American Airlines sets date for Flagship Lounge reopening
American Airlines is another step closer to restoring pre-pandemic levels of service. As we reported in June, the airline will begin reopening its premium Flagship Lounges in September. Now we know which lounge will be reopening first and have an exact date. The move follows a nearly 18-month closure after AA first shuttered the entire …As we reported in June, the airline will begin reopening its premium Flagship Lounges in September. Now we know which lounge will be reopening first and have an exact date. The move follows a nearly 18-month closure after AA first shuttered the entire premium lounge network on March 20, 2020.
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
United‘s most exclusive airport lounge network is finally re-opening.
In late October, the first Polaris Lounge officially welcomed business-class travelers once again at the carrier’s Washington Dulles (IAD) hub.
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After the IAD outpost, the Polaris Lounge location in Newark will open before Thanksgiving, with Chicago and Houston locations reopening by the end of the year, a carrier spokesperson confirmed to TPG.
The 5 best business-class seats for traveling solo
Airlines have been getting increasingly innovative with their business-class products over the last several years. Business-class seats have become more luxurious and more private across the board. Gone are angled lie-flat seats and eight-across, “dorm-style” business-class cabins. Fully flat beds, direct aisle access and some form of storage are the norm nowadays for long-haul aircraft. …Still, some seats are better than others, and some are better suited for certain types of travelers. Many airlines offer “honeymoon-style” seats which are ideal for couples. There are also some seats that are better for tall people.
The spokesperson added that the remaining locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco will all reopen by early 2022.
Polaris Lounges are United’s exclusive airport hideaways reserved for business-class flyers traveling on long-haul flights. © The Points Guy Polaris Lounge IAD (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
They feature a la carte dining, a premium liquor selection, marble-clad shower suites and additional bespoke amenities, like nap rooms and phone booths.
The airline shuttered its business-class-only Polaris Lounge network when the pandemic’s onset nearly brought United’s global operation to a screeching halt.
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Since then, demand for long-haul travel has slowly returned, as countries have eased entry restrictions and vaccine distribution has accelerated globally, with the U.S. reopening to global travelers on Nov. 8.
Related: Which domestic airline lounges have reopened?
In May, Alex Dorow, United’s managing director of lounges and premium services, had told TPG that the airline didn’t yet have a firm reopening plan for the Polaris Lounge network. He said that the reopening would be tied to relaxed international travel regulations, and clearly United has decided that now’s the time to start that process.
United isn’t the only U.S. airline to operate an exclusive business-class lounge network. American Airlines has Flagship Lounges, which operate similarly to United’s Polaris Lounges.
American beat United to the punch with its reopening plans, having started to welcome premium passengers once again in New York-JFK and Miami in September.
America's best new attractions in 2021
Last year saw closures and canceled plans across the board – but, as things gradually open up once more, new and big-hitting attractions are getting their debut across America. From trails and museums to unique places to stay, we bring you the best of the country's new things to do for 2021. (If you're planning a trip be sure to check state travel advisories and up-to-date info on individual attractions before you go.)
It’s great to see United continue to formalize its Polaris Lounge reopening plans.
Additional reporting by Ethan Klapper.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Move over Sapphire: Here’s why I prefer Membership Rewards instead of Ultimate Rewards .
In early 2020 I product changed my Chase Sapphire Reserve to a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. What was once my favorite credit card had become a card I only used for car rentals (for the primary damage waiver) and earning 10x points on Lyft rides. The Sapphire Preferred offers both of those benefits, albeit with a …The reason for this is? Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ever since Chase lost Korean Airlines as a transfer partner, I’ve struggled to find good flight redemptions with the currency. To make matters worse, United — once one of Chase’s most valuable transfer partners — has massively devalued its program, skyrocketing the cost of Star Alliance partner awards.