Temporary. Temporary. Temporary,
Ok I ran out of font styles but hopefully you get the point. American Airlines has opened a temporary Premium Lounge in DFW’s Terminal D while the Admiral’s Club is being renovated and a Flagship Lounge (along with Flagship First Dining!) is added. The closing of the Terminal D Admirals Club coincided with the opening of the new refreshed Terminal A Admirals Club, which I reviewed earlier this week.
Why the temporary Premium Lounge?
American has a number of flights departing from DFW’s Terminal D which have Flagship First Class on the 777-300ER jet (to London, Hong Kong, and Sao Paulo I believe). Closing the Admirals Club means there’s nowhere for American premium customers to go before their flight and the club will be closed for quite some time, therefore American decided to open a temporary Premium Lounge for premium customers.
Ok fine I promise I understand it’s temporary so let’s get on with it, where is the Premium Lounge?
The lounge is located in Terminal D at DFW, across from gate D36. There’s lots of signage showing you the way.
Who gets access to the Premium Lounge?
First things first: this is not an Admirals Club, so you will not be able to access the lounge solely via a club membership or credit card.
The access policy for the Premium Lounge is the same as the American Flagship Lounges located at ORD, JFK, LAX, and MIA: First Class and Business Class on an international flight or any cabin on an international flight for holders of Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum status with American (along with Emerald or Sapphire equivalent Oneworld status).
Ok so how is the lounge?
Well, it’s temporary. Actually, you know what? I think it’s great. It’s not the nicest thing in the world and will appear a bit dated to most but the sheer fact is that American didn’t have to do anything in Terminal D while the Club was being renovated and they found a way to provide a service for their customers. I’m harder on American than most and even my cold black heart can appreciate what they’ve done in getting this lounge up and running.
Enough words, let’s see some pictures
Fine, fine, geez.
The entryway to the lounge features a huge reminder that this lounge is temporary while something bigger and better is built.
When you enter the lounge there will be some friendly customer service reps to your right to assist with flights, seats, upgrade requests, and reaccommodations (if necessary).
The lounge is long and narrow and surprisingly large. Very similar to the Qantas Lounge in Hong Kong, it kind of just keeps going!
As you walk into the lounge you’ll see an assortment of furniture, it looked to me like a mix of pre-existing furniture from the transit lounge which used to be here and old furniture from the Terminal A and Terminal D Admirals Clubs.
There are a few areas accessible through a door which are meant to be quiet rooms. The beloved Eames chairs from the Admirals Clubs are in one of these rooms.
Is there food?
Yep! The food is a slight level above the Admirals Club offering and many of you will recognize some of the serving platters from the former Flagship Dining Room in the Terminal D Admirals Club.
They had a few snack stations around the lounge as well as a Make Your Own Ramen area.
What about drinks?
Yep, you bet. There was at least one espresso machine (there may have been another, I can’t remember).
The rest of the drinks were served from a bar area manned by a friendly attendant.
One of the things you’ll notice is there isn’t any booze quite yet. As soon as the liquor license is secured there will be booze I’m sure.
Ok so what are your thoughts?
The main thing when evaluating the Premium Lounge is perspective. Is this lounge great? No. Is it good? Yes. Is it a dang sight better than nothing? Absolutely.
Opinions about this lounge will probably be split right down the middle but one thing is clear: American is crushing the domestic lounge game right now, as I’ve said plenty of times. I look at this Premium Lounge as American making an investment in the premium customers they so covet and wanting them to have as good of an experience as possible in their flagship terminal before their flagship service on their premium jets. It’s not perfect by any means but it is perfectly functional for a visit.
What about the Centurion Lounge, how does it compare?
The American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal D has become a solid mainstay in my DFW Airport routine and I do not expect that to change any time soon. I find their food to be wonderful and the drinks are excellent. But then again I pay $550 a year for the Amex Platinum Card to be able to access it and there are times when it gets severely crowded. The Premium Lounge has one thing the Centurion Lounge cannot touch: space. In multitudes. It’s an 18000 square foot facility with capacity for 376 guests. If you have access to the Centurion Lounge I would choose it over the Premium Lounge, provided there is space for you and your party.
I’m still kind of on the fence and don’t want to like this very much, what can you tell me?
I don’t think that’s a bad opinion by any means, I think in this case you need to look at what the lounge represents instead of just what it is. American has proven to its customers that they can create a phenomenal lounge experience and we know that is coming in 2019. This is a stopgap measure and it’s a better one than what many other airlines would offer.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments below!