American Offering Free Flagship First Dining To Concierge Key Members

Starting around the middle of last year, American introduced the Flagship First Dining concept. These are essentially lounges within lounges.

American has Flagship Lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and they have Flagship First Dining in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Flagship First Dining is a tranquil space that offers a restaurant style dining experience. Frankly I pinch myself every time I use one of these, because they just don’t feel like something you’d expect from a US airline.


American’s Flagship First Dining JFK

These lounges are really exclusive, in the sense that they’re only open to those traveling in three cabin first class. American’s only planes with three cabin international first class are their 20 Boeing 777-300ERs, and then on top of that they have 17 Airbus A321s that they fly between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco, which also feature three cabin first class.


American’s 777-300ER first class

Personally I’d be shocked if these lounges last in their current form, or if we don’t at least see a change in strategy from American. While I can see how this could be somewhat worthwhile in New York and Los Angeles for transcon customers, it blows my mind that they offer Flagship First Dining in Miami, where American just has a few flights a day with first class.

I haven’t used Flagship First Dining that often, but every time I have, the space has been very quiet. In many ways that’s what makes it so great, because it really is a tranquil space that almost makes you feel like you’re not at an airport.

Because of how little these lounges are utilized, I said that I’d be surprised if Flagship First Dining stuck around in its current form for all that long. I think they either have to extend access requirements or just cut the concept, because I don’t get how they can justify the cost of something like this when you consider how few people they’re serving, and how much cost you’d have to allocate to each person using it.

While American isn’t formally expanding access to Flagship First Dining as a published benefit, several Concierge Key members have forwarded me emails with their invitations to Flagship First Dining. Reports suggest that Concierge Key members are receiving emails inviting them to enjoy Flagship First Dining twice between now and January 31, 2019. Each pass is valid in conjunction with a same day ticket, and you can bring in your immediate family or two guests with you. Concierge Key members already receive Flagship Lounge access on all itineraries, so this is a nice extension of that.


American’s Flagship First Dining LAX

Here’s the email that members are being sent:

Next time you visit the Flagship® Lounge, enjoy our new Flagship® First Dining experience — even when you’re not flying in Flagship® First.

As a ConciergeKeySM member, we’ve deposited 2 complimentary Flagship® First Dining visits into your American Airlines AAdvantage® account.

Here’s how it works:

  • Visit the Flagship® Lounge in Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) or Miami (MIA)
  • At lounge check-in, tell us you want to use one of your visits for dining (when you’re not flying in Flagship®First) and provide your boarding pass with your AAdvantage® number*
  • We suggest you arrive at least 2 hours before your flight to enjoy the full experience
  • Use your complimentary visits through January 31, 2019

It’s our way of saying thank you for being our best customer. And don’t forget to tell us about your experience by tweeting @AmericanAir.

This is a nice gesture on the part of American, and a great way to build some goodwill with their most valuable customers. Logically I think the next move on their part would be to expand Flagship First Dining to Concierge Key members when traveling on international paid business class tickets, or something along those lines.

I’ll be curious to see how crowding levels in Flagship First Dining change now that these Concierge Key invitations have been sent out.

What do you make of American’s decision to invite Concierge Key members to enjoy Flagship First Dining?

Comments

  1. I mean, how many Concierge Key members does AA have? It can’t be a ton, and I doubt those members are always flying through airports that have Flagship First, nor will those people always get to the airport with enough time to have a sit-down meal.

    I honestly doubt you’ll see much of a difference.

  2. Hopefully there will be no screaming children or mileage whores who refuse to tip the waitstaff. Flagship First dining is magical.

  3. Its always awkward when the gate agent calls for CK now when boarding because there are typically 0 of them on flights. I’ve had at most 2 CKs on one flight. If anyone deserves access to Flagship First dining its the CK group considering how much they spend with the airline.

    I feel the Flagship First entry requirements are highly restrictive when you consider AA only offers first on the 777-3 and then the transcons between JFK/LAX/SFO and then maybe MIA/LAX.

  4. In Miami there are a ton of CK members AFAIK. Unless they are just crazy people who like to preboard whem they call for CK members and the gate agents dont tell them no.

  5. I have never seen anyone board when they make the call for CK members. I always find it weird that they make that call on every boarding when they know whether or not there are an CK members on the flight. Furthermore, I have always gotten the impression that CKs are high profile individuals who wouldn’t necessarily want to be singled out of the boarding process.

  6. @Cedric In my experience it’s customary in Delta SkyClubs to tip bar staff $1/drink. At MCO the staff is so helpful offering to pick up items from the buffet for you, getting another drink from the bar, etc that I always tip them as well.

  7. I’m a CK out of Miami. I would say there are often 2 of us on flights I take, occasionally 3, but that is rare…when it occurs, it is typically a DFW, LAX or ORD flight. I tried Flagship First dining at JFK last week, and it was absolutely fantastic…the food was on par with, if not better than, Cathay Pacific’s first class lounge in Hong Kong. That’s saying a lot. I often use the Flagship Lounge at MIA, but have not had the chance to try the dining there, as there are very few 3-class flights out of MIA…primarily down to South America. The 2 coupons they gave us are a great perk, and I’ll definitely use them soon. Kudos to AA!

  8. btw…one more comment…the food in the Flagship Lounges, outside the Flagship First Dining area, is also excellent. Certainly infinitely better than AAdmirals Clubs, and a really great perk as well. I don’t usually dish out this many kudos to AA, but they got it right when it comes to the Flagship Lounges.

  9. For the few number of people that use this, it would have to be a poor economic exercise… having staff twiddling thumbs waiting for the rare entry. It should be extended to equal level status of alliance airlines eg BA premier, Qantas chairman’s lounge etc.

  10. I tried Flagship dining in LAX at the food was disgusting. The place had the vibe of a Midwestern strip mall steak house with country music playing. We were served a very sweet corn soup with no seasoning and a rubber puck of a steak. There was only one other couple in the entire and they seemed to have quite the age differential. The older man kept grabbing the younger woman, while proclaiming to her how delicious the food was.

    The Qantas F lounge in Bradley was significantly better. It’s a shame we left Qantas early to try out Flagship, as we should have stayed there later. We thought that we would at least be able to score some Bollinger at Flagship, but alas, they were out of that.

  11. Lucky,

    I hold CK and actually appreciate the dinning in MIA, as flights are super short to SA from there so having a nice dinner in the airport to then sleep quickly once you board is a great thing.

    I am still impressed how nice these are, not sure for how long it will last indeed.

  12. I’ve been hoping for something like this to get to try Flagship First Dining, so I was pretty dang excited to get the email! I’m CK out of BNA, but regularly fly through LAX, JFK, and MIA for international, and choose ORD/MIA for as many domestic connections as I can becaus of Flagship Lounge access. The question will be “when do I use my FFD invitations.” LAX or MIA seem like the most logical choices, because you can order some of the menu at JFK anyway.

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