American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago O’Hare Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-200 Chicago To Beijing
W Hotel Beijing Chang’an
Cathay Pacific & Dragonair Lounge Beijing Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-200 Beijing To Chicago
Our flight from Washington DC landed at around 2PM, while our connection to Beijing was at 5:20PM. So upon landing we headed towards the Flagship Lounge, which is located at the far end of the “K” concourse, across from gate K19. While a lot of international flights leave from that area, it can be a bit of a haul from other parts of the concourse.
At the end of the concourse the door to the Flagship Lounge is located on the right, across from the elevator to the crew room.
The agent that checked us in was extremely friendly, as I find to be the norm for the Chicago Flagship Lounge agents. They’re one of the only redeeming qualities of this lounge.
Do keep in mind that the Flagship Lounge is available both to customers traveling in international first class on oneworld, as well as oneworld Emerald members. That means Executive Platinum members traveling internationally (even in economy or business class) automatically get access to the lounge, which makes it a bit more crowded than your average first class lounge. Furthermore, non-American AAdvantage oneworld Emerald members get Flagship Lounge access even when traveling domestically.
The lounge itself isn’t very big, though uses partitions pretty well to make the lounge feel more private and spacious.
There’s nothing “first class” about the seating, and if anything the lounge is overly furnished, as the seats are all very close to one another.
In the back corner of the lounge is a “quiet room” (the former smoking lounge, eons ago), as well as a business center with several PCs.
Then in the very back of the lounge is the buffet area. The right side of the buffet has drinks, primarily, while the left side has food.
The right side has the typical Admirals Club snack mix “towers.”
Then there’s a Nescafe cappuccino machine.
And an open bar with liquor, beer, wine, etc.
In terms of the food spread, it’s not a meal substitute, but is substantially better than in the Admirals Club. They have an “afternoon tea” setup of sorts, with small cakes and fruit.
Then they had a “make your own French onion soup” setup, which sounded good in theory, but just wasn’t.
Then there was a small selection of sushi, veggies, finger sandwiches, hummus, etc.
Then some cold cuts and cheese.
And some shrimp and whole fruit.
Wifi in the lounge was reasonably fast. The lounge has bathrooms with one stall each, though there are no showers in the Flagship Lounge. That’s a big downside, since the Admirals Club has decent showers, though is about a five minute walk away.
One good thing about the location of the lounge is that it has a back door, through which you can directly access gates K16 and K18. The flight to Beijing was leaving from gate K16, so that was convenient. At around 4:30PM we decided to head through the back door to gate K16.
Our 777 featured the “new” American livery.
The gate area didn’t feel that crowded until around 4:40PM, at which point everyone seemed to queue up for boarding.
That’s problematic at gate K16, give that it’s narrow, due to the podium being immediately in “front of” the jet bridge entrance.
American Flagship Lounge Chicago bottom line
The Flagship Lounge Chicago could use a refresh. It’s also a fairly small space, especially given how many people have access to it, thanks to how generous oneworld lounge access policies are for elite members.
Ultimately the lounge is a step up over the Admirals Club in terms of food and drinks, though that’s about the only good thing I can say about the lounge. The fact that it doesn’t have showers is disappointing, so when I’m in need of a shower I often just skip the Flagship Lounge altogether, and use the Admirals Club instead.
In terms of American’s US Flagship Lounges, I think the one in Los Angeles is my favorite, followed by the one in New York. The one in Chicago ranks last for me, personally.
If you’ve visited the American Flagship Lounge Chicago, what was your experience like?