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Frequent flyers are in for a treat because Alaska and AA lounges reopen and are now back in business. There’s been a long drought of airline lounges for months and surely, a lot of you already miss those complimentary cocktails, free WIFI, and first-class dining.
What To Expect As Alaska And AA Lounges Reopen:
- American Airlines frequent flyers will get a taste of a new and much improved menu inspired by chefs from the James Bear Foundation.
- People traveling to and from Hawaii in American Airlines Flagship First and Flagship Business will have lounge access.
- Alaksa Airlines opens a brand new lounge at the San Francisco Internation Airport (SFO)
- Cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card will get 50% off on a lounge day pass.
- The SFO lounge will be open to select Oneworl Emerald and Sapphire members.
It looks like the airline industry is slowly bouncing back from a hiatus. Just these past few months, Delta Airlines has made improvements on its food and IFE services and Singapore Airlines has also added family pooling for its KrisFlyer members. Expect more airlines to step up their game as the year ends.
AA Flagship Lounges Reopening With New Food Options
American Airlines has announced a couple of weeks back that it will gradually reopen its Flagship Lounges this fall of 2021. The airline has five lounges across the U.S – Chicago, Miami, New York (JFK), Los Angeles, and Dallas/Fort Worth.
However, it’s not just that reopening of the lounges that flyers should be excited about because the airline has also plans of improving its Flagship First Dining program by offering new food options.
Here are American Airline’s Flagship Lounge locations and their expected opening dates. The list below also includes the outposts that include Flagship First Dining.
- Miami International Airport Concourse D (MIA) – Flagship Lounge reopens on September 28 and Flagship First Dining reopens on September 30.
- New York John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 8 (JFK) – Flagship lounge reopens on September 14 and Flagship Dining reopens on September 14.
- Dallas/Fort Worth Terminal D (DFW) – Reopening late in Fall (Has Flagship First Dining).
- Los Angeles Terminal 4 (LAX) – Reopening late in Fall (Has Flagship First Dining).
- Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3 (ORD) – Reopening late in Fall (Doesn’t have Flagship First Dining).
In partnership with the James Beard Foundation, American Airlines plans to work with renowned local chefs in each of its Flagship Lounges. The goal is for each Flagship Lounge to offer hometown food as a way of promoting American food culture, equity, and sustainability.
Here are the chefs for each Flagship location that AA is partnering with:
- DFW, Chef Tiffany Derry
- MIA, Chef Timon Balloo:
- JFK, Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja
- ORD, Chef Sarah Grueneberg
The chef in charge of the LAX Flagship Lounged will be named later.
“The Flagship Lounge and Flagship Dining experience brings a whole new level of luxury to our customers’ journey, and we are thrilled to showcase our new offerings,” said Clarissa Sebastian, Managing Director of Premium Customer Experience and Onboard Products. “With revamped menus designed in collaboration with awe-inspiring chefs and even more ways to access the lounge, we can’t wait to open the doors and serve our customers this fall.”
AA Lounge Access Now Available On Hawaiian Flights
Flagship Lounge access used to be available only for transcontinental flights but not anymore. First-class passengers traveling to and from Hawaii can now get lounge access in these routes below:
- Honolulu (HNL) and Dallas (DFW)
- Honolulu (HNL) and Chicago (ORD)
- Honolulu (HNL) and Charlotte (CLT)
- Maui (OGG) and Dallas (DFW)
- Kona (KOA) and Dallas (DFW)
Hawaii has eased down on travel restrictions since June 15 so it’s the perfect time to book a flight to these beautiful islands now that you have lounge access.
New Alaska SFO Lounge Comes With More Ammenities
Alaska Airlines has just announced the opening of its brand new 9,200 square feet lounge at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Travelers should expect a Bay-Area-inspired lounge that will give them a glimpse of what the city has to offer.
The Lounge will feature artwork coming from local artists and a gallery that is curated by San Francisco-based art community Minted. In the main lounge, travelers will be greeted by Anne Neely’s painting which is called the “Offshore.” It’s an artwork that promotes the battle for climate change and also a way to honor Alaska’s commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation.
“After much anticipation, we’re thrilled to give our guests a place to work, relax, unwind and enjoy some of the best of what the Golden City has to offer when they travel through SFO on Alaska or a oneworld partner,” said Sangita Woerner, senior vice president of marketing and guest experience at Alaska Airlines. “Hands down Alaska offers the single best value of any airport lounge membership in the country. Our eight lounges redefine the guest experience and offer a calm oasis for every type of traveler including kid-friendly spaces, peaceful nooks, local wine or beer, and tasty, locally sourced bites.”
Kid-friendly Spaces And More Food Options In Alaska SFO Lounge
Families will surely enjoy the new Alaska SFO Lounge because it comes with a children’s play area that’s decorated with San Francisco Giants artwork and of course, the popular mascot Lou Seal.
Local craft beers and wine are also available for those who want to relax and enjoy a nice refreshing beverage during their trips. The lounge will also include the locally-owned dessert shop Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory in its menu lineup. This third-generation family business offers a wide selection of sweet treats such as jelly beans, travel-inspired cookies, chocolates, and made-to-order pancakes.
The Alaska Airlines Lounge is located in SFO Terminal 2 which is conveniently located to nearby restaurants and shopping stores such as Lark Creek Grill, Andale Mexican Kitchen & Bar, and Napa Farms Market. Travelers can get lounge access to the SFO Alaska Lounge by either flying first-class or buying a day pass.
Credit Cards With Flagship and Alaska Lounge Access
Typically, you can purchase a day pass or a monthly pass which can cost between $100-$500 (sometimes more), or fly first-class and get complimentary lounge access. However, what most people don’t know is that some cards come with free or discounted lounge access.
Now, if you want to get access to the Flagship and Alaska lounges, you can sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card which gives cardholders 50% off a lounge day pass on Alaska Lounges or the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard gives free access to Flagship Lounges and all Admirals Club lounges.
Other Cards That Come With Lounge Access
Most top-tier cards typically come with free lounge access such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve which comes with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership (gives access to over 1,300 lounges across 600 airports worldwide). The card also comes with a 60,000 welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of getting the card and a $300 travel credit every year.
Another card you should consider getting is the American Express Platinum Card. It comes with Centurion Lounge access and a 100,000 welcome bonus after spending $6,000 within 6 months of getting the card. You will also get a $200 airline fee credit every year which you can use for baggage fees.
With the airline industry slowly recovering from the pandemic, expect more airlines to slowly reopen or even add more lounges by the end of 2021. There will be more ways to earn and redeem your points as airlines start to bring the old earning categories back in the mix.