The Best Kept Secret Of American’s Flagship Lounge JFK

Last May American opened the Flagship Lounge JFK, which was the first new lounge they opened as part of their international lounge overhaul. Since then they’ve opened Flagship Lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, and I’ve been impressed across the board. In addition to that, American has also opened Flagship First Dining in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, which is open to international first class and select premium transcontinental first class passengers.

Besides those seven facilities, there’s something that makes the Flagship Lounge JFK unique. Specifically, it has the Flagship Bridge, which American opened in July. This has the same entry requirements as the Flagship Lounge, except it’s located inside the adjacent Admirals Club instead.

This area features a small menu off of which you could order, though that’s not what makes it special. I used the Flagship Lounge JFK yesterday evening, and it was actually fairly quiet (in the past I’ve sometimes described it as a zoo).

However, it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet tried the Flagship Bridge, so I figured I’d give it a try. I went back to the reception desk and asked “is that Flagship Bridge thing still open?” “Sure, let me bring you over there.” The agent escorted me into the Admirals Club, and then to the right is a rope blocking the way to the Flagship Bridge. She moved it to let me in.

Are you ready for the crazy part? THERE WERE NO GUESTS THERE. NOT ONE. The only people there were the three servers working.

This is a beautiful space with plenty of tables, as well as a bar you can sit at.

Each table has a menu you can order off of. The wine list should be the same as what you’ll find in the Flagship Lounge, and read as follows:

The food menu is unique to this lounge, as there’s no a la carte dining in the main Flagship Lounge. That menu read as follows:

As soon as I settled in, a server asked me what I’d like to drink. I ordered a glass of Bollinger and a sparkling water (I know, the snack mix in the plastic bowl is a bit tragic).

I also ordered a caesar salad with chicken, which was quite good.

The lounge also had a hot dog station, which I found to be… random.

While the ability to order an a la carte dish here is nice, to me the real selling point is how quiet it is. I imagine that even when the Flagship Lounge gets packed, this place stays mostly empty. It’s no wonder it stays empty, because the agents in the front don’t seem to tell anyone about this, but rather only bring you there if you ask. Let’s hope it stays that way, so it can be our little secret. šŸ˜‰ For that matter, it’s not even located within the Flagship Lounge, so there’s no way you’d stumble upon it accidentally.

In fairness, I wasn’t the only guest the whole time. I was there for about two hours, and eventually a total of four other passengers showed up.

While the menu isn’t as big as what you’d find in Flagship First Dining, this is a beautiful, quiet extension to the Flagship Lounge, and I’d much rather hang out here than in the main lounge. And yes, the entry requirements are the same. The only catch is that the Flagship Bridge only opens at 2PM.

Have you used the Flagship Bridge? If so, what was your experience like? If not, will you visit it the next time you visit the Flagship Lounge?

Comments

  1. I never knew this existed and I’ve been to the FL about a dozen times since it reopened. WTF is AA thinking not publicizing this at all? A total waste of space and staff resources.

  2. Last time as I was leaving the Flagship lounge, I popped into the bridge place and saw they had a Chips/Guacamole bar! Too bad I was full already and scrambling to catch a flight. Next time, I’ll have to settle for the more peaceful place and try the food there!

  3. hmmmm!
    From the menu

    “All day dining

    Available after 2pm”

    Doesn’t sound like all day to me.
    Unless there is a different menu for earlier in the day.

  4. I have been both to the “secret” and the main FL.

    The main one is definitely more crowded, but in my opinion is better.

    First, this “secret” location sucks in terms of desks where one might actually work, and plugs. The main one is much better set up.

    While the staff in the “secret” one is nice, the food and drink options are much more varied in the main one (e.g. way more in the way of salads, food, and cheese). If you want a burger the “secret” is better, but the other is better in almost every other way.

  5. wow, this amazing and I never knew this. I’ll be there on Friday evening and will be sure to stop in for the burger.

  6. What are the access requirements for the Flagship bridge?
    Would oneworld (BA) Sapphire member on American airlines economy ticket JFK-LHR be able to use?

    Thanks in advance

  7. Iā€™ve been. Itā€™s super quiet and relaxing. The staff told me they use the space for VIPs, Rihanna was there recently and it was closed off for her.

  8. @ Jason — Hah, nope, they offered it to me without asking. Didn’t even see the STOS (snack tower of sadness).

  9. When I was there I was told it was Emerald only. I was given a little invitation and it had the oneworld logo and Emerald oval on it which probably explains why it is so quiet. On my first visit in the summer it was so quiet I was embarassed as I was the only person but they had the guacamole cart. Service was excellent though.

    It opens at 2pm, hence the references on the menu.

  10. Do they not use the “orange card” entry system anymore? That’s how I got in there when I visited in late July after checking out the main FL. Yes, the space was quieter, but without all the food options, is pretty sparse for eating and drinking.

  11. I did shortly after opening and had a terrible burger, totally overdone and minuscule compared to the bun.

  12. I fucking love hot dogs… I would have had hot dogs, the snack mix, the lettuce from the caesar, and champagne.

  13. I flew from JFK last Sunday and was given no other option but to go to the Bridge because of my age.
    For travelers under 21, they send you to this lounge since the access to alcohol is restricted (i.e. only served by the waiters). The lounge was also extremely quiet the time I was there!

  14. Got sponsored by a Oneworld Emerald who flew with me on Finnair from HEL, and we got in. It wasn’t roped off, but an agent was standing there who checked us in. Once we got in, there was only one guy sitting all the way towards the back charging his laptop and working quietly. Was really dead, will probably return just for the quiet.

  15. For what itā€™s worth, I just arrived at the Flagship Lounge and when I checked in, the agent proactively let me know that if I wanted a quieter space with a bartender, I could go to the Flagship Bridge. Iā€™ve got some time, might as well check it out later.

  16. Just to add on from my last comment, I stopped by the Flagship Bridge around 8:30pm. It was pretty crowded! About 30-40 people. In addition, since youā€™re on a pedestrian bridge, you hear all the noise coming from the terminal below. Maybe AA started advertising this section to people who have access more often after this blog post. Regardless, if the terminal is noisy and busy, it will still be noisy here.

    I ordered the mushroom flatbread and a glass of the Italian red, the bartenders invited me to find a seat. Most of the seats would have been sharing a space with another guest, so I sat down facing the entrance where I wouldnā€™t intrude. A few moments later, my wine and bottles of still and sparkling water arrived. I also received snack mix in a dish (the same bowl that is by the soup in the flagship lounge), so maybe thatā€™s another hint that the service manager is aware of this blog.

    The flatbread was… ok. It was presented very well, but tasted like it was refrigerated or frozen and not cooked long enough. I felt like I got what I paid for with the flat bread ($0 paid and $0 flat bread received). I am vegetarian, so I didnā€™t order or try the other dining options.

    I looked around and didnā€™t see the hot dog station or any other self serve food. Also, i didnā€™t see a restroom without leaving the bridge.

    The service was excellent, I never felt like the waitstaff were hovering over me or that my glasses would go empty.

    It feels like a weird space, like either the Port Authority or One World partners required a space with bartender served drinks (for minors) or menu dining (for partner elites that expect a la carte dining).

    The staff are doing a great job, but the space feels like itā€™s just trying to comply with some agreement. It reminds me of the temporary Admirals club at MIA at D30 a year or two ago, where you got premium drinks in an area that was clearly temporary.

    I donā€™t know what the long term plans for this space are, but itā€™s just a little bit less crowded than the Flagship lounge already, i hear the radio being played at the Hudson newsstand below us and PAs for ā€œpassenger so and so, please proceed to gate yadayadaā€, the food is comparable to the buffet in the Flagship lounge (except you have to wait for it), the service is top notch.

    I think Iā€™d prefer whatever resources are going into this section of the lounge were redirected to improving the main area of the flagship lounge with table food and beverage service. I guess my takeaway is that this evening, it didnā€™t feel private, exclusive, and quiet; it felt crowded, loud, and full. The service was excellent, the food was buffet quality (but well presented!). I think if the burger or the chicken Caesar salad are really good for you, it might be a good location to go for an hour or two for late lunch or dinner. If you have more time and/or care about privacy/relaxation/pouring your own drinks, I think the main flagship lounge would work for you.

    This is based on this first visit to this Flagship Bridge and about 6 visits to the new Flagship Lounge and also my personal point of view and preference when it comes to lounge amenities.

  17. Just tried the Flagship Bridge on a stopover between MAD-MIA. The person at the desk offered it to us only after we asked for access to the Flagship First Dining area. As expected, we were denied access to Flagship Dining (were in business on two class flights), but frankly, the Flagship Bridge is a really nice (and secluded) area to eat and wait in a lounge. Surprisingly nice touch for AA these days.

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