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Access to AA lounges - domestic US travel

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kermatu

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Hi all - am travelling a fair bit in the US over coming weeks. Appreciate confirmation or info on lounges I may be able to access, plus what I can expect in them, from the experts. Have seen a few posts here and on FT but am not clear. I have also been given different messages when checking-in to airports in the US a couple of years ago, so keen to know what I am entitled to.

Travelling on AA (plus one or two US Airways) flights. Always in First. All are US domestic only. And I'm One World Emerald. By my reckoning I should be able to access all Admirals Club, Flagship and US Air lounges. Is this right?

Main hubs travelling through are LAX, DFW and ORD. Also flying out of BOS, LGA, PHX and LAS once each. Any tips or preferences at these airports?

Thanks for any help offered.
 

blackcat20

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Yes, OWE gives you lounge access. Dont expect too much, they arent like Aussie lounges. A few basic snacks and a cash bar. Though they will give you a drink coupon or two.
 

Hvr

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No lounge at LAS, you can play the pokies instead if you want.

Don't forget that you also have arrival access prior to leaving the airport. Another reason for HLO.
 

JohnM

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Full access as OWE. There is a Flagship Lounge at LAX accessed by a card they will give you at the Admiral's Club entry desk. At ORD, the Flagship Lounge is separate and a little cryptic to find near gate K12. Look in the American Way magazine.

At DFW, the Admiral's Club to use will likely be determined by which terminal you're flying out of. Admiral's Clubs are all pretty comfortable but don't expect anything much in the way of free food and bev. They'll give you one drink voucher.
 

Austff

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No lounge at LAS, you can play the pokies instead if you want.

Don't forget that you also have arrival access prior to leaving the airport. Another reason for HLO.
Can you explain how arrival access works ? .
There is an amex centurion lounge in LAS .
 

MEL_Traveller

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Yes, OWE gives you lounge access. Dont expect too much, they arent like Aussie lounges. A few basic snacks and a cash bar. Though they will give you a drink coupon or two.

I find AA lounges on the whole to be superior to QF clubs. Free open bar with house spirits, or with the vouchers for OWE/QF Club you can get premium drinks, even at 8am in the morning if you so desire.
 

sergeyvzn

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I find AA lounges on the whole to be superior to QF clubs. Free open bar with house spirits, or with the vouchers for OWE/QF Club you can get premium drinks, even at 8am in the morning if you so desire.

one downside is food in there, or a complete lack thereof. You can get pretzels, apples and muffins and that's all
 

MEL_Traveller

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one downside is food in there, or a complete lack thereof. You can get pretzels, apples and muffins and that's all

and spicy trail mix!!!

seriously though, the food at the QF club is nothing to write home about. and it's been the same for the last quarter of a century. (the CBR club used to have better food, not sure if that's still the case?)

at least in AA lounges I have good alcohol! (and a shrimp ring (thawed for our convenience) in Flagship lounges).
 

sergeyvzn

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and spicy trail mix!!!

seriously though, the food at the QF club is nothing to write home about. and it's been the same for the last quarter of a century. (the CBR club used to have better food, not sure if that's still the case?)

at least in AA lounges I have good alcohol! (and a shrimp ring (thawed for our convenience) in Flagship lounges).

The spicy trail mix does not do it for me -:) I'm still in shock after I was asked USD8 for a sandwich in the SFO Admirals club in September...
While Qantas Clubs/lounges food is nothing to write home about, it's still there
 

aaflyer

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Full access as OWE. There is a Flagship Lounge at LAX accessed by a card they will give you at the Admiral's Club entry desk. At ORD, the Flagship Lounge is separate and a little cryptic to find near gate K12. Look in the American Way magazine.

At DFW, the Admiral's Club to use will likely be determined by which terminal you're flying out of. Admiral's Clubs are all pretty comfortable but don't expect anything much in the way of free food and bev. They'll give you one drink voucher.

Do not be afraid to go back and ask for more drink chits. I've often been given 2-3 at a time.

As mentioned, the Flagship Lounge in ORD and LAX do not have that issue, it's a self service bar.

Be sure to tip the bartender a dollar or three if you're ordering premium spirits with your voucher. It turns it into a heck of a cocktail very quickly (basics do not require chits, including domestic beers and very sub-par spirits).

The JFK terminal also has a Flagship lounge to the right of the main lounge, also accessible with a keycard like LAX, if you're ever there.

The T4 LAX Flagship lounge is also an excellent place to celebrity spot.

LAS, as mentioned, has an Amex Centurion lounge. Open to Plat Charge Card and Centurion card holders for free, and any other amex card will get you for $50. Complimentary food and beverages, and it's quite nice. Or, you could always sit on the pokies and waste cash (and smell the Cinnabonn wafting throughout the entire terminal). If you're a fan of Oceans 11, you'll see plenty of where it was filmed there too. DFW has several lounges, they're OK but nothing special.

And, if you have any unusued drink chits, offer them to one of the 'locals'. They don't get complimentary spirits, so it's typically my good deed for the frequent traveller as I leave.
 

kermatu

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Thanks all for the info. I typically get to airports a bit early as security queues and lots of walking are a hassle, so I give myself time. Nice to know there'll at least be some lounges to sit comfortably in, particularly if/when there are delays. Travelling first so should be ok for food and drink but I'll never say no to a scotch or two.
 

aaflyer

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Thanks all for the info. I typically get to airports a bit early as security queues and lots of walking are a hassle, so I give myself time. Nice to know there'll at least be some lounges to sit comfortably in, particularly if/when there are delays. Travelling first so should be ok for food and drink but I'll never say no to a scotch or two.
Definitely don't expect too much from food on board AA in F. If you have a flight over 2 1/2 hours, you can 'select your entree' via aa.com (use your PNR and manage your booking). This is time dependant though.

The food in F has never been great, then suffered seriously a few months back as they alligned themselves with the US F policy, and are slowly backing out of that to a mid point somewhere in between the new and old (but i've never had a 'good' meal on AA F, simply an acceptable meal).
 

kermatu

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Have selected my entrée already on a couple - yes, the options look rather limited (and repetitive) and I'm not expecting much. Selected flights as much as possible that have 'lunch' or 'dinner' otherwise I think their new policy means you'd be lucky to get a sandwich even in first.

I am preparing for the 'shock' of going from the QF first lounge to US lounges. First world problem I know.
 

kevrosmith

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I recently did a bunch of flights in USA on AA F, and while the food onboard is not spectacular, the service reminded me of all the little things that QF domestic J used to do: before take-off drink (and this can be anything from the bar, not just water or juice), hot towel, pre-meal drinks with warmed nuts (not just a packet of pretzels and cashew (yes, that's singular)), full tray meal (decent size and not shrinking like QF) and drinks. Sure, it's not QF International First meals, but I found them fine to eat.

LAX Flagship had some food out when I was there. Self-service drinks as others have mentioned.

The Flagship in ORD is a bit hard to find (doesn't open until after 7am I think I remember), and it's a bit of a walk down to the end of K Concourse. No showers in ORD Flagship: have to go back to AC.

DFW: the people mover train is easy to get between terminals. If you've got time, you can go for a lounge hop around each terminal. Definitely try out the showers in (I'm pretty sure it was C terminal AC... might've been A). It has a small gym with treadmill, bike equipment, if you want to do some exercise, and the showers are full on rainfall showers with side vents etc. It made me guilty thinking about all the water I was wasting, but I don't think they have too many water issues over there...?

Thumbs up for leaving a tip for bar staff. Thumbs up for leaving unused drink chits with locals... as I left, I'd offer them to people waiting to enter.

My suggestion is also to have some chocolates or a small gift to give to the Lounge staff... they'll love your Aussie accent, and nothing will be too much trouble if you have any problems if you endear yourself to them. I was well looked after once I gave them each an Aussie-themed key-ring, which I'd brought from home.

Say Hi to Shelley behind the bar in the US Airways Lounge at BOS if you happen to be there. I flew out on US, so not sure if AA flights are same terminal...?

All (most?) Lounges in States are silent: no announcements. Always leave 5 or 10 minutes before boarding time and be at the gate for start of boarding, especially if you have carry-on luggage you want near you, even if in F. Locker space is always at a premium. Also watch out for gate changes, especially in DFW. Ask the Lounge Angels when you arrive and also when you depart, and sometimes even watch the screen once you are walking on your way. I've had a last-minute change before. Better still, use a service like TripCase or Tripit which will message you for changes to boarding gates/times, often before they even show up on departure screens.
 

kermatu

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More excellent advice and tips. Thank you. (What a great forum this is).

What you describe as the full drink and meal service kevrosmith is my recollection of a couple of first flights on AA 3 or 4 years ago. If that's retained it sounds fine.

Have transited DFW a few times and even though I have mobility issues and walk slowly have managed to exit a plane, transfer terminal, and board another flight in approx. 9 minutes. My suitcase made it too. Very efficient airport and easy to get around.

Thanks all also for tips re tipping and gate changes/non-announcements. Do they have screens in the lounges? If not, I'll get the relevant apps - but are they accurate? I usually leave a lounge a bit early for the above reasons so should be ok. Worst thing is to leave a lounge only to then see a flight is delayed.
 
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kevrosmith

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Thanks all also for tips re tipping and gate changes/non-announcements. Do they have screens in the lounges? If not, I'll get the relevant apps - but are they accurate? I usually leave a lounge a bit early for the above reasons so should be ok. Worst thing is to leave a lounge only to then see a flight is delayed.

Yes to having screens in the lounges.

I found the TripCase and Tripit services were almost more up-to-date and accurate than the refresh rate of the screens sometimes. One of services (can't remember which one, sorry) is a subscription paid service for the flight notifications, but you can sign-up for 30 days free and then just cancel the subscription at the end of the 30 day period (assuming your travel period is less than 30 days).
 

kevrosmith

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Worst thing is to leave a lounge only to then see a flight is delayed.

Yes, that reminds me... one time I actually got a Tripit/Tripcase delay notification as I was walking out the Lounge. Just meant I could turn around and go back in 1. to confirm the delay and 2. to wait-out the delay.
 
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