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Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
This week we got a little restless and hopped down to Dallas for the day, with the express purpose of wandering around AA's C.R. Smith Museum, about a 10-minute drive from DFW Airport. We'll have more on it later since it is a very worthwhile diversion, but allow us to highlight their small exhibit on the history of airline lounges.
You see, American Airlines originated the ideas of airport lounges way, way back when commercial aviation was still in its infancy. 2014 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Admirals Club, the first of which debuted in December 1939 as the "Flagship Club" at what is now New York's LaGuardia Airport.
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Let’s face it. When you’re at an airport you hate and are annoyed by everyone else. In such a tense environment, it's rare for someone to be courteous, even if that means a simple smile.
Personally, we love being at airports. Everyone is coming and going all over the world and they rarely come together and interact during this transition. It's all so serendipitous, if it weren't for the stress.
Recently while flying American Airlines from New York-JFK to Miami, our first plane suffered from some Navigational Equipment problems, so we were held an additional 50 minutes which inevitably got us there in time to watch our connecting flight push back from the gate with no representatives in sight. The next flight (from MIA to EYW) was 3 hours later. That meant 3 hours stolen from our Key West beach time. AA did end up compensating me 500 miles and a food voucher.
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Roissy Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris doesn’t have the best reputation for a number of reasons. There's the confusing layout, poor signage, and brusque French staff to name a few. Escaping to an airline lounge can help make many a journey more pleasant, and over the last few years the improvement works at CDG have included new lounges for both American Airlines and Cathay Pacific, two options for those flying with any Oneworld alliance partner.
We recently flew through Paris and had a chance to explore both lounges to see what’s what. The good news is that no matter which of the two you find yourself in, they are a major improvement from before. Literally next door to each other, both are now exterior facing and have windows for walls, giving views across the apron and one of the runways. The left door leads to the Admirals Club, and the right to the Cathay Pacific First and Business Class lounge.
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In our frequent travels through Miami International Airport, we've only been to the American Airlines Admirals Club on a handful of occasions. But what we have learned is that all Admirals Clubs are not created equal.
When you have a choice between three loungesas you do at MIA if you're flying Americanyou may just opt for the one closest to your gate. But, not so fast! There are pros and cons to these lounges: size, crowd, amenities, etc.
To help you navigate the sprawling land of AA at MIA, here's a little breakdown of what you'll find at each AA clubhouse:
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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.
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There are many things that we enjoy about airports, but even the best people watching eventually gets a little boring. That’s why we’re big fans of airport lounges, and the ability to sneak away from the riff raff and enjoy a little quite time. Now we’re looking forward to relaxing and "being green" at the same time, thanks to American Airlines’ new environmentallyl friendly Admirals Club.
Of course an eco-conscious lounge would be found at San Francisco International Airport, and the new lounge is part of American Airlines’ move into the newly renovated Terminal 2. The U-Haul trucks are expected to roll up to the airport next spring to switch everything over.
Airport lounges promise respite from the sad public seating at the gates and the unhealthy diet offerings of the terminal food courts. But of course, at a premium price. All week long at Jaunted we will be detailing what it costs to lounge at the big domestic airline lounges. Got any suggestions or tips? Let us know.
American Airlines Admirals Club
· How Much: $50 per person per day. If you join within 30 days of buying a day pass, they'll take that $50 off the cost of the annual membership fee of $500. Passengers flying first class domestically will have access to the lounge as long as they paid for a full-fare ticket. For those going abroad, first and business class tickets will get you and one guest into the lounge.
· Internet Access: Free WiFi thanks to T-Mobile Hot Spots. There's computers as well with high-speed Internet, just in case you left your laptop back at the office.
· Beverages: There's free coffee, tea, soda, and bottles of water. Alcohol is available, but unfortunately it's extra.
Keep reading after the jump for more