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Inside the American Airlines Admirals Club at San Diego Airport

August 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM | by | ()

It’s been a long time coming, but British Airways has recently added to its American destinations with its Heathrow-San Diego route which started June 1. When we flew it recently, what we were most interested in was what they were using as a lounge because, for all its faults, BA usually does lounges pretty well.

Turns out they’re using the American Airlines Admiral’s Club at SAN. Would it live up to its BA step-siblings? Only one way to find out.

The lounge is just through security in Terminal 2; as in, tucked away discreetly to the side behind security, so it’s a little confusing to find. Discreet is also the word for the doorway; there’s just a tiny plaque announcing its presence under the bell, and advising you that “proper dress” is required for access.

· Seating options

There’s plenty of sunlight and good views in the lounge, thanks to its huge windows backing onto the runway. And although it’s pretty small, it seems bigger thanks to those windows, light colors and a high (and pretty – with cut outs) ceiling. Black and white abstract pictures of plant details and the like are scattered around.

The seating area is basically one big room partitioned into two. Behind that, there’s a smaller area with a TV and plants, beside the bar. Chairs were comfy and, most importantly, there were plenty of power outlets. Most people seemed to be congregating in the areas by the coffee and the bar, leaving the other section an unofficial quiet zone.

· Entertainment
TVs in two out of three sections of the seating areas. The newspaper rack had USA Today, the Financial Times and the San Diego Union Tribune, along with a big sign asking you not to remove them from the club. Because the UT is worth stealing, obvs.

· Food and drink
Not great, and laid out pretty disparately. Coffee, tea and cookies tucked away in a corner of the main seating area, with celery, mini tomatoes and dip within grabbing distance of the seats. There was also a plate of bananas, grapes and crackers. At the bar there was a tray of sandwiches: ham, cheese and salad. They were pretty good. Not sure about the separate tray of pickles, but each to their own. Near the bar was another stand of crudités and dip, as well as chips and crackers.

· Technology
WiFi is free—just ask for the password at the desk—and there’s a small business center with three computers and a printer. There’s a fax machine, too, just in case you’re still in the 90s. The first page is free to send or receive, and subsequent pages are charged at $1.50.

There are also two conference rooms, which you can either book in advance or jump on if it’s free when you get there.

· Bathrooms
Just two stalls for the ladies in a lounge that seats 182 and serves longhaul flights? Ohhhkayyy. On the plus side, they were clean.

If you don’t qualify for access, you can, of course, pay $50. Is it worth it? Probably not unless you’re feeling flush. The gate area, however, is pretty small for a large international flight, so were things to get tight there, or the flight delayed, it might be worthwhile. One frequent flyer described it to us as “pretty crap," and no, it was nothing groundbreaking, but then again, it’s a (mostly) domestic lounge in not a huge airport so it’s not going to deliver the moon on a stick. It may have been small, but it was clean and comfy, and staff were nice—so what it did, it did well.

[Photos: juliab for Jaunted]

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