Nov262015

AA LAX Flagship Lounge Monterey MRY–London LHR trip report

One of the most undesirable aspects of LAX is a problem similar to what passengers face with international connections in Chicago ORD and New York JFK. There is no secure access for transferring from most domestic flights to international flights, meaning another TSA security screening. We arrived at LAX Terminal 6 and we did not know which terminal our American Airlines flight departed from.

[Update: I learned from the comment to this post that there is a tunnel passage between LAX Terminal 6 and Terminal 4 that allows transferring passengers to remain in the secure area and avoid going through TSA security for flight connections between Alaska and American.]

When we were handed our boarding passes printed by Alaska Airlines in Monterey, there was no TSA Precheck printed on our LAX-LHR boarding passes and no gate information. We walked from LAX Terminal 6 past terminal 5 and terminal 4 (American Airlines terminal, but no London flight listed on the monitor) to the Tom Bradley International Terminal pulling our luggage and carrying our heavy winter coats in the 75 degree temperature. (We have heavy winter coats for Stockholm next weekend where the temperature is supposed to be in the 20s.) Inside the LAX International Terminal, there was no London flight listed. There were American Airlines flights listed, but only flights to Asia. The information desk was able to look up the flight and tell us it was departing from Terminal 4, the American Airlines terminal we had passed walking to the LAX International terminal.

Back outside, pulling our luggage along the crowded sidewalks of LAX as the temperature approached 80 degrees in late November. Inside the AA terminal, I went to the self-checkin kiosk and printed out new boarding passes. I felt like a travel expert when our new boarding passes for LAX-LHR showed ‘TSA Precheck’. Still no gate information on the boarding pass and the electronic boards did not list the American Airlines London flight, still nearly 7 hours before departure.

Ironically, the TSA Precheck line looked longer than the other regular security lines. At least I did not have to take the computer out of my bag.

LAX American Airlines Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge

One of the benefits of American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite status is First Class lounge access on international itineraries. In LAX Terminal 4 this means access to the Flagship Lounge within the Admirals Club. We entered the Admirals Club and upon showing the counter agent my boarding pass, I was handed a key card. We walked into a very crowded Admirals Club and walked around the room trying to find the door to the Flagship Lounge. I went to the Admirals Club bar and asked where to go? Around the corner from the bar was the door for my key to the Flagship Lounge. We left the Admirals Club room, filled with probably around 100 passengers and entered the Flagship Lounge, about half the size, but only around ten passengers in the space.

LAX Flagship-1

We looked over the food selections. It was 11am and no eggs on a Sunday. There were hot dishes with pesto topped cod, chicken dishes, and gourmet vegetable dishes. We settled in for the next 5.5 hours watching football games, drinking and eating before boarding AA #108 LAX-LHR.

Kelley drank champagne and I had a couple of Heineken beers. The best part of the Flagship Lounge was our space with six seats remained our private space all afternoon. There were probably 25 passengers at its most crowded time in the lounge in a rectangular room about 10 yards x 50 yards.

The Flagship Lounge offered a music area with Bose headphones, computer center, showers and self service alcohol on the counter and in refrigerators. I was not impressed with the beer selection, but at least they had bottles of beer, something London LHR British Airways First Class lounge does not offer. Wine and spirit drinkers benefit far more from the complimentary alcohol selections in airport lounges.

LAX Flagship-2

LAX American Airlines Flagship Lounge alcohol and hot food

My main complaint was the men’s bathroom only had one stall. The toilet stall was occupied most times I went into the bathroom. Kelley said there were three toilets in the women’s bathroom.

LAX Flagship-3

I did not snap comprehensive photos of the lounge. I respect other passengers’ privacy. I did not even take a photo of the big cushy chairs where we seated ourselves for the afternoon with a view of the TV.

1. Trip Report Monterey MRY–London LHR AAdvantage 20K economy award: Alaska Airlines Horizon Air segment MRY-LAX

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. You can walk from T6 to T4 without having to leave the sterile area. There’s an underground tunnel. And the departure screen should have shown the LHR flight leaving from T4, so you made a mistake by leaving the terminal and walking to TBIT.

  2. @Larry – good to know there is a direct way to get to T4 without leaving the secure area.

    There was no monitor information for the flight since we were there so early in the day. Departure flight monitors did not show any flight information for flights that late in the day (around 5:00pm). The AA agent had to look up the gate number on a computer behind the counter when I was in T4 and asked.

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