Saturday, January 12, 2013

LAX AA Flagship Lounge

One World lounge tour of Tokyo Narita
NRT-LAX AA business class
LAX AA Flagship Lounge
LAX-NRT AA business class
NRT JAL domestic Sakura lounge

The AA Flagship Lounge (FL) is American Airlines' first class lounge product.  These exclusive lounges, which are only found at LAX, ORD, JFK, and LHR airports, completely blow AA business class lounges (Admiral's Clubs) out of the water.  Access to FLs is restricted to passengers flying on long-haul first class international and transcontinental flights as well as One World Emerald members.  Since I had layovers in LAX for both my en route and return segments, I was granted access to the FL as a One World Emerald member, which is given to all AA Executive Platinum elites.  Unfortunately, my arrival at LAX was preceded by a severe storm, which compromised the FL's roofing, resulting in flooding and lounge closure.  Fortunately, the roofing issue was fixed in time for my return layover in LAX.

My 6:45 am SFO flight arrived in LAX at 8:20 am, giving me a 2 1/2 hour layover before my transpacific flight back to Tokyo.  The entrance to the LAX FL is actually in the Admiral's Club (AC).  Upon entry to the AC, I was given a key card which opens the sliding doors to the FL.  A desk agent eagerly awaits to serve you as you enter the FL, and a breakfast menu was posted. 

Since it was still early in the morning and I had yet to eat anything since waking up at 4:30 am, I immediately headed for the food corner.
The hot breakfast selection included scrambled eggs, chicken sausages, hash browns, oatmeal, and a waffle maker.
The cold food consisted of what I miss the most in Japan: fruit.  Included were my top three favorite fruits: strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which cost a fortune in Japan.  I went to town on them since it had felt like ages since I enjoyed these delicacies.
Breakfast starter
They replaced the cold foods for lunch and were in the process of presenting the hot lunch foods as I exited the FL to board my flight.  I got a glimpse of what appeared to be rice and vegetable curry as I walked out.
Lunch cold fold selection
The FL's drink selection was extremely generous.  Instead of soda machines and taps, all the soft drinks and beers were offered in the refrigerators as self-serve bottles and cans.  Premium alcoholic drinks were all complimentary, which is not the case at AA and United's biz class lounges.
Soft drinks
Premium alcohol
Aside from the consumables, the key distinguishing factor of the FL is the quiet and empty atmosphere.  Whereas the AC can easily overcrowd since membership can be purchased, the FL created a soothing atmosphere with low attendance.  Bose noise-canceling headphones are offered in the music listening section, and every seat has a nice view of the terminal gates.
Bottom Line
The LAX FL is a good start for a transpacific flight.  Food and drink selections were spectacular for a U.S. carrier lounge, though mostly everything falls short when compared to the JAL First Class Lounge.  However, unlike JAL and ANA, who only provide marginal differences between their first and biz class lounges, AA actually excels in the first class lounge product, making it night and day compared to their skimpy AC biz lounges.  The FL is arguably the best U.S. carrier lounge on the planet, rivaling Asian carrier biz lounges.  It's definitely worth the stop, and I'm looking forward to my second visit next week, pending sufficient roof integrity, of course.

Next: LAX-NRT AA business class


  1. You have an incredibly low bar for "spectacular" food. I've seen better spreads at Hampton Inns.

    1. If you had read the context correctly, you would have observed "spectacular for a U.S. carrier lounge". Name one U.S. carrier lounge that serves a better breakfast than the FL.

    2. I did read it in context and stand corrected. That's the most spectacular food I've ever seen compared to what's on offer in the dumpster behind Safeway.