Step Inside American Airlines' New Flagship Lounge in Miami
American Airlines is in the process upping its premium-product game. Along with a massive investment in retrofitting its fleet with lie-flat seats up front to make traveling more comfortable and launching its new premium economy cabin, the world's largest airline has a lot in the works.
One of its ground enhancements is reviving its Flagship branding by investing in a series of Flagship Lounges. They're new, premium options for the most premier American Airlines and Oneworld flyers. Already, there are Flagship Lounges open in New York (JFK) and Chicago (ORD), but the latest installment in Miami (MIA) might be the best one yet.
The Flagship Lounge and its Flagship First Dining and Lounge areas are reserved for AA's most premium customers. Passengers traveling in first or business class on qualifying international flights marketed and operated by American or one of its Oneworld partners are granted access to the lounge. Qualifying international flights include those between the US and Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City, New Zealand and South America.
International first-class travelers are allowed one guest, while other qualifying flyers (i.e. those in business class) are allowed no additional guest access.
In addition, you can get access to the lounge if you have status:
- Concierge Key members are allowed access, regardless of class of service and itinerary. Guest access for Concierge Key members includes immediate family or two guests.
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum members can access on qualifying international flights, regardless of class of service. Exec Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum members cannot access on solely North American itineraries.
- Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members are allowed access if departing or connecting to any flight marketed or operated by AA or a Oneworld partner, regardless of cabin. Emerald and Sapphire members can bring in one guest.
Once inside the lounge, AA offers first-class travelers even more exclusive access with its Flagship First Dining. To get access to the Flagship First lounge, you'll need to be traveling in first class on American's three-class international flights. Qualifying international flights are those between the US and Asia, Australia, Europe and South America. Travelers who are on eligible international itineraries are allowed to bring one guest.
Location & Entrance
The new Flagship Lounge is located in a familiar spot for AA flyers who frequently transit through Miami. The Lounge is located right next to the Admirals Club across from Gate D30 in the North Terminal.
Officially, the lounge is opening for travelers on November 21. And, once it does open, the Admirals Club next door will close for renovations. During that time, passengers with Admirals Club access will have two other options: the Admirals Club by Gate D15 or the Premium Lounge in Concourse E. Then, once the D30 Admirals Club renovation is complete, AA will close the Premium Lounge in Concourse E for renovations. This arrangement is all part of its plan to greatly improve the experience for its flyers in Miami — a large part of that will be making its lounges much more competitive.
When both the Admirals Club next door and the Flagship Lounge are open, you'll ascend up an elevator before turning left for the AC or right for Flagship access. At the elevator, there are desks for representatives to check you in and assist you with directions.
As of its November 21 opening date, the lounge will be open daily from 4:30am to 10:30pm.
Upon entering the lounge, there are another three kiosks, which will be occupied by AAgents.
At just under 29,000 square feet, the Flagship Lounge at MIA is massive. Just walking around the space could take more than 10 minutes to explore all of its open areas. Plus, on top of that, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to get lost in. In all, the space features approximately 475 seats.
Just when you think you've seen all of the seating areas, there's another corner that gives way to another section of seats. There is a lot of space.
Not only does the lounge have the space, but it's outfitted with a variety of chairs that make it comfortable no matter what you're looking for. You can opt for the firm, straight, cushioned seats or the lounge chairs suitable for a quick snooze.
The lounge is divided into two main areas — one that's quiet and one that allows for more noise. When walking in the lounge's front door, if you immediately turn right, you'll walk straight into the designated quiet area.
Meanwhile, if you continue walking straight toward the dining area or turn left, you'll encounter the louder spaces.
The space itself is modern, open and airy and features fresh furnishings with a chic design.
Additionally, most seats in the lounge have a set of outlets. Loungegoers will be pleased to hear that almost all of the seats have outlets with a couple of exceptions like seats in dining areas.
One area in particular was my favorite — it offered barstool seating from which you get an unobstructed view of the terminal below.
There are several dining areas — and no shortage of food. The main dining area features an incredible selection of both hot and cold buffet options.
The food at the buffet is self-service, which is different than you'll find in the Flagship First Dining room, which is full-service. Both the hot and cold options looked appealing, presentation-wise.
Adjacent to the buffet, there's also a chef's corner with a rotating selection of hand-crafted meals.
During the tour, I tried several of the options available at the buffet and was impressed. No complaints here!
Throughout the rest of the lounge, there are two other small dining areas for snack-size options. One is located in the designated quiet side of the lounge.
And the other is located by the lounge's business center, which isn't far from the main dining area.
For those in Flagship First Dining, you'll be treated to a special full-service meal. The menu is curated with regionally inspired dishes from Latin America. The menu's designed by AA's team of Executive Chefs, and is expected to change monthly.
Unfortunately, there were no tastings during this tour, but the dishes get high marks for looking the part.
AA isn't the first airline to the full-service dining game — United and British Airways, among others, offer premium travelers the option. But, even though American is a bit late to the game, it's making an entrance with competitive offerings.
Much like the buffet in the main dining area, the beverage counter is also self-service. There's a wide selection of liquors to choose from.
There's also a Bollinger Brut tub with several bottles inside.
Right next to the beverage counter is also a designated wine bar. There, you'll find wine in a cooler along with plenty of glasses and, you guessed it, more seating.
In the small dining area on the quiet side of the lounge, there's also a "Craft Your Own Cocktail" section where you do just as the name suggests — craft your own cocktail.
There's also a soft drink station on one wall of the main dining area — soda machine, coffees and more.
Sandwiched in between the quiet area and the noisier section of the lounge is a theater room with two large TVs and plenty of seating.
There's also a business center. Aside from the three computers that occupy some of the space, the seating itself isn't different from what you'd find in other parts of the lounge.
In addition, you'll find shower rooms and smaller spaces designated as quiet zones.
The Miami Flagship Lounge is a massive addition for the carrier — literally. At almost 29,000 square feet it's a huge space that's easy to get lost in — in the best way possible. Whether you're in the mood for quiet time or a great meal, there's room for everything. MIA is a great airport for American to be investing lots of cash in. It's the airline's primary gateway to Latin America, and the airport sees many of the carrier's three-cabin aircraft that feature a true first-class product. If you have access, (and once it opens) you're definitely going to want to spend some time exploring this lounge.