Review: American Airlines Flagship First Dining In New York

One of the most exclusive preflight lounge experiences at New York’s JFK International Airport is the American Airlines Flagship First Dining experience. This experience offers restaurant-style dining to an exclusive set of passengers.

American Airlines A321
American Airlines offers certain passengers an exclusive on-the-ground dining experience in the Flagship Lounge. Photo: Airbus

Flagship First

Many passengers are likely familiar with American Airlines’ domestic First Class experience. However, on select transcontinental routes, such as from New York-JFK to Los Angeles and to San Francisco, American Airlines offers three classes of service onboard Airbus A321T aircraft: Flagship First, Business, and Main Cabin experiences. In addition, Flagship First is available on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Flagship First
American Airlines offers Flagship First, lie-flat seating in a 1-1 configuration on A321T aircraft between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Photo: American Airlines

With a Flagship First ticket, passengers receive access to the Flagship First Dining Experience within the American Airlines Flagship Lounge at New York’s JFK Airport- Terminal 8.

The Flagship First Dining Experience

The Flagship First Dining lounge is set within the Flagship Lounge at New York JFK’s Terminal 8. After a look at American Airlines’ new food in partnership with the James Beard Award winner Sarah Grueneberg, I was invited by American Airlines to test out the Flagship Dining Experience.

The dining room is a small room set within the Flagship Lounge. From the moment of entry, the exclusivity of the room surrounds you with only a few tables. Even during the peak hours of the Flagship lounge, there were no more than five people in the Flagship First Dining lounge.

Flagship First Dining Lounge
The Flagship First lounge was small and offered an intimate setting for passengers. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

Most of the people in the lounge seemed to be regular customers. The staff were very friendly with American’s regulars. Although to a slightly lesser extent, I still received friendly service from the staff within the lounge.

The main meal

Above all, the staff were excited to show off a brand new menu. Although I had tested out some of the dishes before coming to the lounge, it was clear that the staff took a lot of pride in American’s new menu.

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The menu at American Airlines’ Flagship First Dining Experience in New York. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

To start, I went with the Winter Squash Soup. When it arrived, I found the portion size to be just right ahead of a flight. Although, American went with some generously-sized bowls.

Winter Squash Soup
Winter Squash Soup at American’s Flagship First Dining. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

The warm soup was a brilliant concoction of flavor. Moreover, it was not too runny or too thick. I found it to be quite filling. Given the cold weather outside, this was a nice little way to enjoy some planespotting indoors.

The lounge offered great views of American and Qatar’s operations at Terminal 8. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

For my next course, I went with the Black Bass “a la Plancha.”

Black Bass
American Airlines Flagship First Dining Black Bass a la Plancha. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

YUM! First off, the presentation of the dish was well-done. I liked the varying array of colors. American’s chefs in the lounge really did a great job when it came to preparing the dish as well. The sauce added some fantastic flavor and the fish was neither too tough nor too dry. It was wonderfully flaky.


Next up, the friendly staff presented the new dessert menu:

Flagship First Dining
The dessert menu at JFK’s Flagship First Dining. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

To finish off my meal, I went with the Signature Flagship Sundae.

Signature Flagship Dessert
The Signature Sundae was beautiful! Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

I absolutely loved the sundae! The brownie base added some great texture with every bite. Needless to say, I wish I could have another!

Overall Flagship First Dining Experience

When it comes to premium lounge options in New York, American Airlines offers a product that is hard to beat. If you can fly in American’s Flagship First, this is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss. Although, for American’s regulars, I wonder exactly how often American does change up the menu as it appeared this new menu was a big deal for the staff in the lounge.

New York is well-known for a flurry of premium travelers. While every airline does offer some sort of premium service on this route, it is hard to compare American’s on-the-ground experience with the likes of Delta Air Lines or Alaska Airlines.

Have you ever tried American’s Flagship First Dining? Let us know in the comments!