American Airlines expands Flagship Lounge access to lie-flat Hawaii routes
You might want to head to the airport a bit early before your next American Airlines flight to Hawaii.
That's because (qualifying) business-class passengers can now enjoy Flagship Lounge access before their flights. Over the weekend, the Fort Worth-based carrier updated its lounge access policy to include premium-cabin travelers headed to or from the Aloha State on select Flagship flights.
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This includes passengers ticketed in the business-class cabin on one of the following five routes, each of which is operated by a wide-body jet equipped with lie-flat seats in the forward cabin.
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Honolulu (HNL)
- DFW and Kona (KOA)
- DFW and Maui (OGG)
- Chicago (ORD) and HNL
- Charlotte (CLT) and HNL
American's Flagship Lounges are the carrier's top-notch business-class-only lounges that've historically been reserved for flyers traveling in long-haul biz cabins, or on premium transcontinental routes from Miami and New York to California.
With this change, American's expanding the pool of eligible travelers to those on some of AA's longest domestic routes. While some might be concerned about lounge overcrowding, international traffic is still down significantly compared to 2019 levels, so these exclusive spaces shouldn't feel too cramped.
American operates five Flagship Lounges, in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York-JFK, though all of them have been closed since March 20, 2020. Miami will be the first Flagship outpost to reopen next month, followed by the airline’s four other outposts later throughout the fall — perfect timing to coincide with AA's latest access policy update.
Note that premium-cabin travelers to and from Hawaii will not be eligible to use the sit-down Flagship First Dining facilities located within select Flagship Lounges.
Additionally, it's important to note that you need to be confirmed in the business-class cabin on one of the five flights listed above to be eligible for access. Top-tier elites traveling in coach or waitlisted for an upgrade will not be admitted to the Flagship Lounge.
In airports without a Flagship Lounge, AA's premium cabin flyers traveling to or from Hawaii can now use the regular Admirals Club, nearly all of which have reopened since their mid-pandemic closures.
Of the Big 3 U.S. carriers, only AA and United operate business-class-only lounges. United hasn't yet announced a reopening timeline for its Polaris Lounges, but even when they reopen, business-class tickets to or from Hawaii don't include access.
So, if you're looking for the best all-around travel experience for a Hawaii flight to or from the mainland, it could pay to stick with American Airlines.