At the start of the pandemic, airlines closed virtually all of their lounges, both due to the lack of demand, and due to a need for updated policies. While airlines have started to reopen lounges, most premium international lounges have remained closed due to lack of demand.
Here in the United States, all American Airlines Flagship Lounges and United Airlines Polaris Lounges have remained closed, with no timeline for them reopening… until now.
American Flagship Lounge Miami reopens in September
It has been announced that American Airlines will reopen its Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining in Miami (MIA) in September 2021. American is taking a phased approach to reopening Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining, and the remaining lounges (with the exception of Flagship First Dining Los Angeles) are expected to reopen throughout the fall of 2021.
For context, here are American’s other Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining facilities:
It’s not surprising to see Miami be the first Flagship Lounge to reopen, given how popular Florida has become during the pandemic. Furthermore, I would speculate that Miami is probably the market seeing the most eligible long haul international flights, given that there are fewer travel restrictions to South America than most other long haul international destinations.
I do find it interesting that there are no concrete plans to reopen Flagship First Dining in Los Angeles. Admittedly American has largely cut Los Angeles as a transpacific hub, but the airport does have lots of A321T first class flights to New York.
American will make Flagship Lounges more accessible
Historically American Flagship Lounges have been accessible to the following passengers:
- Concierge Key members, and non-American AAdvantage and non-Alaska Mileage Plan oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members, on any American or oneworld flight
- Those on eligible business and first class itineraries, including long haul international markets, as well as select premium transcontinental flights
- Those AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Mileage Plan MVP Gold, and Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K members on eligible long haul international itineraries
There’s an interesting update when it comes to Flagship Lounge access. It has been announced that later this summer, American will share plans to make Flagship Lounges accessible to even more premium customers.
This is interesting on a few levels:
- American recently modified its lounge access policy, giving more customers Admirals Club access, and fewer customers Flagship Lounge access
- It’s noteworthy that American is not just reopening Flagship Lounges, but also Flagship First Dining, despite the lack of international first class travel demand; this makes me think that we may see access opportunities there expanded as well
- I wonder if American will outright expand the passengers eligible for Flagship Lounge access, or simply start selling access as some sort of an add-on
American Airlines will be reopening its Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining locations later this year, starting with the Miami facilities opening in September 2021. It’s great to see these lounges finally reopen, and I’m curious to see what kind of expanded access American Airlines plans to offer.
What do you make of American reopening Flagship Lounges, and how do you think American will expand access?