As someone who had traveled quite a bit, I am very comfortable with airports. Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t goof up every now and then.  I still don’t think I lived that one down when I took my family to the AA Admirals Club lounge — only to be denied access.

Denied access to AA Admirals Club Lounge

My family and I were on our last segment from an international trip.  I mentioned to them that we can rest up at the AA lounge before our connecting flight.  I had the Citi Prestige card.  One of the card benefits (which had been removed as of July 2017) was that cardholder and 2 guests are granted AA lounge access.  I also had 2 Admirals Club Day Passes at the time.

Except, the whole thing didn’t quite pan out the way I planned.

I checked in as usual and handed my card to the staff.  She asked for our boarding passes.  After looking through our boarding passes, she explained that we won’t have access. “With this card”, she says, “you have to be flying on AA”.

“Oh!” I said, as the mistake dawned on me.  She was absolutely right, since we were not flying AA on the connecting flight.  Without thinking, I asked, “Do you take Priority Pass?”  She emphatically shook her head.  I should’ve known better, but it was the tail-end of a long trip and I was caught off guard.  I took out the Admirals Club Day Pass and asked, “Do the day passes require that passengers be flying on AA?”

An Exception?  Guess I’ll never know.

She asked how many people we have, and looked to get a count.  We were the only party checking in at the time.  She paused, looking as if she’s thinking if she could make an exception, given that I do have a membership.  “I might be able…” she began to say, very hesitantly.

At this point, I made up my mind.  I interrupted her, intentionally.  She seemed like an awfully sweet person and I didn’t want to put her in a tough spot.  I didn’t have enough day passes to cover everyone anyway. While lounge access is always nice, it’s really not a big deal to me — there’s still plenty to do at the airport.  “It’s OK. Don’t worry about it” and politely thanked her for trying to make it work for us.

Of course, as we left the lounge to head to the food court, my brother with his comedic timing, joked, “Ha, what just happened?  Were you just denied access to the lounge?”

Is The Second Time a Charm?

Of course, on one of the next trips, I once again mentioned to my parents that I’ll take them to the AA lounge.  They had doubts after what happened last time.  I reassured them, “Don’t worry, we definitely have access this time because we are flying on AA!”     Instead, they handed me their boarding passes and insisted that they will wait by the entrance until I confirm access.

I gave them a funny look but I thought my parents (non-frequent fliers) were just hilarious.

In an amused mood, I greeted the lounge staff.  I explained to her that I’m here for lounge access and it’s me and two guests.  “Where are the other two guests?”, she asked, confused, looking around for my invisible guests.  I can’t help but laughed heartily at her question.

“Oh, they are by the entrance.  My Mom and Dad, over there”, looking back.  In good spirits, I continued to explain. “I goofed up last time and we were denied access to the lounge.  They just wanted to be abundantly sure that they have access before coming in.”

The staff smiled widely at me and said, “Awww, they are so cute.  You definitely have access.  Tell them to come up”, she said warmly, smiling and looking at their directions.  I gave them thumbs up, and waved them over.  The staff welcomed them to the lounge, and off we headed off to the lounge.

Redemption is so sweet.

Ah, and how fun it is these little things make traveling so funny and memorable. That is, if you’re not too serious to laugh at yourself.

 

Have you had a similar experience, especially when traveling with folks who are non frequent fliers?