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American Airlines will reopen Flagship Lounges starting in September

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 6/9/2021 Zach Griff
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American Airlines is getting one step closer to restoring pre-pandemic levels of service.

The airline will begin reopening its premium Flagship Lounges in September, the airline confirmed to TPG on Wednesday. The first location to welcome back flyers will be Miami (MIA), followed by the airline’s four other outposts later throughout Fall 2021. The move follows a nearly 18-month closure after AA first shuttered the entire premium lounge network on March 20, 2020.

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The carrier also teased some exciting updates to its Flagship Lounge access policy, with an announcement slated for “later this summer.”

In addition to its Flagship Lounges, the airline will also reopen its Flagship First Dining locations. These outposts are essentially a lounge-within-a-lounge, offering a seated restaurant-style dining experience — with Krug champagne available, before the pandemic — to those ticketed in long-haul or premium transcon first class on AA’s three-cabin jets.

a person holding a bottle of wine on a table: Flagship Dining facility in LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Flagship Dining facility in LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

AA operates five Flagship Lounges, four of which also feature a Flagship First Dining facility. You’ll find the full directory below:

  • Chicago (ORD) — reopening later this Fall, and this outpost doesn’t offer Flagship First Dining
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) — reopening later this Fall
  • Los Angeles (LAX) — reopening later this Fall (but Flagship First Dining will remain closed)
  • Miami (MIA) — reopening in September
  • New York-JFK — reopening later this Fall

The Flagship First Dining facility in Miami will open along with the larger Flagship Lounge in September, followed by the outposts in DFW and JFK later this fall. There’s no reopening timeline yet for the Flagship First Dining facility in LAX.

a living room filled with furniture and a table: Flagship Dining facility in LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Flagship Dining facility in LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

For now, accessing the Flagship Lounge requires either a first- or business-class ticket for long-haul travel on AA or its Oneworld partners, or on a qualifying premium transcon ticket from JFK to either Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) or between Miami and LAX.

Select American and Alaska Airlines elite members can also access the Flagship Lounge depending on their itinerary and status level. AA’s invite-only Concierge Key members are invited to use the Flagship Lounge anytime they’re flying with American.

While there were no details available, American hinted to TPG that it will offer more ways to access the Flagship Lounge.

Reopening the Flagship Lounge network is the latest sign that travel is coming back. The carrier first cited “significantly reduced international demand and reduced international flying” as the reason to close these premium outposts back in March 2020.

a room filled with furniture and a flat screen tv sitting in a chair: AA’s Flagship Lounge at LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy AA’s Flagship Lounge at LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

As the pace of vaccinations ramps up nationwide and more countries reopen to vaccinated travelers, American appears to expect an increase in its long-haul international operations, despite focusing primarily on short-haul international for the busy summer season.

Of the U.S. airlines, only American and United offer an elevated lounge experience for their premium-cabin passengers. United’s Polaris Lounge network remains shuttered, with a reopening still up in the air. Delta is rumored to open its first-ever Delta One lounge in LAX in the coming years.

In addition to the Flagship Lounge network, American is continuing to reopen its entire domestic Admirals Club network by August 2021, except for the Honolulu (HNL) outpost which will reopen at a later date.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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