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In the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines battled to offer premium passengers a superior product — in the skies as well as on the ground. As part of this effort, American Airlines designed aptly-named Flagship Lounges. As we approach summer 2022, American has reopened all five of its snazzy lounges as air travel returns to normal.
Along with these reopenings, travelers now have new ways to access the lounges. Here's a look at all of the ways you can access American Airlines Flagship Lounges — and why you'll want to.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
What are American Airlines Flagship Lounges?
Flagship Lounges are American Airlines' international business class lounges located in select hubs. These lounges offer "chef-inspired" buffet meals, self-serve liquors, premium wines and cocktail bars.
In addition to grabbing a drink and a bite to eat, you can relax in quiet rooms, watch TV in theater-style rooms or get a bit of work done before your flight. You can even freshen up in individual shower suites.
Flagship Lounge locations
American Airlines built Flagship Lounges in four of its largest hubs. All five were closed as travel came to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic, but all have since reopened.
Here are the hours for each of the reopened lounges:
Chicago-O'Hare (Terminal 3, concourse H/K) – open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dallas-Fort Worth (Terminal D, between gates D21 and D22) – open daily from 5 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.
Los Angeles (Terminal 4, near gate 40) – open daily from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Miami (Concourse D, near gate D30) – open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
In addition, American Airlines is currently constructing a Flagship Lounge in Philadelphia and plans to open a lounge in London-Heathrow in the future.
How do Flagship Lounges differ from Admirals Clubs?
American Airlines also operates a network of dozens of airport lounges called Admirals Clubs. These locations are available to lounge members, passengers on qualifying flights and travelers who purchase a day pass.
At Admirals Club lounges, passengers generally have access to free snacks and a limited selection of complimentary alcoholic drinks. Some locations also have shower suites, a business center and made-to-order avocado-based snacks. Admirals Club guests can pay extra for premium drinks and meals.
Meanwhile, Flagship Lounges offer a wide range of complimentary self-serve alcohol, a buffet of complimentary meals and shower suites in all locations.
How to access Flagship Lounges
You can check out an American Airlines Flagship Lounge for yourself in one of three ways:
1. Qualifying American Airlines and Oneworld flights
You can visit a Flagship Lounge if you're flying on a qualifying route in business or first class on American Airlines or another Oneworld airline.
Qualifying international routes
Qualifying international routes include flights to:
South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela).
Qualifying domestic routes
Qualifying domestic routes fall into two categories: Transcontinental and flights between the mainland and Hawaii.
Transcontinental flights include flights between:
New York-JFK and Los Angeles.
Los Angeles and Boston.
Los Angeles and Miami.
Qualifying Hawaiian flights include flights between:
Charlotte and Honolulu.
Chicago-O'Hare and Honolulu.
Dallas-Fort Worth and Honolulu.
Dallas-Fort Worth and Kona.
Dallas-Fort Worth and Maui.
Generally, passengers aren't able to bring a guest into the lounge with them. However, passengers in first class on qualifying international flights can bring one guest to the lounge.
2. Qualifying American, Alaska or Oneworld elites
If you're flying in economy, you may still be able to access the Flagship Lounge thanks to your elite status. Qualifying American AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan elites can access the Flagship Lounge anytime they fly on any qualifying international route on a Oneworld airline.
Qualifying AAdvantage and Mileage Plan elites include:
MVP Gold 75K.
Elites can bring one guest with them into the Flagship Lounge.
Even better, if you have American Airlines' invitation-only ConciergeKey status, you can get access to the Flagship Lounge any time you fly American Airlines or other Oneworld airlines. Plus, you can bring your immediate family or up to two guests.
» Learn more: Guide to American Airlines elite status
Oneworld elite passengers
In addition to AAdvantage and Mileage Plan elite members, Emerald and Sapphire elite members of other Oneworld airlines can access Flagship Lounges. Access is granted to you and one guest any time you fly an American Airlines or Oneworld flight, regardless of which cabin you fly.
3. Purchasing a Flagship Lounge day pass
Purchasing a day pass is the newest way to access American Airlines Flagship Lounges. Passengers flying on any American or Oneworld flight can purchase access to the Flagship Lounge for $150 or 15,000 AAdvantage miles per person.
Day pass access can be limited due to capacity and is available only at the lounge where you purchased it. Since Flagship Lounges feature self-serve alcohol, you'll need to be at least 21 to purchase a day pass to the Flagship Lounge.
What is Flagship First Dining?
American Airlines offers an even more exclusive and refined experience: Flagship First Dining. These exclusive restaurants are located inside select Flagship Lounges and are limited to select passengers (more on this later).
Just like at a fancy sit-down restaurant, passengers are seated at tables and order chef-prepared meals from a printed menu. Meals are complemented by high-end liquors.
Flagship First Dining locations
American built Flagship First Dining restaurants in four of its hub airports:
Los Angeles — reopening sometime in 2022.
How to access Flagship First Dining
Access to the Flagship First Dining isn't open to elites. Instead, you'll generally need to be flying in American's Flagship First class or American's new Flagship Business Plus fare to qualify. However, American also has agreements with a few of its partners to offer this sit-down dining to select passengers.
Qualifying American Airlines first class passengers
To access Flagship First Dining as an American Airlines passenger, you'll need to be flying Flagship First class on a qualifying international or transcontinental flight.
American Airlines offers Flagship First class on only two of its aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A321T — which operates domestic transcontinental flights.
American Airlines currently operates Flagship First class on the following transcontinental routes:
New York-JFK and Los Angeles.
New York-JFK and Orange County (Airbus A321T aircraft only).
New York-JFK and San Francisco.
Los Angeles and Boston (Airbus A321T aircraft only).
Los Angeles and Miami (Boeing 777-300ER aircraft only).
Qualifying international flights are limited to first-class flights between the U.S. and:
If you're flying on a qualifying international route, you can bring one guest with you into Flagship First Dining. No guests are allowed for Flagship First class passengers on transcontinental routes.
American Airlines Flagship Business Plus
The newest way to access Flagship First Dining is also the easiest to understand: Purchasing American Airlines' new Flagship Business Plus. This special fare class is offered to passengers that don't mind flying in business class but would like the first class experience on the ground. Flagship Business Plus passengers aren't able to bring a guest with them into Flagship First Dining.
Qualifying passengers on partner airlines
In addition to qualifying American travelers, qualifying passengers on three partner airlines can also access Flagship First Dining. But the rules are specific for each partner.
Japan Airlines also partners with American Airlines to offer qualifying passengers access to Flagship First Dining. However, unlike American's partnership with Cathay Pacific and British Airways, the Japan Airlines agreement isn't cabin-specific. Instead, access is only granted to certain VIP passengers.
Purchase access to Flagship First Dining
To get VIP treatment throughout your journey, American Airlines first and business class passengers can purchase Five Star Select service. In addition to the many other perks, Five Star Select customers get access to the Flagship Lounge and — in select lounges— Flagship First Dining.
But this option doesn't come cheap: Five Star Select costs $650 for the first passenger plus $150 for each additional adult and $75 per child ages 17 or younger.
» Learn more: Your guide to the American Airlines award chart
If you want to access American's Flagship Lounges
After a long closure, American Airlines has now reopened all of its Flagship Lounges. In addition to getting access through qualifying flights and/or elite status, American recently made Flagship Lounges available to anyone who's willing to pay for the access. Even better, Flagship Lounge access is now available for qualifying passengers upon arriving in an airport with an open Flagship Lounge.
The reopening of Flagship Lounges marks a significant upgrade to the ground experience for qualifying American Airlines and Oneworld passengers. And as we all long for a return to normalcy, we can appreciate this step in that direction.
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