Today I got to visit two American Airlines’ Flagship Lounges in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
I almost forgot I had access to the Admirals Club & Flagship Lounge in LAX because my First Class ticket from LAX to ORD is a non-transcontinental flight on an A321 two-cabin aircraft (no lie-flat seats).AA Flagship Lounges are generally only accessible for First Class Passengers on International flights and Transcontinental flights marketed by AA (LAX-JFK, LAX-MIA, JFK-SFO routes).
Even if you have the highest elite status with American Airlines (Executive Platinum or OneWorld Emerald) and if you’re flying first class domestic you don’t get automatic access to these lounges.
AA Flagship Lounge in LAX
Since I have a connecting International First Class ticket (the staff calls it ‘across the ocean’ ticket) I actually have access to both Flagship Lounges when I thought I could only access the one in Chicago ORD. Believe it or not I already sat at the waiting lounge by the gate when I realized this so I walked back to go to the Admirals Club.
AA Admirals Club & Flagship Lounge Entrance at LAX
AA Flagship Lounge has the same entrance as Admirals Club but you are given a keycard at reception to get access to the Flagship Lounge inside the Admirals Club.
As I walked past the Admirals Club, it was about 5.00am and it was already really busy – almost full I must say. But as I entered the Flagship Lounge using the special keycard, there were barely anyone in there, I could only see 3 other passengers in the Lounge and it did feel a lot more exclusive than the Admirals Club even though the look and feel of the lounge is very similar.
What was nice about this lounge, other than it was peaceful, was the complete hot food selection that was not offered in the Admirals Club.
Full buffet at LAX AA Flagship Lounge
Because my flight was about to board soon, I only spent about 20 minutes in the lounge for a quick breakfast before heading to my departure gate.
AA Flagship Lounge in Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Chicago being a major hub for American Airlines has 2 Admirals Club located in Concourse G and Concourse H/K, both in Terminal 3. Access to Admirals Club are for paying members, Citi / AAdvantage Executive Cardholders, Citi Prestige Cardholders, AirPass Members, Executive Platinum and OneWorld Emerald members, International First / Business Class passengers and Domestic First / Business Class passengers on selected flights.
Full info can be found here.
My layover in Chicago was over 4 hours so I did get a chance to have a quick visit to the Admirals Club in Concourse G (just because I’m curious) and it was surprisingly quite nice, bright and spacious. I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures but it was definitely much bigger and nicer than the one in LAX.
AA Flagship Lounge is located right next to Gate K19, it was convenient because my departure gate to Rome was at K15. This flagship lounge on the other hand allows access for Executive Platinum or OneWorld Emerald members even when they are traveling domestic or in economy/business, unlike in LAX.
AA Flagship Lounge Chicago Entryway
As I arrived, it felt quite exclusive because there was only a handful of people in the lounge but it filled up quite quickly afterwards and I couldn’t get a seat next to the window overlooking the tarmac.
So I settled in one of the sofas and later on moved into one of the working desks to catch up on some work.
The food selection was not that great, I did some tastings here and there and it was not exactly memorable. The buffet does have an open bar where you can help yourself with various hot / cold beverages, alcohol and hard liquor.
If you’re hoping to have a shower before or after a flight, the shower rooms are only available at the Admirals Club and not in the Flagship Lounge which is a let down for an international (First Class) lounge standard.
Overall, while it is always great to have lounge access especially to the top tier lounges, I was not very impressed with the look of any AA Lounges because other than the exclusive access, free wifi, complimentary all you can eat food and dedicated customer service (who can help you with any flight changes or enquiries), the entire experience and atmosphere is nothing but ordinary.
AA does mention they are in the process of doing a major renovation to their airport lounges so I’m really looking forward to see the end result and hopefully it will compete with the luxurious International Lounges such as the ones in Singapore, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and the Middle East.
Do you have a favorite airport lounge?