Unlike some other airlines, American Airlines doesn’t operate dedicated first class lounges at its hubs. Instead, it invites both business and first class passengers into its Flagship Lounges.
However, at some airports, it operates invitation-only dining rooms – Flagship First Dining – within those lounges. These are currently available at Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York JFK airports. The airline also plans to open one at London Heathrow soon.
This review covers the Flagship First Dining at New York JFK airport which I had a chance to visit during breakfast time in September 2019.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
As mentioned in the introduction, the Flagship First Dining facility is located inside the Flagship Lounge. The lounge itself is located one floor above the main departures level of terminal 8, just past security.
While the lounge itself is open from 4AM until 12:30AM, the Flagship First Dining is open from 4AM until 10PM.
In general, Flagship First Dining can only be accessed by American Airlines’ own first class passengers on select flights. Medium- and long-haul international flights (i.e. those to destinations in Asian, Australia, Europe, and South America) and three-class transcontinental domestic flights are eligible.
International Flagship First passengers can bring one guest with them.
In addition to that, Cathay Pacific first class passengers departing New York JFK airport get access as well as part of a special arrangement between the two airlines. That’s how I got to try the facility out.
If you are eligible for access, you will be provided with an invitation upon checking into Flagship Lounge.
After the lounge’s reception desk, there was a long hallway leading to the Flagship Lounge itself. Inside, the entrance into the Flagship First Dining restaurant was on the right.
Once I entered the restaurant, I was greeted by one of the friendly servers who checked my invitation, and I was offered a seat at one of the booths.
The Flagship First Dining restaurant at JFK is fairly compact but very nicely designed.
Right in front of the entrance, there was a bar with five chairs. Each of the seats here had easy access to a power outlet as well.
Interestingly looking, bubble-like lights were hanging above the bar.
In this area, there were half a dozen dining tables for two as well. There were no power outlets near those.
To the right of the entrance, behind a partition, there was the rest of the dining room featuring more seating.
There were four or five booths for larger groups of passengers, some more tables for two, as well as tables for one.
In this area, only the booths offered easy access to power.
The tables for one offered the best views of the apron as they were right by the windows. However, from more or less any seat in the restaurant, it was possible to have a decent view.
The view itself was more or less the same as the one from the Flagship Lounge.
Food and Drinks
Depending on the time of the day you visit, you will either be presented with the breakfast menu or the more extensive all day dining menu.
Since my flight was departing at 10AM, I was offered the breakfast menu.
It included some cold mains like avocado toasts and salmon bagels; hot mains like steaks, waffles, and omelets; and side dishes like potatoes and fruits. Freshly squeezed juices were offered as well.
As I was visiting with Yukihiro, we ordered five different dishes.
To start with, we each had a plate of fresh fruits. Each of the plates included a wide variety of fruits ranging from grapes all the way to star fruits. The fruits were fresh and tasty, and the portion was almost large enough to serve as a full breakfast by itself.
In addition to that, I had avocado toasts and slices of brioche with steaks and poached eggs (“Steak, Eggs, Frites” on the menu above). Yukihiro had a bagel with smoked salmon and an omelet.
All of the dishes were excellent. I especially loved the steaks.
While I didn’t have a chance to try the all day dining menu for obvious reasons, it is considerably more extensive than the breakfast menu.
Besides a number of starters – including soups – and entrees, there also seems to be a variety of desserts offered during the day. A more extensive drink menu is available as well.
You can see the all day dining menu as well as photos of some of the dishes in Ben’s review on One Mile at a Time.
American Airlines Flagship First Dining New York JFK Summary
While it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t visit Flagship First Dining at a time when the all day dining menu is offered, I was very pleasantly surprised by the breakfast menu.
It offered a wide selection of items, and all of the ones that Yukihiro and I tried were excellent. In fact, I enjoyed the Flagship First Dining dishes more than I did the ones in either of the Cathay Pacific first class lounges.
As such, I can not recommend paying a visit to the restaurant in case you are eligible for access enough. I’d say it’s well worth arriving at the airport early to enjoy a meal there.