The AA Flagship Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) continues to offer an elevated lounge experience with a nice buffet, though crowding was bad during my visit.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Review
I stopped by the American Airlines Flagship Lounge at LAX after my flight from New York to Los Angeles. How did I have access, especially when I flew economy class on that flight? I enjoyed access because American Airlines allows same-day international business class passengers to access Flagship Lounges (or Admirals Clubs) for all connections and even upon arrival.
Upon entering the lounge in LAX T5, I was handed a black card that indicated I had Flagship Lounge access (in T5, the Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge share a common entrance and upstairs lobby). Upstairs, the card was collected and I was invited to step to the left and into the Flagship Lounge.
I had very little time this visit and the lounge was very crowded, so I did not reshoot pictures, which you can review below. In fact, my review below is still quite accurate, though I wish to provide an update on the food and drink options.
It was lunchtime and I surveyed the buffet. Options were plentiful and included:
- kale pesto and tomato rigatoni
- grilled elote
- Caribbean chicken
- Lamb sliders
A variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, and sweets were also available, as well as a live cooking station that featured miso-glazed salmon.
I love lamb and enjoyed a lamb slider as well as a Caribbean flavored chicken thigh (with nectarine salsa, sweet picked jalapeños, cilantro, and radish).
To finish off the meal, I had a trio of macaroon cookies.
Currently, the Champagne on offer is Piper-Heidsieck.
The lounge is located in LAX T4 across from gate 40 and is open daily from 4:00 am to 12:30 am.
Access is included for:
- Longhaul business and first class passengers on American Airlines or oneworld
- Passengers traveling to Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), or New York (JFK) on a “flagship” marked flight in a premium cabin
- Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire members on a qualifying same-day international flight
- Concierge Key members traveling on a same-day American Airlines or JetBlue flight
Day passes can be purchased for $150 or 15,000 AAdvantage miles.
This remains an excellent lounge. Come hungry and leave happy. But seats will be at a premium during the afternoon rush.
My original review, first published on December 15, 2017, appears below.
American Airlines debuted a refreshed Flagship Lounge this week in Los Angeles (LAX).
The new Terminal 4 lounge is larger (12,000 square feet), brighter, and far more modern than its forerunner and represents a competitive premium international lounge product.
Ben from One Mile at a Time and I visited the lounge early yesterday morning. By the 4:45a opening time, a large crowd had formed outside the lounge door, though most guests were headed to the Admirals Club.
Gone is the hotel-style keycard formerly used to gain access to the Flagship side of the lounge. Instead, an agent just outside the door will verify your credentials or you can scan your boarding pass at two readers outside the lounge door.
Just inside the entrance, a weep-staffed front desk offered booking assistance beyond. Beyond that, the familiar semi-circle window remained, though this time with new furniture all around it.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Restrooms + Showers
As you walk in, if you head right you’ll met a long hallway with pictures of classic Hollywood stars flying AA as well as bathrooms, showers, and the Flagship Dining room. I’ll review Flagship Dining in a separate post later today.
The shower suites (eight in total) were nicely appointed and spacious:
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Quiet Room
Between the bathroom and Flagship Dining is small quiet room with chairs and easy chairs. No cell phones permitted!
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Seating + Crowding
The good news for AA is that the lounge never got too crowded. By 8:30a it appeared the lounge was near capacity–an ominous sign considering the international departures to Japan and China that were soon to come. But the lounge never got so crowded as to feel uncomfortable.
You’re never far from an electrical outlet and USB port in the lounge…you won’t be fighting with your neighbor over that.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Breakfast
Upon arriving at 4:45a, a large breakfast spread was waiting, including a comprehensive buffet of food from around the world. One of the two buffet stations featured hot breakfast items including
- scrambled eggs
- bread pudding
Best to avoid the egg white frittata:
Unfortunately, the warm items were not all that warm.
On the other buffet, a more international selection included salads, sushi, cold cuts, fruit, yogurt, and breads:
Cereals as well:
I do have a question for AA: why serve yogurt in bite-size portions? Why not offer larger bowls?
At 8am, an omelet bar opened with two cooking stations. I thought the lines would be out of control, but they were not. In fact, the guy wasn’t even all that busy.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Lunch
Around 11am, the buffet made a transition to lunch. Lunch items included chicken, potatoes, mixed vegetables, salmon, rice, dumplings, and a variety of salads, cold cuts, cheese, and desserts.
Having dined in the Flagship Dining Room, I did not try any of the lunch items.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Drinks + Champagne Bar
In the buffet area, two refrigerators offered beer, soft drinks, including bottles of San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna spring water.
Eight teas from Tealeaves were available:
A special Bloody Mary area offers everything you need to create what I consider to be one of the most putrid beverages available.
Liquor is self-serve.
On the other side of the buffet is the lounge’s wine and champagne bar. I price shopped the alcohol available:
- Bollinger – $59
- AZUR Rosé of Syrah 2016 – $32
- le Volte Dell Ornellaia 2015 – $24
- Decero Malbec 2015- $17
- Band of Vintners Consortium Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $26
- Patient Cottat Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – $13
- Thierry et Pascale Matrot Bourgogne Chardonnay 2015 – $17.50
- Telmo Rodriguez Basa White 2015 – $13
Coke Freestyle machines and coffee machines were also available at two locations in the lounge.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Business Center
A business center offers two desktop computers and a printer/scanner/fax.
AA Flagship Lounge LAX Access Rules
The Flagship Lounge is accessible to travelers:
- Traveling in intercontinental first class
- Traveling to New York JFK in first class
- AA Executive Platinum
- Non-AA oneworld Emerald members traveling on any oneworld flight in any cabin of service
The new AA Flagship Lounge at LAX is a big improvement over the old lounge. Food selection is a plus, though AA needs to do a better job of keeping the lounge warm. Wi-Fi functioned reasonably well, the lounge never got too crowded, and plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports provided plugs for every guest. It’s a quality new lounge and impressive for its size.
Don’t forget the great view as well–
Next up: a review of the Flagship Dining experience.