The first airline that likely comes to mind when an "avgeek" hears the words, "fantastic first class lounge" typically isn't American Airlines. Etihad, Emirates, Qatar, and Cathay Pacific are considered to have some of the most luxurious first class lounges in the world. American, well, not so much. Though, it's kind of like comparing apples and oranges at this point. Those four carriers I mentioned above, Cathay, Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad, specifically cater to a customer seeking a luxurious experience without cost being an issue. American on the other hand, doesn't have the name or the service at the moment to cater to that clientele. It's that reason that I don't like hating on the Flagship Lounges. They're practical, feature a wide array of amenities, and can be staffed by some of the most personable people in the industry. So, as I write this, I've just finished up breakfast; salmon lux, applewood smoked bacon, an egg frittata, a smoothie, and a yogurt parfait. Where did I enjoy this scrumptious breakfast? The Flagship Lounge in Chicago's Terminal 3.
Overview of Amenities+Access Info
First things first, let's review who gets access to this lounge:
The following amenities are available at the Chicago Flagship Lounge;
Checking Into the Lounge
I had just arrived from St. Louis on American however, my next flight was on Delta though, I still had access. However, if my flight from St. Louis wouldn't have been on American, I wouldn't have had access. The lounge is pretty much in the opposite direction from where Delta operates their flights. The lounge is located across from one of the last K gates in Terminal 3. My flight to JFK on Delta would depart from Terminal 2 gate E7. The walk from the lounge to my JFK gate was just under fifteen minutes. But the Flagship Lounge is intended for American Airlines, JAL, and British Airways passengers departing from the gates adjacent to the lounge, not for Delta passenger departing from Terminal 2. Location aside, I made my way to the very discreet entrance where I was greeted by one of the nicest and most welcoming lounge employees I've ever encountered. There I explained my itinerary was welcomed into the lounge.
Location within Chicago O'Hare
The one and only reason I really wanted to visit the lounge was for breakfast. The last time I had eaten anything was over 12 hours before then so, needless to say, I was starving. Little did I know that American had stepped up its catering game quite a bit. I threw my bags down, claimed a table near an outlet, and headed for the buffet. Even before I made it to my seat after checking in, the aroma of freshly cooked bacon had reached my nostrils stirring my stomach. I could tell I had arrived shortly after the buffet had been replenished. The food was piping hot, the pastries looked fresh, everything was in abundance, and it tasted fantastic. The morning buffet options included; sushi, an egg frittata, steamed potatoes, bacon, two types of sausage links, french toast, smoothies, a cheese and meat plank, assorted pastries and breads, yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit, and a few other breakfast treats.
The cuisine that the attendants always had to keep restocking was not the applewood smoked bacon or the french toast but rather the breakfast sushi. Yep, sushi, even at 8 o'clock in the morning was the most popular choice among patrons.
On the opposite side of the breakfast buffet stood the fairly large self-serve bar. Wines, spirits, vodkas, whiskeys, tequilas, you name it, the lounge had it. I stuck to coffee, a few smoothies, and soft drinks. Being a teenager and all, I didn't think it would be very appropriate to partake in the alcoholic beverages. I can't say the same for the other patrons (even though is was 8 am). I sat near the buffet for the duration of my visit, there I head the constant sound of bottles being opened and corks being popped.
Seating, Other Amenities
I'd say the single best descriptive word for the Flagship Lounge Chicago is "humble" or maybe "traditional". The seating is your standard, run-of-the-mill lounge seating. Comfortable but nothing unique or innovative. The lounge did get fairly full and seating did become limited however, I had already set up shop at a table near the buffet so, I wasn't worried about the large influx of other pax. Other than the buffet, comfy seats, and the business center the lounge features a quiet room, large selection of multinational/multilingual newspapers, and a bathroom with a vanity mirror. Unfortunately, there aren't any private showers however, showers can be found at the Admiral's Club between the K and H concourses.
I left the lounge full, refreshed, and content. Yeah, the lounge does lack the innovative and glamorous amenities of those found in Qatar, Emirates, and Cathay lounges yet, the Flagship Lounge is still a nice little haven in the busy and grey terminals of Chicago O'Hare. If you manage to meet the requirements for access, make your way over the Flagship Lounge, grab a bit to eat, charge your devices, and relax.
Trip Reports pulled straight off the aircraft. Follow my flights, experiences, and other journeys right here.
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