TPG's Sneak Peek of American's New DFW Flagship First Lounge
Flying first class is becoming a relic of bygone days as more and more airlines eliminate their highest-tier product offerings. While business class has improved, in many ways as a result of the elimination, it's rare to find true first class these days, either domestically or abroad.
American Airlines stands out as the sole domestic airline that still offers a true first-class product. And thanks to a 2017 reboot of its Flagship First program, its premium-class product — including the existing Flagship lounges in New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX) — is a delight.
The airline first teased news of Flagship Lounge at its Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) hub back in 2017, but it did not offer a firm date. In 2018, the lounge was officially confirmed in October as part of the third-quarter earnings call, and its arrival has been highly anticipated by travelers who want more variety from the lounge offerings at DFW.
The newly renovated Flagship First Lounge in DFW's Terminal D lives up to American's Flagship First brand standard, spanning a total of 35,000 square feet with seating for up to 350 travelers between the Flagship lounge and the attached Admirals Club.
The bright space boasts high ceilings and contemporary decor with a distinctly Texas flair. The space overlooks a vast stretch of the Terminal D tarmac.
AvGeeks and photographers alike will rejoice over the floor-to-ceiling windows along one entire wall that flood the space with natural light. (Unfortunately, it's a bit much come sunset when the rays shine directly into the eyes of anyone looking out the window.)
All of the dining and drink amenities are self-serve throughout the Flagship lounge, except in the Flagship First Dining area.
The lounge buffet is separated into two banks: one for hot entrees and one for cold sliced meats, hors d'oeuvres, cheese, sushi and salad fixings.
The hot food choices rotate on a seasonal basis and include vegetarian- and pescatarian-friendly options as well as multiple iterations of hearty Texas beef.
A little snack zone with nuts and candy even included a small rack of crisp bacon.
Visitors can choose from dozens of alcoholic options. They include a self-serve liquor bar located toward the back wall and a self-serve wine bar that divides one section of the dining area.
Meanwhile, beer and non-alcoholic drinks -- including Fever Tree ginger beer -- are available from two coolers flanking the liquor bar as well as from coffee machines and self-serve soda machines set up in several areas of the lounge.
Comfortable seating is plentiful, with options available throughout the space. Most comes in the form of wide armchairs with small dividing side tables, but banquettes and free-floating seating is available nearer the dining area.
In this day and age, no lounge can call itself a good one without having plenty of outlets available. Both the Flagship First and new Admirals Club spaces have plenty to spare, including standard outlets and USB sockets.
Many of the side tables even boasted aircharge wireless charging docks for easy electronics power replenishment.
A business station overlooking the tarmac offers widescreen computers and printer services.
A large bank of private shower rooms is accessible in the middle of the lounge, located down a quiet hallway with plenty of space and privacy.
Each shower nook boasts a large mirror as well as a lighted magnifying makeup mirror, toiletries, towels, a toilet and a bench for clothing items.
There's plenty of room to get ready at this sink and countertop, which also includes a hair dryer for touching up your coif after you freshen up.
Unfortunately, the fixed-height showerheads wouldn't pass the Brian Kelly Shower Test of sitting high enough for a 6'7" man to comfortably use, but the removable shower wand would work fine.
Over in the restrooms, the sparse-but-sleek individual stalls boast heated toilet seats and bidet settings for first class tushies, leading out into a minimalist sink area with room for the ladies to do their makeup over in the corner on a nice padded seat.
Wi-Fi was accessible throughout the building. Speedtest showed a download speed of just over 10 mbps, with a similar upload speed.
The DFW Flagship First Lounge also boasts American's fourth worldwide Flagship First Dining room: an intimate, curated dining experience available for eligible customers every day between 8 am and 10:15 pm.
The space, which boasts a full-service bar and a made-to-order menu with half-a-dozen seasonal offerings, is only accessible to international first-class ticket holders departing DFW.
Flagship First Dining also offers a menu of signature cocktails, with full bar service. If you don't have access to the dining experience, you can help yourself to the open bar in the main First lounge or duck on over to the Admirals' Club to find a bartender.
Main entrees are hearty and full of flavor. Healthy eaters will find plenty of enjoyable options including fresh-squeezed fruit juices and light salads. Vegetarians can nosh on an Impossible Burger, a vegan offering that's recently taken the culinary world by storm.
Passengers can access the Flagship First Lounge with an international first- or business-class ticket in hand, or on qualifying transcontinental flights in first or business class. For international flights, this includes destinations between the US and Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City (MEX), New Zealand and South America. The three-class transcon flights that are eligible for Flagship First entry include:
- New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
- JFK and San Francisco (SFO)
- LAX and Boston (BOS) – traveling on A321T aircraft only
- LAX and Miami (MIA) – traveling on B777-300 aircraft only (through October 26, 2019)
International first-class passengers may invite up to one additional guest, which encompasses any child over the age of 2, while business-class travelers are not able to bring in guests.
Not flying first-class this time? If you hold top status on a Oneworld airline, you might still be able to stop in. AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum members can access the Flagship First Lounge on departing or connecting international flights operated by American or a oneworld airline, regardless of cabin class, although the admission will not come with guest access. Qualifying international flights will travel between the US and Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City (MEX), New Zealand and South America.
Concierge Key members can access the Flagship First Lounge for same-day travel on any flight marketed and operated by American or a Oneworld airline, regardless of cabin, with guest access for immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to two guests. Finally, Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members can access the lounge when departing on or connecting to any flight marketed and operated by American or a Oneworld airline (regardless of cabin). AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro and Platinum customers traveling solely on North American itineraries will not qualify for Flagship Lounge access.
The DFW Flagship First Lounge opens to eligible travelers Thursday morning starting 5 am.
All photos by Katherine Fan for The Points Guy.