Brooke and I are generally happy with economy seats and no-frills airport experiences. However, it is nice to get a sniff of the good life once in a while. On a recent trip to visit my family in Georgia, we had a chance to visit the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge at the CLT airport. We were only there for breakfast, so we didn’t partake in the bar offerings. I did manage to snap a few pictures for a quick review here.
Feature #1 – Tranquility
Airports are a hub of hustle and bustle. Stressed out travelers running to and fro… kids wandering aimlessly underfoot… people completely unaware of the space their backpack occupies… complete misuse of escalators… people literally FaceTiming without headphones. All of this can make a flight connection frustrating. Upon entering the lounge, all of this ceased. People in the lounge seemed to know what’s up. They sat quietly, cross legged, and spoke in what my first grade teacher called, “their inside voice.”
Feature #2 – Space
This lounge is actually quite large. There are two large rooms and a handful of smaller spaces. Seats are comfortable and have individual outlets available. The largest room features floor to ceiling windows to watch the planes land and depart. There were even some “hidden” nooks, with only a few chairs and people curled up napping. It was very nice to get away from the crowded terminal and into the spacious lounge.
Feature #3 – Food & Drink
Like I said above, we were in the lounge around breakfast time. The breakfast offerings were very similar to a mid-level hotel breakfast bar. Greek yogurt, cereal, bagels, fruit, oatmeal, juices, and a latte machine were all available for our culinary pleasure. We happily munched on our bagels and sipped our frothy lattes. According to one of the attendants, lunch would consist of soup and some finger foods.
In the bar area, they offer some “house beer and wine” free of charge, and they have a larger menu of food and drink available for purchase. If you’re in Charlotte, I definitely recommend seeking out the NoDa Brewing Hop Drop ‘n Roll IPA. The bartender should be able to find one for you, but it likely won’t be free.
Feature #4 – Work Space
If you’re a business traveler passing through CLT, this lounge would be a nice place to get some work done. There are lots of mini-desks with high-backed roller chairs and high-speed wifi. These areas are outside of the main rooms, so you can focus on your work.
Feature #5 – Service
When we approached the entry desk to the lounge, I noticed that our Admirals Club passes (issued with our old Barclays US Airways credit card) had literally expired the day before. The lady at the desk noticed the expiration date immediately; however, with no hesitation, she ushered us into the lounge as “her guests for the day.”
As we finished our breakfast, I glanced at one of the flight status monitors in the lounge. I spotted an earlier flight to our final destination, departing in 20 minutes. We ran to the welcome desk, and the same lady checked for seats on the plane. She found open seats and gave us directions to the gate. We arrived just in time to board the earlier flight, saving us two hours of waiting around.
We enjoyed our experience at the Admirals Club lounge. Would I pay $50-per-person to enter this restricted area… absolutely not! If you have a free pass, however, it’s a great way to kill some time. The current in-flight offer for the Citi AA Platinum card comes with two lounge passes. The Citi AA Executive card also offers lounge access. What are your favorite airport lounges?