American’s New Flagship Lounge Has Much Better Food, Including A La Carte Dining!

Earlier I wrote about American’s new Flagship First Dining facility at JFK, which is the first of its kind. American will be opening these in Los Angeles and Miami later this year, and in Dallas and London in the future. These are available exclusively for those traveling in three cabin first class, so this isn’t available to business class passengers, oneworld Emerald members, etc.

However, American has now also officially opened their new Flagship Lounge JFK, which is available to international first and business class passengers, as well as oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members (those with status through AAdvantage need to be traveling internationally to use the lounge).

As I’ll explain below, this lounge features a much improved food selection, including a menu off of which you can order.

American’s new Flagship Lounge JFK

Previously the Flagship Lounge was only open to international first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members, while now it’s open to international business class and oneworld Sapphire members as well. As a result, the space is much bigger than it used to be.

First, for reference, here’s my review of American’s old JFK Flagship Lounge.

Then in March I reviewed the new Flagship Lounge JFK, though at the time it wasn’t operating under the new concept yet. While the space I reviewed was the renovated space:

  • It didn’t yet feature the new Flagship Lounge food & beverage selection
  • Not the entire expanded space was open yet

So this won’t be a full review of the lounge, but rather a supplement to my previous review of the physical space.

Most of the lounge was already open the last time I visited…

The only part that wasn’t complete was the area that was walled off last time, which is located near the entrance. The expanded space is essentially the tiled area below. So this includes some dining tables, communal tables, relaxation chairs, and the nice-looking buffet. So the lounge is a bit bigger than the last time I visited, but not that much bigger.

American’s new Flagship Dining selection

Again, this is separate from American’s Flagship First Dining area, but American has also revamped their Flagship Lounge dining selection. I have to say that I’m impressed — the selection has been very nicely improved.

There’s an improved selection of cold options, including a cheese board that actually looks appetizing, chilled tenderloin, individually plated appetizers like chilled crab and shrimp shooters, etc.

The hot options even look really good, including things like chicken and salmon.

There’s also a nice selection of desserts.

In terms of drinks, there’s Bollinger champagne, and a fairly decent selection of red and white wines.

There’s also a respectable selection of self serve liquor.

Then there’s a make your own cocktail station; in this case they had bloody marys.

Then there’s a fridge with soft drinks, beer, San Pellegrino sparkling water (yay!), etc.

There’s also one of those customizable Coca-Cola soda fountains, as well as a coffee machine.

But there’s also a la carte dining!

This is something I wasn’t expecting, but am very pleasantly surprised by. While the best dining options will be in the Flagship First Dining area, those in the Flagship Lounge can also order things off a much smaller menu.

Here’s the breakfast menu for the Flagship Lounge:

And here’s the all day dining menu, which has the Flagship Burger you’ll find in the Flagship First Dining area:

My thoughts on the new Flagship Lounge JFK

I’m actually very impressed by the food and drink selection in the new Flagship Lounge. While the Flagship First Dining area is obviously the most exciting part of the lounge, even those without access to that are getting nicely upgraded amenities. The new food selection looks like a huge improvement over the old one, and there’s even a limited selection of food you can order off a menu, which is great.

This is a nice improvement for oneworld Emerald members, though a massive improvement for oneworld Sapphire members and business class passengers, as they previously only had access to the Admirals Club.

My one concern remains crowding. The lounge was nearly empty when I was there during the day, but I imagine in the evenings this lounge will get crowded, given that all international first and business class passengers, as well as many oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, will be using this lounge. While it’s a big space, it’s also intended to accommodate a lot of people.

Regardless, this new setup exceeds my expectations.

What do you make of American’s new JFK Flagship Lounge?

Comments

  1. Looks fantastic, and even better than the buffet in EK’s lounges! I wonder if they will cut access to Sapphires like Qantas does for the “business lounge” (which is OWE flying Y or J only).

  2. With UA’s Polaris, and now this for AA, DL looks pretty awful leaving international J passengers to use subpar SkyClubs. At least at JFK there’s the option of the Virgin Atlantic clubhouse, but I think your flight has to be to the UK to use it

  3. I’m also concerned about overcrowding, but have been wondering if AA has been looking at their internal numbers on Aadvantage elite members historical spend and predicting the ranks of the Platinums and above will be falling significantly starting in 2018.

  4. I’m curious to see how long this can reasonably last. It looks fantastic, but the naysayer in me always presumes there’s a limited time that this will stick around before AA realizes it’s ultimately NOT profitable and they take it away.

  5. Lucky, yesterday you mentioned how status may not be worth it to you anymore. As a mere Platinum, I now have access to this lounge on international flights out of my home airport of JFK regardless of my class of service. It makes those Main Cabin Extra redeye flights over the Atlantic much easier to take. Given amenities like this, why isn’t status valuable?

  6. “I’m curious to see how long this can reasonably last. It looks fantastic, but the naysayer in me always presumes there’s a limited time that this will stick around before AA realizes it’s ultimately NOT profitable and they take it away.”

    @AdamR +1

    This is exactly what I fear. Better use it while you can.

  7. @Aaron S — Transcon J and F pax can use this lounge. Only Transcon F pax get the sit-down Flagship First Dining. But the fact that transcon J pax can get the more limited a la carte options is a surprise, and frankly, a welcome improvement.

  8. @Gordon – No schedule. AA says both should open “later in 2017.” Some FT members say that lounge agents in LAX have told them October.

  9. Thanks.

    I think this helps make the AA transcon product more competitive. Unless I’m mistaken, there’s no comparable food spread in DL’s lounge, B6 gives no lounge access at all, and while UA’s new Polaris lounges look nicer, p.s. won’t give access.

  10. I was there this past Friday. Flagship Dining was not open and they did not have the a al carte menu out yet. The food spread was good, but did not change all day (was there for several hours). Under the old system, the options changed every few hours. I also did not like that they had no more sandwiches. I much prefer sandwiches to hot food when in a lounge.

  11. @Ben or anyone else, the small a la carte menu here is very similar to what is currently available in the LHR Flagship lounge. For American EXPs or OneWorld Emeralds who have access to first class al la carte dining in Qantas and Cathay Pacific first class lounges but not in American Flagship lounges, I’d say this is no improvement.

  12. @ john — I agree there are plenty of other lounges with menus at least as good, but it’s certainly an improvement compared to what people had access to at this particular airport before.

  13. I was there on Tuesday, the day before the dining room opened. However, they gave me a tour of it and explained all the new buffet items in the main part. They are very proud of this product which you don’t often see from domestic airline employees, in my opinion.

    I really like this lounge. The (not so very) old FCL was so small and this one is so spacious. They also have a gorgeous triptych by Christy Shiele.

  14. Lucky,

    I would say “at this terminal” BA’s Concorde Room has had a great dining room for years at JFK.

  15. I’m there now and was told a la carte dining is only available in the Flagship Dining Room for passengers in First

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