For some traveling aboard American Airlines, the travel experience just got a whole lot better. American Airlines just announced that they will be selling access to their Flagship Lounges, a move that enables general passengers to enjoy the enhanced ground product. However, access to the lounge will come with a high price tag.
Before today, anyone who had OneWorld status, a First or Business Class ticket, or American Airlines' $650 per year "Admiral Club Membership" could enter the Flagship Lounge. This meant that there was no way for an infrequent American Airlines flyer to be rewarded entry into the lounge. However, with these new one-time passes for sale, this is about to change.
American plans to sell these one-time passes at a price tag of $150, with children under the age of two able to enter for free.
American's Flagship lounge is "built around the everyday first and business class consumer." The lounge features chef-inspired meals, personalized service, a specialty cocktail bar, expansive seating, and private shower suites. It is not yet clear what effect this new move by American will have on the crowdedness of the lounges, but the high price seems as though it will be able to control the crowds.
There are a few caveats as well. Firstly, these lounge passes can only be purchased on the day of travel and at the airport the passenger will be departing from. Once the passenger boards their flight, they will no longer have access to the lounge they paid for. Additionally, the specialty dining service will not be available to passengers visiting the lounge with a one-time pass.
American Airlines operates five Flagship Lounges, all of which will have one-time passes for purchase. They will be located in the airlines' hubs at Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (JFK).
Many airlines are following the business model of open-lounges in addition to premium lounges in order to add exclusivity to their hard product while still adding something to enjoy for others. United Airlines, for example, has established a "United Club," which is analogous to American Airlines' "Admirals Club." Passengers with confirmed business or first class tickets are granted entry, while others can enter at a fee. However, premium lounges, such as United Airlines's Polaris Lounge and American's Flagship Lounge, have until this point been only available to premium passengers, United's being only available to Polaris passengers traveling internationally. It is a given that other airlines like Delta and United will be watching American's move to see how it plays out, and potentially assess whether to do the same.
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