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?