A Look At American’s New Flagship Lounge At O’Hare Airport

In late May American debuted their new premium lounges at JFK. Specifically, American opened their newly refurbished Flagship Lounge, which is open to international first & business class passengers, oneworld Emerald & Sapphire members traveling internationally, as well as those traveling nonstop in business class to Los Angeles and San Francisco.


American’s new Flagship Lounge JFK

This lounge represents a nice improvement over the old Flagship Lounge, and a lot more people have access to it as well.


American’s new Flagship Lounge JFK

This is only the first renovated Flagship Lounge that American plans on introducing, and as each new lounge opens, the entry requirements for it will change as well. Under the old rules, only international first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members have access, while under the new rules, international business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members will have access as well.

We know that American plans to open new Flagship Lounges in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia.

As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, American’s new Flagship Lounge at O’Hare Airport is supposed to open this month. We now have a more specific date — American’s Flagship Lounge Chicago officially opens to the public tomorrow, Thursday, September 14, 2017.

They had a pre-opening party yesterday. I wasn’t able to make it since I was supposed to be in Europe with my dad, but Hurricane Irma messed that up. Beyond that, though, in general I’d rather review a lounge when it’s open and in operation to see what the real experience is like, rather than just a media event, where you don’t get a real sense of the crowding, service, etc.

With that in mind, I have plans to review the Flagship Lounge Chicago myself soon, though reader Jacob (@jmmccarthy2002) was at the event last night, and kind enough to share some photos. This won’t be a full review, but rather just some pictures and brief commentary. First here are the notes he shared:

  • The Flagship Lounge is located in the same area as the H & K Concourse Admirals Club, though it’s on Level 2, while the Admirals Club is on Level 3
  • At the front desk you’re given paper cards that act as invitations to the Flagship Lounge, assuming you’re eligible for access
  • The lounge has six shower rooms
  • There’s a dedicated TV room
  • There are tons of power ports, virtually at every seat
  • There’s a self serve buffet and extensive drink selection
  • The lounge has no Flagship First Dining (given that American doesn’t offer an international first class product out of Chicago), but they have a space where it could be added, should they decide to, at some point

As a reminder, the following passengers have access to Flagship Lounges:

  • Passengers traveling in oneworld longhaul international first and business class same day
  • Passengers traveling in first class and business class on American’s A321 between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco
  • American Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum members traveling on a longhaul international itinerary, regardless of the class of service
  • All non-American AAdvantage oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members traveling on any oneworld flight, even if it’s domestic

Here are the pictures that Jacob shared:


American Flagship First Check-In ORD


American Flagship First Check-In ORD


American Flagship First Check-In Security Channel ORD


American Admirals Club & Flagship Lounge entrance ORD


American Flagship Lounge Entrance ORD


American Flagship Lounge Seating ORD


American Flagship Lounge Seating ORD


American Flagship Lounge Seating ORD


American Flagship Lounge Seating ORD


American Flagship Lounge TV Room ORD


American Flagship Lounge TV Room ORD


American Flagship Lounge Relaxation Area ORD


American Flagship Lounge Seating ORD


American Flagship Lounge Dining Area ORD


American Flagship Lounge Buffet ORD


American Flagship Lounge Buffet ORD


American Flagship Lounge Drinks ORD


American Flagship Lounge Drinks ORD


American Flagship Lounge Shower Room ORD


American Flagship Lounge Shower Room ORD

The lounge looks great, and I can’t wait to check it out myself soon! Also, the Flagship Lounges in Los Angeles and Miami should be opening later this year. It’s interesting that Chicago is the second airport to get a new Flagship Lounge, given that it’s not a city out of which American is growing much lately. This could be one of two things — either it’s a competitive response to United’s Polaris Lounge in Chicago, or it’s just a function of the speed of construction and available space for the lounge.

If you want more commentary in the meantime, View from the Wing was at the event last night.

What do you think of the Flagship Lounge Chicago?

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. I think this facility was opened so quickly because ample space was available. This entire second floor space had been dedicated to the AA Executive Center, with lots of meeting rooms and some modest catering facility. People came to ORD from various cities, popped into the Executive Center for meetings, and could take return flights as soon as the meeting was over — saving TSA, taxis, etc. It was a great facility in its day, but I guess video conferencing, etc., took its toll on the business and the closed the Executive Center. Voila! The space was available for this Flagship facility.

  2. Will be flying HKG-ORD-DCA – CX F transfer to AA F – I know that I will be able to use Flagship Lounge but can I use Flagship check-in after clearing customs ?

  3. @ Paul

    +1

    Not much evidence of any design flair. That counter could be in a community college. The tv room could be in an institution for poor people.

    Though in fairness I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours in Qatar’s lounges at LHR and Doha, which are superb.

  4. @ Paul
    @ Paul
    @ Drew
    Yes when I visited (These are my pictures), it felt kinda blah and lacked design compared to the Polaris Lounge.

  5. As long as it doesn’t get over crowded it looks to be an improvement over the current flagship lounge, will check it out in person on Sunday.

  6. @Lucky
    Since AA via ORD does not offer any 3-Class cabins internationally (or domestic, obviously) can you use the Flagship check-in with an international AA itinerary in J?

  7. @ Nick in Chicago — Nope, you’d have to be connecting to first class. So very very few people will have access to the facility.

  8. @Lucky
    Thank you. That’s rather goofy. International J on AA or OW get access to Flagship Lounge but not check-in. You’re right, since all OW First Class passengers would be departing T5 there can only be a handful of people daily using the Flagship Check-in; seems rather wasteful!

  9. Are there any distinctions between who can access Admirals club and Flagship lounge anymore. The access lists on the AA website look identical to me.

  10. @ Teo — Admirals Clubs are for Admirals Club members and those purchasing day passes. Everyone else (that I can think of) gets access to Flagship Lounges. Hopefully this also alleviates some of the congestion in Admirals Clubs.

  11. @ Luke

    Qsuite was great. Truly impressive. Like Lucky (except when he’s compiling listicles!), I think business class is mostly about the seat. It is far and away the best business class seat I’ve ever used.

    Lucky always says he finds Qatar’s FAs “cold”; I’ve never found that, though it may be culturally-determined – he likes Asian women kneeling by his side and fiddling with his slippers, whereas I’d find that too subservient and an uncomfortable invasion of my personal space. For me, QR’s FAs have all been super-warm and super-keen to provide service (though they’re not foot-fiddlers). And they all seem to love Qsuites and the positive customer response.

  12. not much privacy, looks like a corporate boardroom in the failed empire. Too cold, and not much intimacy with warm tones.

  13. If you are an Executive Platnium / Oneworld Emerald connecting in Chicago flying any cabin internationally on AA or Oneworld Carriers you do have access for the flagship. I really enjoyed my visit here when I was flying from Sydney, Australia through LAX and Chicago to come back home. Definitely much improved over the old Flaship Lounge and lot less crowded than the under construction Admirals Club located above on the 3rd floor.

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