American Airlines plans to upgrade and renovate its Admiral Clubs and Flagship Lounges as part of $1 billion in new customer initiatives.
The Fort Worth-based carrier said it will introduce Flagship Dining at four airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, where first-class customers on international and transcontinental flights will have complimentary full-service meals available in the lounges. The dining experience will be available in 2017, and also at clubs in New York’s JFK, Los Angeles and Miami airports.
“They will be able to sit down at a table, order a gourmet meal before departure and experience that, and then get on the plane and relax on a flight from New York to London,” chief marketing officer Andrew Nocella said. “Working with British Airways showed us how valuable of a feature this is for our customers.”
British Airways and American have had a joint business agreement since 2010 where the airlines share revenue and marketing on routes between the U.S. and Europe. Nocella said American needed to improve its first-class service to align with its joint venture partners like British Airways and Japan Airlines.
“It became apparent we were not delivering historically on what first class was,” Nocella said. “It’s not just first class on board the aircraft. It needs to be from the moment they book a ticket and check in at the airport.”
American said it plans to renovate its Flagship Lounges at New York’s JFK, Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare airports with more modern furnishings. It will also upgrade Admirals Clubs at DFW, Miami and Philadelphia airports into Flagship Lounges.
The lounges will be available for all first-class and business-class passengers on trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, deep South America and transcontinental Airbus A321T flights starting in 2017. Flagship dining will be complimentary for all first-class passengers while business-class passengers will have access to Flagship Dining depending on availability.
At DFW Airport, American will keep the Admirals Club in Terminal D open as it adds almost 12,000 square feet for its upgrade to a Flagship Lounge. Construction is expected to start midyear with amenities, including the dining portion, rolled out through 2017. The clubs in Terminal A, B and C will also be renovated over time.
Two years ago, the company announced $2 billion in customer investments including new seats and expanded in-flight entertainment. The upgrades to the premium customer lounges along with main cabin meals and snacks, premium economy seats and new overhead bins will cost an additional $1 billion.
“We’re investing more than $3 billion in every aspect of the travel experience — whether that’s in our airports or in the cabins of the most modern fleet in the industry — because we want customers to choose American Airlines every time they fly,” Nocella said.
American said it will open Admirals Clubs at airports in Houston and Orlando in 2016. Over the next six years, it will refresh all of its 52 Admirals Clubs with new furnishings, Nocella said. American also plans to renovate its arrivals lounge in London Heathrow Airport with more private showers and dressing areas for passengers.