The new Flagship Lounge is nice, but I was most excited to sample American Airlines’ new Flagship First Dining experience at LAX.
This lounge within a lounge is reserved exclusively for first class passengers traveling on longhaul international routes or to New York. With AA utilizing 787s without first class on many longhaul routes from LA, this lounge is in no danger of overcrowding problems.
Upon arrival, we were informed that the lounge only opened at 11am. The plan is to eventually open at 4:45a, though it appeared a safe assumption they just were not ready to serve breakfast on their first day of operation.
Ben and I walked though the restaurant door promptly at 11am. We were welcomed in as the very first guests in the new lounge and shown to table overlooking the tarmac.
The restaurant is cozy, featuring a mix of booths and tables. Natural lights streams in from floor-to-ceiling windows on the right side of the lounge.
On the other side is a beautiful bar, well-stocked, with bar seating and additional seating along an adjacent table.
A host escorted to our table. Moments later, our waitress appeared, offering us a choice of still or sparkling water and delicately unfolding our napkins and dropping them in our laps.
Rather than via a bottle, water was served in glass pitcher and tasted like it came from a Coke Freestyle Machine. Not that there is anything wrong with sparkling Dasani water, but not serving bottled water seemed a bit out of place in what is billed a fine-dining experience. Then again, this is LA…where tap water can be hip and trendy.
Our server returned with a bread basket, offering us each a dinner roll with butter covered in pink sea salt. She also offered us both a drink menu and lunch menu.
Here are the two menus, presented on clipboards:
Impressively, the back of the clipboard included the AA logo.
AA Flagship Dining LAX Lunch
Ben and I had been up since 3am, meaning it felt a lot later than it actually was. After essentially putting in a full day’s work already, we both opted for a cocktail to start our meal. I ordered Seasonal Collins while Ben had a Far Eastside.
The cocktails arrived beautiful prepared and I thought my drink was exceptional, though very weak.
Ben followed up with an Agave Cooler and I ordered an Oaxacan Old Fashion.
For lunch, we ordered Blistered Shishito Peppers to share. I then ordered a Charred Romaine and Baby Kale Salad and Ben ordered Cantonese Style Raw Spicy Yellowtail.
These appetizers arrived beautifully presented and both the peppers and salad were delicious.
For my main course, I ordered New York Strip, served with fresh herbs, wild mushrooms, and garlic-roasted peas.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really care for the sauce it was cooked in or for how the mushrooms turned out (too slimy). But the meat was good quality and overall it was still quite an enjoyable meal.
Ben ordered Miso Black Cod and expressed satisfaction in it. His looked much better than mine!
Dishes cleared, we were offered a compact dessert menu:
Every option honestly sounded appetizing, but I ordered the Signature Flagship Sundae while Ben ordered the Chocolate Five Spice Tart.
Very delicious…the highlight of the meal in fact.
The Coffee Issue
Here’s where we encountered the only service lapse. I ordered cappuccino with dessert and our server returned to inform me that the machine was broken and therefore there were no espresso-based drinks available.
Look at the picture above—all this dining room has is the same machines that are in the lounge outside. How hard would it have been to go out and bring back a cappuccino from the machine outside?
As it turned out, I was offered French Press coffee instead, which turned out very nicely. It was a fine alternative. But you get my concern: there were other cappuccino machines nearby. If AA really wants to go the extra mile, it should consider a different machine with a barista.
I had a lovely lunch at AAs’ Flagship First Dining Room at LAX. The dining room is tastefully designed and furnished and the food and service both exceptional for a US. Lounge. Even with the issues of bottled water and coffee, this lounge sets a U.S. standard for superior service and amenities.