American Airlines offers four Flagship Lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and London. These are special additions to the Admirals Club network and are offered to premium cabin passengers and to Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members who are traveling on transcontinental or international flights. I had the privilege of visiting the London club in Heathrow’s T3 when returning from Stockholm.
There are several lounges in T3 all in the same area, and many passengers who have access to the Flagship Lounge probably also have access to British Airways’ Galleries lounge next door. I’ll review that one separately.
My first impression was that the Flagship Lounge looked very much like Admirals Clubs in the United States: a lot of brown and other warm tones. Furniture was ample for the number of people in the facility, but otherwise the space seemed a bit small. One bank of lounge chairs by the entrance sat across from a larger dining area with barstools, tables, and booths. Toward the back, many more lounge chairs sat on a slightly elevated platform with a view of the apron.
Shower rooms are available, though I didn’t need one as I was just beginning my trip, and the lounge doesn’t cater to arriving passengers. But it could be useful for connections on longer trips.
I took a seat in one of the lounge chairs by the entrance, along with some scones and a cup of coffee to supplement the meager breakfast I’d had in Stockholm earlier that morning. I was able to get a good 30-40 minutes of work done and recharge my devices before I decided to set those aside for a more substantial meal.
The only frustrating thing about the meal service was that there seemed to be very little flexibility in the rules. I was originally sitting in the one of the lounge chairs next to the dining area, but when I asked for a menu I was told I’d have to move if I wanted anything to eat. (An exception was made for the older woman sitting across from me.) So I moved three feet and got my meal. Then brunch service ended and immediately the menus were replaced with those for lunch. Another guest who just sat down still had a brunch menu in his hand, tried to place an order, and was told it was no longer available.
Once my eggs florentine arrived they were quite good — maybe a little salty, but better than I expected for free food in an airport lounge. U.S. carriers get a bad rap in that department. American has generally been better than its domestic competitors, however, by offering an extensive list of food-for-purchase at many clubs.
I ended my visit by mixing a couple drinks from the self-serve bar. I was pleased to see there was Campari available (my basic yardstick for a first class lounge) and managed to eyeball a Negroni.
Given the other options available in this terminal and my review tomorrow, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn I preferred my time in the British Airways Galleries First lounge. However, I was still very pleased with my experience at the Flagship Lounge, which was a definite step above my typical Admirals Club experience. It just surprises me that these carriers continue to offer both options rather than collaborate.