A Look At American’s Makeshift International First Class Lounge At LAX

U.S. airlines are for the most part upping their game when it comes to lounges. United just opened their first Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare Airport, Delta recently opened a gorgeous new SkyClub at SeaTac Airport, etc.

American is also in the process of making some major changes to their lounges. In addition to refreshing many of their Admirals Clubs, American is also changing how Flagship Lounges work. Up until now Flagship Lounges have been accessible by international first class customers and oneworld Emerald members, while starting next year business class passengers will have access as well. When these new lounges are introduced, international first class customers will have access to special areas with restaurant-style dining.

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Rendering of American’s Flagship Dining concept

As you might expect, the footprint of many of these Flagship Lounges will be expanded significantly, given how many additional passengers will have access to them.

American’s lounge facilities at LAX, including the Flagship Lounge, are presently under renovation. As a result, the main Flagship Lounge (which I’ve reviewed before) is closed.

During this time American has set up a makeshift Flagship Lounge, which is being branded as the International First Class Lounge for the time being. I had the chance to visit it yesterday, so figured I’d share some quick thoughts. Again, this is just a temporary setup until the new Flagship Lounge opens in the summer of next year.

The temporary Flagship Lounge is located in the back part of the Admirals Club, so they’re taking the real estate away from the Admirals Club in order to operate this lounge. It seems that American has basically moved the furniture from the Flagship Lounge into this area.

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In addition to the main room, the lounge curves off to the side, where there’s additional seating.

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There are even some chairs with ottomans in the far corner of the lounge, though it’s a pretty tight setup.

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There’s a separate room with the buffet setup, almost like what you’d find in a hotel conference room.

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The breakfast spread is reasonably decent. My favorite thing is the ability to make your own yogurt parfaits, as they have yogurt, granola, and mixed berries. Yum.

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There’s also fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, salmon, pastries, whole fruit, etc.

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Then there are several hot options, including french toast, eggs, sausage, breakfast potatoes, etc.

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There’s also a fridge with self serve soft drinks. Kudos to them for having large glass bottles of San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, my favorite types of sparkling and still water (first world preferences, I know!).

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Then there was another fridge with juice, beer, wine, champagne, and mixers.

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Perhaps the highlight of my visit to the Flagship Lounge was Afifiana, who was the agent working there. She couldn’t have been nicer. I’ve had very mixed experiences with the staff in the Flagship Lounge at LAX (I find they’re among the best and worst in the system), though Afifiana was easily the best. That was my first time having the pleasure of interacting with her.

Bottom line

Ultimately this is just a temporary setup until the new Flagship Lounge opens in the summer of 2017. Ultimately this is better than nothing, and is a good temporary solution until the new Flagship Lounge opens. However, it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the Qantas Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is also available to international first class and oneworld Emerald passengers.

If you’re planning on visiting the Flagship Lounge between now and next summer, at least you know what to expect…

Comments

  1. Agree they’re making the best of the situation. To be clear, AA transcon first passengers have access to the Qantas lounge, correct? Will be doing that from LAX to JFK a week from tomorrow.

  2. So they’re going to make Flagship Dining only for F, not even open to emerald. So emeralds will just walk to the QF F lounge for fine dining.

    This lounge situation has just become absolutely bizarre.

    I’d imagine oneworld access rules tightening up, or Qantas changing their lounge access rules at LAX.

  3. @keitherson — It seems like the outcome you’re describing as “bizarre” is just a product of LAX having multiple lounge options easily accessible airside. As a general policy, I don’t think it’s bizarre to have a premium dining product exclusive to F passengers on a carrier’s own metal.

  4. That used to be the quiet section of the Admiral’s Club. Now the Admirals Club is jammed pack and hard to find seats. I used to go down that side and use the cubicles to work before flights.

  5. Is she a young Asian lady by any chance? Passed by this lounge last week and their service was just over the top awesome/incredible.

  6. About time the US airlines upped their game, they might, you know, win over more business.

    I was in the Seatac SkyClub yesterday for the first time and was very impressed not only by the lounge itself but by the service too. DL is upping it’s game, let’s hope the others do to. It’s going to be an interesting time for those that fly US legacy carriers over the next few years.

  7. Anyone has an update on LAX First Class Flagship Lounge and First Dining? Traveling F on 9/25/17 through LAX to Asia.
    Is the remodeling still a mess or does anyone know if the Flagship First Dining will be available by September? Thanks.

  8. @Lisa — I was there in mid-June, and the agents said “maybe October.” Unfortunately, I think it’s doubtful it will open earlier. That said, sounds like you’d have access to the Qantas First Lounge, which is superb.

  9. Thanks for the info. So is Qantas First Lounge allowing American Airlines’ first class ticket holders to use their lounge during this renovation period?

  10. @Lisa — If you are traveling in First on a 3-cabin oneworld flight (like the AA 777-300 between LAX-HKG, or CX 777-300, etc.), or if you’re AA Executive Platinum traveling on a qualifying international itinerary (to Asia would be one), then you always have access to the Qantas First Lounge in the TBIT.

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