I am fairly new to writing about my travel experiences and up until recently, had not had the opportunity. So when I was booking my American Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles and noticed a small difference in price between economy and business, I jumped at the chance to travel business class for the first time.
Flying business class allowed me access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Terminal 8 at New York JFK. On Wednesday 17th February 2016, American Airlines announced that the airline was refurbishing their lounges at JFK, LAX and Chicago O’Hare International Airport and also introducing the Flagship Lounges to DFW, MIA and Philadelphia International Airport. The upgrades and new lounges would create a more expansive space with more modern furnishings which would allow more premium customers the opportunity to use the lounge. Access to the lounge is granted to qualifying first and business customers, qualifying AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and platinum, AAdvantage ConciergeKey and also OneWorld Emerald and Saphire. For more details on who can access the lounge, click here. The upgrades and new Flagship Lounges were due to be completed throughout 2017.
American Airlines also announced that they would become the first American airline to offer Flagship First Dining and Flagship Dining which would allow passengers to enjoy a pre-flight meal with table service and elegant dining with JFK, DFW, MIA and LAX airports providing the service.
On Monday 27th November 2017, I was lucky enough to enjoy the Flagship Lounge at New York JFK and here is my review.
Accessing the lounge is fairly easy and should not cause any problems. Immediately after coming through security, walk towards duty-free and the departure gates; as the walkway begins to slope, stay left on the elevated walkway and you will arrive at the lift and stairs to the American Airlines lounges.
Both the Flagship Lounge and Admirals Club share an entrance with the Flagship Lounge entrance on the left and the Admirals Club entrance on the right.
After having my ticket checked, I was directed to the Flagship Lounge and walked down a long walkway to the lounge.
I arrived at the lounge at 9am and during my time in the lounge, the number of people fluctuated quite a lot. At the beginning of my time in the lounge, it was reasonably busy with people seated in all parts of the lounge but when I left the lounge I was one of the last few people in there.
The lounge is designed to be very spacious and offers a variety of different seating options including workstations, armchairs, sofas and elevated seating. The seating towards the entrance of the lounge is more bar/cafe style, the seating towards the back of the lounge is more private and comfortable. Some of the workstations were provided with computers but some were left empty for those who wished to use their own devices.
TV’s, newspapers and magazines were also provided in the lounge for those customers who wanted to keep up to date with the news on TV or read a newspaper or magazine to pass the time. Although the lounge was quiet, there was also a quiet room for the people who wanted to focus or enjoy the complete silence. Power outlets were situated in every seating area making it easy to charge your electronics wherever you decided to sit. I found it strange that I did not have to enter a password when I connected to the Wi-Fi but the network name and password were shown at each seating area on little signs. The Wi-Fi worked fine and I did not have any problems accessing and browsing the internet.
The toilet facilities are very modern and clean, with the only negative being the doors, which do not stretch all the way from floor to ceiling. This leaves a significant gap under the door which results in a slight lack of privacy. Towards the back of the lounge are the shower rooms which customers can use during their time in the lounge.
In terms of the food and dining experience, I found it to be a very well prepared selection of food, with a variety of different choices available. Whilst I was in the lounge, the selection of food available was from the breakfast menu and included bacon, eggs, potatoes and other foods including croissants, toast, cereals and yoghurts.
A variety of hot and cold beverages were available for customers and there was also a premium wine table stationed in the middle of the lounge. Customers could choose from a cold beverage from the fridges, a variety of different Coca-Cola’s from the machine and also a variety of hot beverages from either of the hot drinks machine. All food and drink are free of charge including the selection of drinks available on the premium wine table.
As I mentioned, this was my first taste of the business class experience and this being my first time, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the lounge peaceful, quiet and very spacious. The hot and cold drink beverages had a great choice and the seating provided allowed you to relax comfortably. One thing I would like to see improved is the choices of food made available from the self-selection area. Only a few pieces from a normal breakfast were made available and it would have been nice to have a full breakfast. Having said that, this may have been available through the table service, which I did not use on this occasion. The lounge is only available to qualifying passengers and I believe the passengers who have access to this lounge will enjoy the whole experience. The food selection was good, the lounge is quiet and there is a lot of room for everyone to sit back and unwind before their flight.
DISCLAIMER: The business class ticket used to enter this lounge was purchased using my own money. I am not in partnership with American Airlines and all views in this review are my own.