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.
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.
In addition to the main room, the lounge curves off to the side, where there’s additional seating.
There are even some chairs with ottomans in the far corner of the lounge, though it’s a pretty tight setup.
There’s a separate room with the buffet setup, almost like what you’d find in a hotel conference room.
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.
There’s also fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, salmon, pastries, whole fruit, etc.
Then there are several hot options, including french toast, eggs, sausage, breakfast potatoes, etc.
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!).
Then there was another fridge with juice, beer, wine, champagne, and mixers.
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.
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…