Chicago Flagship Lounge Review
American has really upped its game when it comes to lounges in the US. As far as their Admiral’s Clubs go, I find them to be (on average) better than Delta Sky Clubs and United Clubs. Although I have not tried a United Polaris Lounge yet, American’s Flagship Lounge is truly a game changer when comparing it to what it used to offer.
The Good: Food selection was great. There was a lot of variety and quality was top notch.
The Bad: The lounge can get really crowded closer to peak departure times (usually in the afternoon) and it can be hard to find seats.
The Noteworthy: This concept is novel for American, and they were the first to introduce it. Many elites have access to it when they fly internationally, regardless of cabin class. If you have Sapphire or Emerald status on any other oneworld airline, you can use the Flagship Lounge when you travel within the US.
Arrival at ORD
I was arriving at ORD from a connection from PHL on my way to Tokyo later that day. I was flying in business class, but since I am Executive Platinum on a long haul international ticket, I was allowed access to the Flagship Lounge.
The lounge is located on the concourse connector in the American terminal, right above it is the Admiral’s Club and they share a common entrance and check in counter. As soon as I handed the gate agent my boarding pass, they handed me a card that indicated I could access the Flagship Lounge.
The lounge in itself is quite large. When I was there in the early morning, there was ample space to sit. There are multiple seating areas. Some of these areas face televisions usually showing CNN or another news outlet. Other seating areas face the windows with great tarmac views.
There is a long hallway that leads to more seating areas, as well as a coffee bar. Tucked in there is a napping room, with reclined chairs that you can use for sleeping. Fair word of warning, when I was there the lights were kept at full strength, so sleeping without a sleeping mask would be difficult.
Opposite to the napping room corner, there is the dining area. There are a few tables, and I found it difficult to find an empty table even that early in the morning. Almost everyone in the lounge was concentrated in the dining area. The most empty tables I saw were two empty ones, which I grabbed the first one and within minutes the other one was taken.
The food spread was the winner here. There was quite a variety of options, ranging from sushi to eggs to pastries. The sushi was actually really good (I was really surprised!). They also served a berry tartlet that was cold but delicious.
In a corner of the lounge there is also a fully stocked champagne and wine bar. It was too early to drink for me, but for anyone who likes mimosas with breakfast, it’s a dream come true. There is also a soda machine and a fully stocked fridge with more soda, water and Ginger Ale. A little further back there is a bar with spirits and other liquors that is self serve. The liquors themselves are mid shelf, so they will do for a business class lounge.
The improvement between the Admirals Club and the Flagship Lounge is astronomical. The food selection is much more extensive, the lounge feels quieter, and there is a variety of free wine and spirits. This is an improvement over the “two drink tickets” AA used to give business class passengers at Admirals Clubs. Is this the best lounge in the US? Probably not. Is it a step above Delta? Yes, yes it is. If American put as much thought in its onboard product and crew training, the airline would be the leader in the US. However, this is not the case, and American continues to make the experience of flying with them worse. With the new AAdvantage changes, even with such nice lounges, American will have to offer a new gimmick to keep “just-at-the-mark” top elites from switching business to multiple carriers.
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews
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