least is JFK. It’s one large room that gets busy before the transatlantic and evening South America departures. The staff isn’t nearly as good as in Chicago. And the food isn’t as good as Los Angeles.
But it’s better than an Admirals Club because there is food and a self-serve bar as well. There are showers that it shares with the Admirals Club.
In 2012 I outlined the access rules for Flagship Lounges and reviewed the JFK lounge. At the time I mistakenly thought that American’s Concierge Key members got access.
I had access to these lounges whenever flying American domestically because I was a British Airways Executive Club Gold member, which I received when BA acquired British Midland. I was a bmi Gold member, and my BA Gold status lasted for 21 months. I no longer have that status, though I was soft-landed to BA Silver which does get me American Admirals Club access.
I also reviewed the JFK Flagship Lounge (and showers) back in March.
I found myself there last week enroute to Argentina. Back in March there was a business class fare for New York JFK – Buenos Aires that was pricing out for less than coach. I bought it, expecting that I’d be able to upgrade to first class using my systemwide upgrade certificates as an Executive Platinum. Space for the upgrades didn’t clear until a couple of weeks out for the outbound, and a couple of days out for the return, but they did clear.
When I arrived at the lounge, there was a line to get in (the entrance is shared with the Admirals Club).
The lounge is a big space with tables in a ‘dining room’, work spaces, and reasonably comfortable seating.
As I say, it gets busy when the international flights cluster. And it looks busier than it really is because staff don’t really clean up well after guests who have left.
There’s both hot food items, and cold. I was there this time during dinner service.
There’s soup as well.
And self-serve cocktails, plus soft drinks in refrigerators below the bar. The best thing perhaps is that there are bottles of water you can take, always good to be prepared to hydrate on the flight.
Bottom-line is that the American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK is perfectly serviceable. There’s food, drink, and showers. But it’s not a place you want to set aside extra time for, showing up early at the airport to visit.