AA's First Class Flagship Experience - A Definite A+

AA's First Class Flagship Experience - A Definite A+

January 10, 2012 - Dallas, Texas: While American Airlines (AMR) were jettisoned by the New York Stock Exchange to trade on the pink sheets last week, they still continue to raise the bar sky high with their first class products.  Let's start from the ground up with AA's Flagship experience.   Last November American Airlines (AA) launched Flagship Check-In at LAX, which according to AA's website provides first class passengers traveling onboard a three-class transcontinental or three-class international aircraft with  "an exclusive, distinct experience that expedites your check-in process."   And they do not exaggerate.

Substantial perks include:

 + A separate curbside entrance room at the terminal offers drive-up and drop-off convenience + Access to customer service representatives who can personally assist with your individual travel requirements, from check-in and baggage check to seat or itinerary changes or you have a choice to use available self-service kiosk + Immediate access to a designated premium security line, offering you expedited access through security checkpoints

The first Flagship check-in debuted at Heathrow a year or so ago and unlike the LAX Flagship check-in, welcomes business class passengers.  Expect to see Flagship Check-In launching at other major airports throughout 2012. So, no milling about with the riff-raff when flying first with American, you will zip straight through check-in and security to your own Flagship Lounge.

What's behind the Flagship Lounge door that trumps the Admiral Club?   Well, no business class passengers for starters. While AA has created excellent Flagship Experience products for business class, the Flagship lounges remain the domain of those in the nose.  According to American Airlines, their Flagship Lounge "is an exclusive, private lounge, equipped with everything you need to relax or do business. Enjoy complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, cocktails and snacks from our self-service bar. Make some phone calls or enjoy a complimentary newspaper (the Chicago Flagship Lounge is a cell phone-free zone except in the business center). Complimentary T-Mobile® HotSpot DayPasses provided by American Airlines are available at the front desks in the Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York JFK Flagship Lounges. There's also an American Airlines representative to help with changing seat assignments and reissuing boarding passes."   Did you catch the part about the Chicago lounge being cell phone free except in the business center?  It seems odd that you could talk up a storm while lounging on sofas, sipping a cocktails at LAX or JFK, but not in Chicago.

Specific Flagship Lounge signature services and amenties include:   

  • Complimentary lounge buffet complete with china and silverware providing distinctive food offerings throughout the day, such as:
  • "The Fresh Start" (Continental Breakfast)
  • "Flagship Café" (Light Lunch)
  • "Afternoon Tea"
  • "Flagship Supper"
  • "Late Night Bite" (New York JFK, Los Angeles and Chicago O'Hare only)
  • Complimentary premium liquors, regional wines and champagnes
  • Showers at London Heathrow, New York JFK and Los Angeles
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Complimentary print solution powered by PrinterOn® (New York JFK, Los Angeles and Chicago O'Hare)
  • Mobile printing capabilities with the Ricoh HotSpot PrinterTM. Print any document from anywhere - the Flagship lounge, the plane or home - all from your PDA, smartphone or internet-enabled device. For more information visit http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/admiralsclubprinteron.jsp
  • Complimentary T-Mobile® HotSpot (T-Mobile® HotSpot DayPasses provided by American Airlines are available at the front desks in the Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York JFK Flagship Lounges)
  • Bose Music Stations - Los Angeles
  • Plasma TVs

  • And that's all before you take off, or upon arrival at Heathrow. Up in the air AA really pull out all stops with a world-class first class experience. Well, make that Flagship Experience.  Not to be overlooked, another really great aspect overall of AA's Flagship Experience for both business and first class is the website dedicated to these products.   Check out www.TheFlagshipExperience.com to see for yourself all aspects of AA's business and first Flagship Experience.  Old fashioned show and tell really does work when it comes to conveying the nuances of premium air travel. Finally a carrier has put resources into showcasing on its own website exactly what you can look forward to when flying upfront.  Our only gripe is the seats are strangely shown within what looks like an office, rather than in situ on an aircraft.  Having said that, this original website clearly shows passengers what the onboard Flagship Experience looks and feels like.  So, kudos to American Airlines for providing an element to premium air travel that has long been overlooked by most other carriers.   While United/Continental continue to retool their branding, positioning and premium travel products, AA has been quietly building a stellar range of products under the Flagship Experience umbrella for the last few years.  We hope AA can weather the financial turbulence  they are currently experiencing, but for AA premium passengers it's still blue skies all the way with the Flagship Experience.  

    To learn more about a better class of service, for less, please visit www.AccessFares.com, the leading North American resource for steeply discounted first + business class airfares.

    Mel Webster is Creative Director at large with AccessFares.com and loves turning left when boarding an aircraft.       


    By Mel Webster

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