American changes Lounge Access Policies for Transcontinental Premium Class Passengers

American announced an update of their Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge access policies for passengers traveling in First or Business Class on transcontinental flights. Here’s a look at the new rules:

Traveling on a Non-Stop Transcontinental Flight?

Beginning September 1, 2012, access to the Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge will change for customers traveling on an American Airlines non-stop transcontinental flight.

If you are traveling in the First or Business class cabin in one of the following non-stop markets, we welcome you to visit the lounge as indicated below.

Admirals Club Access (new)

For many (if not most) of American’s premium class non-stop, cross country passengers this is good news: these simplified policies are much easier to understand.

Compare these new rules to the policies that they replace:

Admirals Club Access (old)

Transcontinental Premium Class
Transcontinental flights are American Airlines marketed and operated non-stop flights between the following cities:

Boston / Los Angeles
New York (JFK) / San Diego
Los Angeles / Miami
New York (JFK)/ San Francisco
Miami / San Francisco
New York (JFK)/ Seattle
Newark / Los Angeles
Washington Dulles / Los Angeles
New York (JFK) / Los Angeles
Washington Reagan / Los Angeles (effective June 14, 2012)
Passengers eligible for access must provide their government-issued ID and a ticket or boarding pass valid for departure on the same-day.

Full-Fare First Class traveling on nonstop, three-class transcontinental flight (booked in F or Z inventory)

Full-Fare First-Class traveling nonstop on two-class transcontinental flight (booked in F or Z inventory)

Business Class traveling on nonstop, three-class transcontinental flight (booked in J or U inventory)

Passengers who have upgraded to First Class do not have complimentary access to the Admirals Club lounge or Flagship Lounge facilities, where available. Passengers booked in F or Z inventory on U.S. non-stop transcontinental flights are invited to use either the Flagship Lounge facilities, where available, or the Admirals Club lounge.

Big difference. The old polices were just way more complicated than they needed to be.

Of course for passengers traveling on transcontinental flights to/from Newark, D.C., Seattle, San Diego, Boston , the news isn’t so good.

I’m not sure why American decided to exclude those people, but my guess is that either the clubs in those markets are too small to accommodate all those passengers, or that financially it was the sensible thing to do. Actually, it’s probably very likely that it was for a combination of both reasons.

I’m a little surprised though that premium class passengers traveling between DCA and LAX will no longer have Admirals Club access. American just started non-stop service between the two cities in June, and I would have guessed that given the prominence (and influence) of many of the people on that route, that American would have included them in the updated policies. But maybe it’s not that much of an issue…

Here’s a link to the new access policies.

So what do you think?  Are you impacted?   Share your thoughts in the comments section and have a great weekend!



  1. I think this is a great benefit! If only I still had executive platinum status and got complimentary upgrades now!

  2. Never mind, I misread the table. So they only care about JFK and MIA passengers, as usual. Which is one of the main reasons I rarely fly AA.

  3. It might be worth mentioning that American just closed their lounge at IAD, so for those of us flying out of there this policy change is somewhat less important.

  4. I like the changes. Simple is good. As for DCA, I don’t see any reason some elected official or lobbyist should get free lounge access just because of their power. They make enough already to pay for it.

  5. also slightly surprised that the new MIA-SEA flight isn’t included, given that it is longer than most of the others (though likely less prestigious)

  6. This is good news however I don’t need lounge access as much when I show up at a normal time to get on such a flight. I need the lounge when I’m stuck with a long layover on regular flights. If your booked into first class you should be treated like, well, first class.

  7. The irony is, 2-class trans-con flights have Z inventory, like LAX-BOS, etc., and as an EXP, it would be rather dumb not to allow entry into the Flagship lounge.

    I think more “small print” is forthcoming to make it more confusing than before. Not impressed with AA on this one.

    But if every Facebook/Google engineer and sales rep for those copyright infringing companies are NOT allowed into the lounges, I’ll go for that.

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