My Favorite Airport Club In The United States

For those of you who follow multiple travel blogs, I bet you think this is a post about one of the new American Express lounges?

Nope.  But, you can find plenty of reviews of those at View From The Wing, here, here and here.  And, he’s not wrong when he says they’re great lounges.  If you’re looking for reviews on what most folks will find the best, that’s where to look.

I’m a different sort of bird.  For my business travel, I generally don’t drink alcohol.  I’m usually flying to a meeting and that’s not a good way to start things for me.  On the way home, I’m usually catching up on e-mail.  And, frankly, as I’ve gotten older, drinking and working just don’t mix as well as when I was in my 20s.

Food’s great in a lounge, but not my primary focus either.  I usually carry healthy snacks in my bag and am pretty self-reliant, especially given the food United Airlines calls dinner in first class!

For me, a lounge is a place to wait out delays, catch up on e-mail and relax.  That means most lounges will do just fine.

My favorite lounge will surprise a bunch of folks.  It’s the Admirals Club in Terminal A at DFW.  A whole bunch of people just decided to stop reading this post.  It’s not the newest club, nor the most spacious.

But, the reason it’s still top on my list is because of the showers.  There was a time when I used to travel to Las Vegas very frequently.  The lounge at Terminal A actually caused me to book my flights differently.  Instead of booking the normal connecting flight, I would book the next flight out of DFW to LAS, giving myself about a 2-hour layover.  Why?

The Terminal A lounge has a small workout room and I was horrendously out of shape.  I would hop off my flight at about 8am, head to the lounge for a 30-minute workout and then jump in the shower before heading back out to my flight, arriving in plenty of time to have a full day of meetings in Las Vegas, where things tended to run a bit later in the day.

Favorite club

The workout room is the only one I can recall ever seeing and the equipment is now at least 6 years old (likely older), which likely means it will disappear and turn into a broom closet someday, a relic of a different time.

And I came to discover what I still find to be the best shower I’ve ever had in an airport.  Now, we’re just talking the shower.  Not the amenities, massages, champagne, quality of towels or any other elements.

The showers there were built in a different time.  They’re walk-in showers, approximately 4 feet wide by 5 or 6 feet long, marble from floor to ceiling.  They sport a gigantic rain shower head with some of the best water pressure I’ve ever felt.

Favorite club

That alone wouldn’t make it the best shower.  But, 2 walls of body jets make the experience even better.

Favorite club

Favorite club

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There are plenty of adequate showers in US clubs.  American has good ones in LAX, below average in JFK and elsewhere.  I can’t actually recall a shower I’ve taken in a United Airlines club.  I have yet to encounter a better shower anywhere, and that includes airports like Heathrow and Frankfurt.  I’m not saying one doesn’t exist, but I haven’t seen it yet.

There are plenty of folks that will either disagree with me or stopped reading a few paragraphs ago, thinking I’m nuts.  But, I’m a simple guy in some respects.  I enjoy writing about the things I enjoy.  And, sometimes something as simple as a phenomenal shower is enough to make a long travel day a bit more tolerable.

 

20 Comments

  1. It is true that showers are a dying breed in clubs in the US
    The best ones are in the FCL and FCT at FRA.
    A REAL rain forest.
    The next best were in Terminal 4 at LHR

    1. ffi, I like the showers at the FCT at FRA, but I’ll take the water pressure at DFW. I haven’t done T4 at LHR, just T3 and T5.

  2. As soon as I saw the shower I knew where you were going! I used to loved getting off a flight from FRA and heading over there. 30 minutes on the bike followed by a great shower and I was as good as new!

  3. This club also has the room which used to be a Flagship Lounge, and which pretty much no one ever uses. When you walk out of the elevators, it is directly on your left. If you walk forward to the agents when you get out of the elevators, it is directly behind you. Very good quiet space..

    1. Great quiet space, I agree. And, as you walk back out of the space towards the desk, there’s a small light in the ceiling above your head. When it’s blue, it means the ramp is closed.

  4. Lol.. You must be one sweaty SOB that needs a shower in DFW after an at the most 3 hour flight. I guess you have to fill your connection time in Dallas with something as the airline you luv luv luv are delayed on more than 1/3 of their flights. 😛

    Showers make sense when you’re doing intercontinental flights. I have had showers available to me in airport lounges in the US for years and I have used the showers domestically once. It was at the ORD club and I just came in from Europe on your favorite airline who (you guessed it) was delayed so I didn’t have time to go home before heading to the west coast. I’m sure glad they had the showers, but I’d rather have free pop, beer/wine and booze, bottled water and something to eat as I’d use that a lot more.

    Put hey, glad both you and Gary are praising the wonderful Admirals Clubs, it’s great feedback for your hard working friends in Dallas. One of you loves the Bloody Mary’s that’s made with McCormick Vodka that costs 7.99 for a handle, the other loves the awesome water pressure.

    Yeah, it sure makes the Admirals Clubs world class lounges. :rolleyes:

    1. Never said it was world class. Only commented on the showers and exercise equipment. But, we know we won’t see you near the exercise equipment anytime soon. 😉

  5. Hey, I sat in the couch next to Melinda’s treadmill last night! 😉

    Your headline said favorite lounge in the US. It was worth a comment as you obviously have not visited many many lounges here in the US or you forgot to take of your blinded by AA glasses on you before you put on your blinded by Hyatt glasses 😛

    1. You may want to re-read the post. While food & beverage may be important to you (and many others), it’s not to me. The club in A has a ton of desks to work at, exercise equipment and showers, all things I value more than others. As the post says, my favorite. Not anyone else’s.

      1. Pretty sure Tommy didn’t actually read the post where you explained WHY you value the shower — not because you’ve flown for 3 hours, but for after a workout. But hey, whatever.

        And I’ll take a Bloody Mary from Johne in the DCA Admirals Club over the cocktails at most of the better lounges in the world. Which isn’t to say that the AA clubs are better or even at world standard. Although the agents in the DCA club have certainly saved my butt many times.

        1. It’s all about priorities, absolutely. And preferences. Some like to make their own Bloody Mary that doesn’t contain moonshine. (Gary, I’ll remember next time I send you a bottle that it doesn’t matter what’s in it ;))

          And someone likes to stay at home longer rather than to connect and get delayed in Dallas.

          Regarding this post:

          #1 AA

          0630AM departure from IAD, arrive at 845AM in to DFW, connect to the 1130 to Vegas (or the 1020 if you scrub your ass a little quicker in the shower) and get in to Vegas at 1110 or 1220.

          #2 United.

          Sleep in and work out for 30 minutes at your house, (which I’m sure has better equipment than the junk I see in the picture) Get on United at 805AM and get in to Vegas at 1005AM ready to do business at least an hour earlier with at least one valuable hour of extra sleep.

          If you’re going to connect, from a non hub city, I’d go with Delta. The only thing AA has left is a decent FFP. You have both been awfully wrong and very gentle with AA and the merger process this far, but I’m quite confident that before I carve the turkey next Thanksgiving, the differences between Delta and Uniteds FFP will be very small and American is already worst in absolutely everything else

          1. As you say, preferences. I actually prefer to work out and shower a bit later in the morning. It actually helps me reset my body clock a bit since I normally have very full days when I travel to the West Coast. That certainly makes me an edge case. But, hey, it is my blog and my experiences.

            I’m okay being “awfully wrong” about the merger thus far, since they haven’t messed up my account, grounded a bunch of planes or treated me like a second class citizen, nor have they passed through a massive devaluation of their program or moved towards a revenue-based program.

            That makes them the best of the 3 for me. Next Thanksgiving is 432 years in airline years and they very well may not be the best of the 3 by then (or be the worst). But, I don’t see any reason to preemptively go fly with an airline that treats me worse today.

  6. I typically fly some of the longest hauls like IAH-DFW-SYD-PER so on a typical trip I’m hoping for two showers along the way. I agree DFW Terminal A. Terminal D is ok too. The QF showers in SYD, MEL, and BNE all need updating IMHO. The CX showers in HKG are great if I’m going that way. The AA showers at NRT are pretty awesome if you ask me.

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