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My American Airlines Flagship Check-In Experience at Miami

by on August 9, 2012 · 10 comments

in American

In an effort to court premium passengers, American Airlines recently launched a specialized Flagship Check-in service at Los Angeles and most recently Miami. Last week I got to test out this new service at Miami because I flew from Miami to Los Angeles in first class (on a 3-class 777 aircraft) on American using 37,500 Avios (economy is 12,500 Avios for this route) and $2.50 one way.

The dedicated Flagship check-in at Miami is walled off from the main terminal.

Flying first class on a three-class transcontinental flight entitled me to  Flagship check-in in Miami- even though I only shelled out $2.50 in cash for the ticket! I used Flagship check-in when it first rolled out as a courtesy of the Oneworld Megado. The experience was convenient and in a somewhat off the beaten path location at LAX (and I happened to check in next to 30 Rock star Jane Krakowski, which was a nice little treat).

Flagship check-in is reserved for Five Star Service customers (those who pay $125+ per person to get extra TLC in the airport), ConciergeKey members (flyers who spend a lot of money on AA or who the airline considers a VIP), passengers traveling first class onboard an international American or select oneworld alliance carriers (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL or Qantas) anywhere in their outbound itinerary, and those traveling first class onboard an American three-class transcontinental aircraft between MIA and LAX, and from LAX to JFK. The service includes customer service representatives who  personally assist with your individual check-in travel requirements including baggage check, seating, itinerary changes. There are dedicated self-service kiosks, so no waiting while the person in front of you breaks the touch screen, and passengers using Flagship check-in have a designated premium security line with expedited access.

The expedited security line was empty, glad I wasn’t waiting like the other folks you see here!

In Miami the Flagship check-in space is located right in Concourse D of the North Terminal from 4:00 am – 11:00 pm daily.The counter is in the actual terminal, but walled off and right next to security, which is more convenient, and there is a separate security line that brings you directly to a TSA agent. At Miami especially, this can save a ton of time since there are so many AA elites based here, and even the elite line can take 20+ minutes. If you’re also qualified for the TSA’s Pre-Check program, that would be the ultimate combo and you should breeze through security. Though I’m a member, my trusted traveler ID is only stored in my AA.com profile, I’d booked my ticket through British Airways, which isn’t a participating airline, so I wasn’t eligible to use it.

Flagship check-in flyers are invited to use the airline’s lounge, but there’s no separate first class section to the Miami Admirals Club, which can get pretty busy.

I still got through pretty quickly and made my way to the Admirals Club lounge at the airport to wait for my flight. At LAX, the Admirals Club actually has a separate first class area so it’s nicer and quieter than the main lounge, but in Miami it’s all one space and it’s usually thronged, though I still stopped by since it’s better than waiting in the terminal! Although I have access as an Amex Platinum cardholder, I didn’t even need to show that card- simply having a First class boarding pass was enough- even on a British Airways award ticket. It needs to be in first class on a 3 class flight to get the complimentary lounge access.

The small spread at the Miami Admirals Club where I picked up a light snack before my flight.

All in all, having Flagship check-in made my departure quick and painless  and it started me off in a great mood to get on the 777 and experience American’s first class again – there’s nothing like having a true lie-flat bed without having to cross an ocean! I wouldn’t pay $125+ for the service, unless I had a complicated itinerary and was traveling with a mobility challenged person. Stay tuned for my review of the service in an upcoming post.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • willy

    Using Avios for domestic AA flights is great but there is the issue of FF status recognition. It’s possible when you make the reservation on the BA website to erase your BA FF number from the reservation and then once it’s complete call AA to add your AAdvantage number instead. This should give some recognition of elite benefits though it is somewhat hit or miss. I don’t know if it will work with the TSA program stored in your AA.com profile. It is possible to check in online once you’ve done this so perhaps.

  • silver springer

    I assume you went to the regular Admiral’s club (either D-15 0r D-30) in MIA? My husband and I were in D15 yesterday as EXP on an intl flight and I was disappointed with the complimentary offerings (pretzel dispenser, cookies, apples). I am also a United Club member and United Clubs have substantially more complimentary food and drink choices. It appears that Admiral’s clubs are places where you order and pay from menus and maybe get a free drink or coffee. Am I missing something?

  • JW

    This would be a great addition to AMEX Platinum. It goes along well with Global Entry and Priority TSA Screening.

  • mangoMan

    “It needs to be in first class on a 3 class flight to get the complimentary lounge access.” Business class also gets you Admiral’s Club access on transcons.

  • TravelShooter

    “The expedited security line was empty, glad I wasn’t waiting like the other folks you see here!”

    Some of those “other folks” would find regular lines much more lucrative for various reasons.

  • Milezjunkie

    After you make your AA flight reservation with British Airways, pull up your reservation on AA.com and edit the passenger information. That is where you can add your Trusted Traveler number to your reservation. Whether or not that entitles you to use the pre-screened line at the airport or not I’m not 100% sure. I am flying in 2 1/2 weeks so I will let you know if it worked.

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  • Jude

    I really like your reviews. I think there is an error however in this one. I called AA to see if flying Business class also entitles you to lounge access. In other words, a 25000 avios British Airways booked ticket for an AA MIA/LAX flight still would give you access to the lounge. Also, you can add your AA number to the reservation on AA.COM (it will show up in your TRIPS) and that will allow you to apply the global entry info already saved there. In other words, you can go through the speedy line still via global entry TSA prescreened even though you booked through a British airways avenue. I’m not sure about the flagship only being first as well either. But I will find out.

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