Feb162016

PHL lounge reviews British Airways First and American Admirals Club

An enjoyable flight on American Airlines Las Vegas to Philadelphia in First Class reminded me that I have to remember to load an iPad in my bag for watching inflight streaming video. Clear skies from Las Vegas to Colorado Springs provided many photographic opportunities and flashbacks to roads I traveled for days on my 2013 road trip to Colorado Springs visiting the Might Five National Parks of Utah. Flying is an amazingly fast way to travel.

Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains High in Colorado

Philadelphia British Airways lounge (A Gates)

My flight from Las Vegas landed at a C gate in PHL and my flight to Amsterdam departed from an A gate. I came to the British Airways lounge before spotting an American Airlines lounge, so I decided to check out BA First first as an AAvantage Executive Platinum member and took my wife inside as my guest.

PHL BA First-1

Wine, champagne, port, bottled drinks, liquor and coffee. I had not drank a Yeungling beer in years. Despite what looks like a Chinese name, Pennsylvania Brewery Yeungling has a German heritage and claims title to the oldest continuous brewing company in the U.S. with production since 1829, when German brewer David Gottlob Jüngling started Eagle Brewery. Yeungling’s Pottsville 1873 brewery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

PHL BA beers

British Airways Coors Light, Heineken and Yeungling beer bottles.

PHL BA wines

Wine Selection

PHL BA liquor

Liquor selection Philadelphia British Airways First Lounge

Arriving at 7:00pm meant there were few guests in the lounge with the next British Airways flight scheduled after 10pm.

PHL BA lounge

Seating area in Philadelphia BA First Lounge

PHL BA food-1

Food selection included cheese, breads, vegetables and little sandwiches.

PHL BA food-2

Turkey, ham, tuna and cucumber sandwiches.

There is First Class dining and I had a desire for the scallops. Unfortunately, the kitchen was not serving food yet. No scallops, salmon or filet mignon for us.

PHL BA First Dining

There were several kinds of cookies for the sweet tooth traveler.

PHL BA cookies

The Business Class side of the lounge to the right of the Lounge reception desk was quite a bit larger, but self-service food seemed to be the same. The First Class room was to the left of reception with seating for about 12 in the area outside of the dining room.

PHL BA First business center

Computer Station in Philadelphia British Airways First Lounge.

Philadelphia American Airlines Admirals Club Terminal A West (Between A15 and A16)

While Kelley read the Daily Mail, I headed over to the American Airlines Admirals Club to see what offerings were there.

PHL bell

Escalator to the Admirals Club is behind the Liberty Bell in the A gate terminal.

PHL Admirals Club-1

The first sign that I preferred the BA lounge was the receptionist asking me if I wanted Premium drink coupons. I declined. Inside I learned there is a bartender and no self-service alcohol. There is no separate First Class lounge section in the Admirals Club.

PHL AA-1

The lounge is massive, probably three times the size of the full British Airways lounge.

PHL AA-2

The main difference in food between AA and BA lounges were two hot soup selections.

PHL AA soup-1   PHL AA soup-2

Pork Pozole or Mushroom and Brie Bisque.

PHL AA food-3

There were two areas with food on opposite sides of the massive lounge. This was the quieter side of the lounge opposite from the bar section.

PHL AA food-4

American Airlines had a better selection of vegetables than the BA lounge.

PHL AA food-5

The lounge was probably less than 10% full on a weekend evening. There were plenty of computer stations available.

PHL AA computers   PHL AA printer

All in all, the two lounges had different features. British Airways First is desirable if dining is available or you want self-serve alcohol. American had more computer facilities and hot food at a time when there was no hot food in the British Airways lounge.

The two lounges were about five minutes walk from each other.

PHL AA lounge seats-1   PHL AA lounge seats-2

The lounges provided a nice break during our two hour layover in Philadelphia before a six hour American Airlines flight to Amsterdam.

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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  1. Thanks for a useful report, Ric. Possibly more useful than you realise, given that several BA lounges in the US will only admit people who are flying with BA that day. Examples are DFW and IAH. Their policy is actually understandable in those cases, for staffing and capacity reasons, but it’s good to hear about an apparent exception.

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