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First Look at American Airlines' New Flagship Check-in at New York-JFK Airport

May 3, 2013 at 10:40 AM | by | Comment (1)

It's not too often that New York finds itself envious of Los Angeles, but in the case of VIP airport check-in lanes, LAX has it good. That is, had it good, since New York-JFK just opened an American Airlines Flagship Check-in on May 1.

If you're wondering where it is celebrities and other First Class flyers disappear to after the paparazzi have chased from the curbs at airports, it's lanes like this. The Flagship Check-in is a private zone for First Class and ultra-elite flyers, dedicated to the pre-security tasks of checking in, choosing seats, last-minute itinerary changes, and checking luggage with as little of the usual airport fracas as possible.

"20 percent of customers bring 70 percent of revenue," states American's SVP and CCO Virasb Vahidi, and with lanes like this those valued flyers may "make their own pace, feel at ease, and stay connected to what is important to them."

So, what is important to them? Privacy. Time savings. Communication. Having a nice, calm environment to settle oneself before the disheveling of security is also appreciated. That said, Flagship Check-in flyers also proceed through their own security lane and may head straight off for the Flagship First Class lounge airside.

If you've ever used the VIP channels like Virgin Atlantic have at LHR and Lufthansa at FRA, then you know firsthand the impact a smooth, personalized experience can have on a traveler. We have a friend who constantly recounts the time it took him under 5 minutes to check in and clear security through a London-Heathrow VIP lane. He always ends the story with a flourish: "...and I know I'm typically a queen, but there you'd have thought I was the Queen!"

The concept of AA's Flagship Check-in began at LAX due to all the A-listers who love flying American's true First Class cross-country. Flagship Check-in then spread to both Miami and London-Heathrow. The reason Flagship Check-in is such a big deal right now at JFK owes everything to the new American brand; this is the first Flagship Check-in to fully showcase the direction in which AA is traveling both literally and figuratively.

So, who exactly gets to pass the velvet rope and utilize Flagship Check-in at JFK Terminal 8? One of these criteria must apply:
· Traveling First Class on an American Airlines transcontinental flight
· Traveling First Class on a Oneworld international flight in your itinerary (on AA, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas or Cathay Pacific). This means if you're flying AA from JFK to DFW in Business but will connect there to fly Qantas in First, you may use Flagship Check-in at JFK.
· Hold membership in the Concierge Key or pay for the Five Star Service program. If you're eligible, you'll know what it is already.

If one of the above bulletpoints applies to your flights, then have your car drop you off at the first set of doors at JFK Terminal 8. Just inside you'll see the clean, white entrance to Flagship Check-in. Through the sliding doors await agents to attend to your travel needs, take care of your luggage, and set you off on your way to security to and the lounge. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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Oneworld designer?

That entrance looks eerily similar to QFs new Singapore mega-lounge.

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