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.
|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.
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.
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.
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