Review: New American Flagship Lounge LAX

American is in the process of revamping their premium lounge experience, including creating new Flagship Lounges. American’s Flagship Lounges used to just be open to international first class and oneworld Emerald passengers, while now they’re also open to international business class and oneworld Sapphire passengers, which hopefully translates into a better experience for a lot more passengers.

As of now American has four Flagship Lounges open:

American should be commended for the pace at which they’ve been opening these lounges. They’ve opened four lounges in eight months, while United has opened one Polaris Lounge in 12 months. In 2018 we can expect to see Flagship Lounges open in Dallas, London, and Philadelphia.

Anyway, yesterday I had the chance to check out the Flagship Lounge Los Angeles on the second day it was open, and wanted to share my thoughts.

American Flagship Lounge LAX access requirements

As a reminder, the following passengers have access to American’s Flagship Lounge at LAX:

  • Passengers traveling on qualifying oneworld longhaul international first and business class flights same day
  • Passengers traveling in first class and business class on American’s premium transcontinental routes, including from Los Angeles to New York
  • American Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum members traveling on a qualifying oneworld international flights, 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
  • Concierge Key members traveling on any American flight

“Qualifying international flights” include those to Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City, New Zealand, and South America.

American Flagship Lounge LAX hours

The Flagship Lounge LAX is open daily from 4:45AM until 12:45AM, so it should be open prior to just about any American flight.

American Flagship Lounge LAX location

American’s LAX Flagship Lounge is located in Terminal 4, across from gate 40. This is just past the security checkpoint for Terminal 4. The lounge shares an entrance with the Admirals Club, so at the entrance you’ll be given an invitation to the Flagship Lounge if you’re eligible.


American Flagship Lounge LAX exterior

When you get to the second floor you’ll then want to turn left, where the entrance is located. An American representative will take your invitation there.


American Flagship Lounge LAX entrance

Note that American operates flights out of both Terminal 4 & Terminal 5, and there’s a tunnel connecting those two terminals, so you can easily access the lounge regardless of which terminal you’re departing from. Furthermore, American has an Admirals Club in both Terminal 4 & Terminal 5.

American Flagship Lounge LAX review

American’s new Flagship Lounge LAX is roughly 12,000 square feet, which makes it less than half of the size of the Miami Flagship Lounge, which is about 29,000 square feet.

Right inside the entrance to the Flagship Lounge is a customer service desk, where agents can assist with any travel needs.


American Flagship Lounge LAX customer service desk

Past that is a visually appealing area that almost seemed to be more for display purposes than actually intended for sitting, since I barely ever saw anyone there.


American Flagship Lounge LAX seating

From there you can turn left or right — to the left is a vast majority of the lounge, while to the right are the bathrooms, showers, Flagship First Dining, and a quiet room. Let’s look at the left side of the lounge first.

The first area you’ll see is a media room, with a dozen seats facing two TVs.


American Flagship Lounge LAX media room


American Flagship Lounge LAX media room

Along the windows are a bunch of tables with two seats each.


American Flagship Lounge LAX seating

The only other thing down that hallway is a small business center with two PCs and a printer. I don’t get why American doesn’t install cubicles or proper workstations in their Flagship Lounges. They used to always have these in Admirals Clubs and I always appreciated it as a feature, though they seem to be a thing of the past.


American Flagship Lounge LAX business center

Right near the entrance is a departures monitor, as well as magazines and newspapers.


American Flagship Lounge LAX departures monitor, magazines, and newspapers

The next part of the lounge is the largest room, which probably takes up over half of the space. This is one massive room with the dining area, lounging area, and the buffet. First there are several dozen seats arranged just as you’d find them in any Admirals Club.


American Flagship Lounge LAX seating


American Flagship Lounge LAX seating

Past that are a variety of seating options, including dozens of dining tables, communal tables, and more typical leather chairs in rows.


American Flagship Lounge LAX


American Flagship Lounge LAX

I appreciate that they have such a large dining area. Personally I always prefer sitting at a proper table so that I can work, as I find it to be much more comfortable.


American Flagship Lounge LAX

The buffet area is separated from the seating by a long communal table, which is also where the wine bar is.


American Flagship Lounge LAX


American Flagship Lounge LAX

Then there’s the buffet area, which consists of two large islands, as well as one long counter along the wall.


American Flagship Lounge LAX buffet

We’ll talk more about the food & drink selection in a bit.

This entire room has floor to ceiling windows and amazing views of the apron, including the heavy aircraft that typically park at the gates immediately below the lounge. What a view!


American Flagship Lounge LAX view


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles view

Then on the opposite end of the lounge (to the right of the entrance, rather than to the left) is a long hallway which leads to the bathrooms, shower rooms, quiet area, and Flagship First Dining.


American Flagship Lounge LAX hallway

First up are the bathrooms, which had a good number of stalls and urinals.


American Flagship Lounge LAX bathrooms

Then there were the shower suites, which consisted of eight rooms down a hall.


American Flagship Lounge LAX showers

The shower suites were beautiful — they were spacious, well lit, and had CO Bigelow amenities.


American Flagship Lounge LAX shower room


American Flagship Lounge LAX shower room


American Flagship Lounge LAX CO Bigelow toiletries

Past the showers is the quiet area, which has a few quasi daybeds that lack any sort of privacy, as well as a few more seats that just sort of seem out of place.


American Flagship Lounge LAX quiet room


American Flagship Lounge LAX quiet room

Then at the end of the hall is the entrance to American’s Flagship First Dining (which I had access to as well, and will be reviewing in a separate installment).


American Flagship First Dining Los Angeles

American Flagship Lounge LAX food & drink selection

The lounge had a couple of smaller refreshment stations. Near the quiet area was some flavored water and whole fruit.


American Flagship Lounge LAX refreshment station

Then near the media room was a station with a Coca-Cola machine, a coffee machine, juice, tea, etc.


American Flagship Lounge LAX drink station

Then there was the main buffet & bar.


American Flagship Lounge LAX wine bar

Let’s start with drinks. Here’s the lounge’s selection of wine (I’m most impressed by the fact that they serve Bollinger, and am very curious how long that will last):


American Flagship Lounge LAX wine selection


American Flagship Lounge LAX wine selection


American Flagship Lounge LAX wine selection

Then there was an impressive self serve liquor selection, as well as a bloody mary station.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles liquor selection


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles bloody mary station

Then there were fridges with beer, wine, soda, and water (still and sparkling).


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles drinks


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles drinks

There were also coffee and Coca-Cola machines.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles coffee machine


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles Coca-Cola machine

Breakfast was available from 4:45AM until 11AM. Continental options included pastries, croissants, cereal, yogurt parfaits, cold cuts, cheese, salmon, sushi, fresh fruit, salad, etc.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet

Hot options included shrimp stratta, roasted vegetable egg white frittata, scrambled eggs, banana’s foster bread pudding, fingerling potato hash, chicken and apple sausage, bacon, and steel cut oatmeal.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet

American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles breakfast buffet

The lounge also has a live cooking station, and in the mornings they have custom made omelets (however, this only started at around 8AM).


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles omelet bar


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles omelet bar


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles omelet bar

They can prepare two at a time, and while the chef was always busy, it didn’t appear like there was ever too long of a wait.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles omelet bar

I asked for a veggie omelet (the nice chef made the executive decision to add a bunch of cheese into it… I can’t say I minded). When he presented it to me he said “it may not be the best looking omelet, but I promise it tastes good.” Sure enough, it did. They had salsa to go along with the omelet, which added a nice kick.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles omelet

At 11AM the food was switched out for lunch. Options included several types of bread, chips, cold cuts, cheese, honey ginger pork tenderloin salad, soba noodle salad, sweet chili turkey and green papaya salad, Israeli couscous salad, and more.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet

Hot options included cha siu bao, citrus herb roasted chicken, miso salmon, tofu tikka masala, stir fried vegetables, roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, minestrone soup, and tomato basil bisque.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet

For dessert there were a few kinds of cookies and cake.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles lunch buffet

For lunch the live cooking station offered custom prepared pho.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles custom pho station


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles custom pho station

How crowded is the Flagship Lounge LAX?

My biggest concern with Flagship Lounges has been crowding, given the number of people who have access to these lounges. You may notice that all of the above pictures have almost no one in them. That’s because I arrived at the lounge the minute it opened, which meant I got up at 3AM yesterday (even earlier than usual). Of course that’s not representative of how full the lounge usually is.

When I entered the lounge and saw that it wasn’t that huge, I figured it would get way overcrowded. I was actually pleasantly surprised, as it never really got too full. Sure, it was crowded at times, though never a zoo. I think the below picture sums up how crowded the lounge was at its peak, which was around 10AM. It was significantly emptier before 9AM, and again significantly emptier after 12PM.


American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles crowding

So that’s really not too bad. I think the thing about American’s LAX hub is that the flights are spaced out really well throughout the day. While JFK is a madhouse in the evenings before flights to Europe, out of LAX American has a bank of flights to Asia midday, two flights to London in the afternoon, and then a few transpacific flights in the evening. Then there are of course the A321T flights to New York all day. All things considered, the lounge really doesn’t get too crowded, so hopefully my experience is reflective of the norm (I spent about nine hours there, so I could get a real sense of the patterns).

American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles bottom line

I’m really impressed by what American is doing with their Flagship Lounges. They’re not as frilly as United’s Polaris Lounges, but there are some areas where American deserves a lot of credit. For one, they make these lounges available to a lot of people, including oneworld Sapphire passengers in economy. Furthermore, they’ve been doing a damn good job opening these lounges promptly.

The food in the lounge is generally quite good, and my only real complaint is with food temperature, as I found some of the items to be lukewarm. I also loved the omelet station in the morning. The lounges have an excellent alcohol selection, and the shower rooms are beautiful. Everyone working in the lounge seemed to be genuinely proud of the product they were offering, from the American agents to the contract workers clearing tables.

Very well done, American!

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

Comments

  1. You should do an article about how you deal wit jetlag and which are the best airlines to get status in each alliance.

  2. I was at the JFK Flagship lounge a few Fridays ago around 6pm (right before all the European Flights were heading out). It was a mob scene; the Admirals Club would have probably been more relaxing.

  3. Thanks for the comprehensive review. I can fold beautiful omelets on a flat top griddle all day long, but ask me to make one in a pan and that’s how it looks. 😛

    The lounge and food looks nice. I wish there was some kind of middle ground between the cheese cubes and snack towers of sadness in the regular Admirals Club and the cornucopia of choices in the Flagship Lounge. Having just a few more substantial things in the AC doesn’t seem like it would break the bank, especially now that the infrastructure is in place to provide the food for this buffet.

  4. That looks fantastic – especially the food. Grey Goose and Belvedere are extremely high-end vodaks – very impressive.

  5. Hey Lucky you often stay in a lounge for 5+ hours to review 2 different meal periods (and we thank you for that!). Do you ever get quizzed by lounge staff as to why you have such a long transit, especially when there are earlier flights available? Do they ever try and insist you move to an earlier flight to limit the cost to them of you hanging around for another meal?

    What is your record for the longest time you’ve spent in a lounge? (by choice?).
    Mine is 6 hours in both the TG BKK F Lounge and the QF MEL F Lounge. Both were by choice and both were fantastic.

  6. AA’s efforts in improving its lounges is a big reason why I have stuck with them this year and plan to again next year.

  7. Fantastic review, Lucky. I particularly enjoyed the pictures of the food. That’s quite an amazing variety they’ve got there

    By the way, I think it’s “Banana Foster”not Banana’s 😉

  8. I actually second Debbit’s recommendation regarding status with alliance.

    Good review, though I will note, all the Flagship lounges seem to be fairly cookie cutter copies of each other. Obviously done for a reason, but like you mentioned for Miami, it would have been nice to add a little local flair to each one.

  9. I’m really truly disappointed at the lack of desks for a small private working area in the LAX Admiral’s Club. They used to have a really nice secluded spot for us road warriors, now there is nothing.

    I was in ORD Admiral’s Club 3x this week and they have a good spot for desks even if it is sort of crowded together.

    AA should really look into having dedicated desks for us road warriors who want to come into the lounge and get some work done.

  10. Hi. I read somewhere, I believe it was on aa website that LAX to MIA transatlantic First and bus pax were also eligible for entry. Is that not correct?

  11. @ John K — Not anymore. Los Angeles to Miami used to be considered a premium transcon route, but that’s not the case anymore.

  12. Bollinger was in ORD FL when it opened but now is Tattinger which I consider a downgrade. JFK was also Bollinger, will check it out tomorrow, fingers crossed.

  13. Looks Nice. Too bad they sacrificed the space for the regular AC to the point of it being standing room only most days. And don’t tell me there is a lounge in T5, if your flight is going out of T4, why would anyone make three walk? Also, why does AA allow One World Emeralds in but bit their own? Why does AA allow those flying premium transcon JFK-LAX/SFO but not the new premium transcon LAX-BOS? Rules without logic

  14. They still have lounges to open up in London, Dallas and Philadelphia right? Any knowledge of what the timetable is for those lounges?

Comments are closed.