Review: American’s Flagship Check-In and Lounge at LAX

On Monday, I toured American Airlines’ Flagship Check-In at LAX for a CNBC post that was published yesterday. It’s a very nice and exclusive benefit for Concierge Key members, international first class fliers on American (or any oneworld carrier) and those flying first from LAX to JFK or Miami on American’s three cabin birds. And you can buy your way in if you purchase Five Star Service.

The main thing that struck me was the lack of branding. Besides the two kiosks, there was nothing else inside to promote American. I suppose it’s a personal preference, but I would have liked to see AA’s eagle somewhere. At least they won’t have to make any changes once American’s new livery and image is announced. More photos of Flagship Check-In beyond the single one below can be found on my CNBC post.

a check in machine in a hotel lobbyFor a video tour of Flagship Check-In at LAX, check out AAdvantage Geek’s post from yesterday.

As it so happened, I was flying American on Monday, so after clearing PreCheck at the top of the elevator from Flagship Check-In, American’s managing director at LAX escorted me to the Flagship Lounge. I’ve been in the Admirals Club several times and I always wondered what the Flagship side was like.

First, here are the specs from American’s Los Angeles Airport fact sheet:

  • Hours of operation: 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily
  • 5,464 square feel
  • Seating capacity: 92
  • Private showers: 3 (one handicap accessible)
  • Total number of TVs: 2
  • Total number of telephones: 9
  • Bose music stations with headsets
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Business center with four work stations, two of which have HP PCs
  • PrinterOn capability allowing guests to submit print jobs via email or webpage uploads from any location and retrieve them in the lounge

A reception desk is immediately to the right as you pass through the frosted doors operated by a keycard. Flight display monitors are on the opposing wall. It’s basically a long rectangular room with several seating areas, a self-serve buffet and bar, business center, restrooms and showers. And just like the Admirals Club side, the tarmac views are spectacular.

a lounge area with chairs and tablesan airplane at an airporta plane parked at an airportThe bar area offers a wide array of alcohol and other beverages along with time-of-day appropriate food options. I was there during the “Flagship Light Lunch†period, which included:

  • Sliced and whole fruit
  • Gourmet cheese platter
  • Assorted crackers
  • Assorted chips
  • Granola bars
  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Pecan-bourbon turkey breasts
  • Baby potatoes
  • Roasted tomato and pepper jack salad
  • Soup Du Jour (chicken noodle during my visit)
  • Assorted desserts
a bar with bottles and glasses

Yep, the coffee machine was out-of-order

a kitchen with a counter topDining tables are present opposite the buffet, as well as high chair tables in the far corner in the same area as a game table.

a room with tables and chairsa room with chairs and tablesa chess board with chess pieces on itI enjoyed a sandwich, soup and cheesecake initially… and then went back for more cheesecake. I threw some salad on my plate, too, figuring a little green would offset the three mini-slices of cheesecake. 😉

a sandwich and soup on a platea plate of salad and cheesecakeIt’s a nice lounge – equivalent to a small business class offering overseas. But I wasn’t blown away by it. United’s International First lounges in LAX and San Francisco definitely top it, in my opinion.

Have you been inside? What’s your impression?

Related posts:

American’s ‘Preferred Seat’ Allocations a Bit Excessive?

Why an American-US Airways Merger Worries Me

Interview With the Head of American’s Social Media Team



  1. FrequentlyFlying, would you happen to know if I would have access to Flagship Check-in if my award ticket is international, but a mix of First and Business with AA and Hawaiian Air? I’m flying LAX -> HNL (stop) in AA First (Z code), then HNL -> HND in Hawaiian Air Business (D code). I’ve been wondering but couldn’t find a concrete answer. 🙂 Thanks~

    • Hi Stephanie – No, unfortunately not. As your AA segment is domestic and you’re connecting onto a non-oneworld partner for your international leg, you would not have access to Flagship Check-In.

  2. @Darren – Oh darn. Oh well, next time! First time ever redeeming for an award ticket, so hopefully next time I’ll be more experienced. 🙂 Thank you for your speedy help!

  3. I’ve been in the LAX FL twice, and was pleased with both of my visits. The SFO IFL is certainly a nice place, and usually less crowded. If I were to put them side by side, I’d likely go with the IFL > FL. The access requirements are much more selective than the FL, so it seems that they may use that to offer a better experience for pax inside.

  4. I arrived Qantas First class on the A 380 a few days ago day into the new improved Tom Bradley Int terminal (thumbs up)
    I made my way over to the outside entrance to the AA Flagship lounge curbside and was refused entrance Apparently only for departing passengers
    As a First Class arrivals pax I was able to access it from the inside the terminal through the Admirals Club
    Though the facility is certainly nice enough (been there for years unchanged) the food offerings are pathetic compared with International First class lounges elsewhere
    Ham sandwiches on soggy rolls with wilted lettuce and flavored potato chips? Tired commercial deserts
    What a pathetic joke
    A cheese plate and some cold salad? After sit down meal service and spa treatments at the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney its like arriving into a 3rd world country without quality food. Though fair enough by hospital and fast food standards
    I’ll probably be dead before American Airlines ever knows what it takes to be first class in its offerings
    That’s coming from one who has done 6 million miles in the program and thinks highly of AAs FF program
    At least until Us Scare destroys the FF program down the road 🙁

    • @D Wonderment: U.S. airline lounges, even the dedicated First Class ones, are a joke compared to their international counterparts. I’m sorry to say that yes, US lounges will never compare to those you’re used to. And the QF F lounge in SYD is one of the best out there!

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