American Airlines has a major announcement for premium passengers this morning, which includes those of us who like using our miles for those comfy lie-flat seats to far away destinations. Here’s what’s coming soon:
- A new Flagship lounge in Philadelphia and Miami
- The re-introduction of a Flagship lounge in DFW
- Flagship Dining at JFK, DFW, LAX and Miami
- New Admirals Club lounges in Orlando and Houston-George Bush(IAH)
View From the Wing broke the news this morning and there’s plenty of elements to consider here for travelers.
For starters, American Airlines really becomes the first domestic US airline to offer full-service dining for premium passengers. British Airways, Lufthansa and the Middle East carriers are some of the airlines that already offer this service and some even offer it in the US. British Airways comes to mind in a number of US cities including Philadelphia (more on that in a bit).
All Business and First class customers traveling on the trans-continental routes from JFK and LAX as well as flights to Europe, Asia and South America will have access to the new Flagship lounge experience. This marks a dramatic improvement for premium passengers, though I’ll be curious to see how American handles this at certain airports. While the LAX lounge used to be pretty quiet, they’re adding flights to places like Australia and New Zealand, which will certainly make things more crowded. And, the JFK Flagship lounge is already pretty packed in the evenings with probably less than 100 total seats. The renderings of the new Flagship lounge sure do look nice.
I like the addition of lounges at IAH and MCO. I’ve flown to Orlando to visit Mickey with the family enough that a lounge would have come in handy (though the United lounge there has never really been overflowing). After closing lounges like the one at my home airport Washington Dulles during bankruptcy, I’m glad to see that the return to profitability includes this expansion of the Admirals Club network. On a weekly basis, I use the Admirals Clubs much more than Flagship lounges.
The addition of a Flagship lounge in Philadelphia is an interesting one. I’ll be curious to see if this is an additional lounge or they carve space out of an existing old US Airways lounge. To me, this solidifies a bit more the likelihood that Philadelphia will remain a hub in the new American Airlines. There’s already a very nice British Airways lounge that premium passengers on AA flights can use, complete with table service and a pretty decent menu. That makes the commitment to a Flagship lounge here a more visible commitment to the long-haul traffic that currently exists. I’d be thrilled if they increased the international options ex-PHL as I’ve traditionally seen good business class availability on the existing routes overseas.
I’m also glad to see American dressing up the Arrivals lounge in Heathrow. I was there a few years ago and it was fine, but tired.
Airlines are adding perks as profitability improves, investing in core product. That’s a smart way to conduct business, making sure you invest while you can in the hopes of keeping customers with a great product when the economy inevitably turns sour again and it’s no longer the fashionable thing to spend money on customers. I can see Delta making a move to match American here since they’ve already worked to substantially improve their lounges. United has a handful of Global First lounges in the US (Dulles, Chicago and SFO iirc) but access is more restricted. And, the Dulles Global First lounge was pretty tired the last time I was in there.
This is all good news today for American Airlines customers, more opportunities to experience an upgraded level of pampering when we’re cashing in miles for a Business or First class award.
The post American Airlines Going BIG On Flagship Lounge Upgrades & Expansion was published first on Pizza in Motion.