Decline of Admirals clubs?

Old Mar 25, 2024, 6:51 pm
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Decline of Admirals clubs?

So a few weeks ago I visited the DFW and STL Admirals Club lounges and they left a lot to be desired. They are both very tiny and completely overcrowded. But the real lowlight was the “food” offered. In St. Louis it was a pulled pork that could have come directly from a can and a soup that looked unappetizing. Couple that with a skimpy selection of a few veggies and hummus and it was like a buffet that you would go to at a restaurant at closing time. DFW was the same except that lounge was more overcrowded than the one in STL.
The sad thing is that I also have privileges to the Priority Clubs with AE and the selection for food and beverages while not world class, it’s nevertheless much better than AA.
As an Exec Plat who travels extensively and also has the elite $695 yr CC this is terribly disappointing. So much so that the Admirals club has seemingly declined to the extent I will likely not renew my CC for that amount and select something else.
Are other people experiencing this? Maybe I’m just late to the game and this has been devolving and I have just randomly through travel been lucky to have been at the larger lounges. Who knows?
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 7:43 pm
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The experience will vary widely station to station, day to day. Not all clubs within a given airport will offer an equal experience, with DFW being probably the best example. I've had great experiences at some of my least favorite clubs, awful experiences at my usual favorites, and everything in between. Most folks like the new clubs at DCA, LGA, DEN, and SFO, everyone equally hates the clubs at PHX, CLT, MIA, MCO and PHL. Most of the rest offer a mixed bag.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 7:48 pm
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Let’s not forget that back in the day, people rejoiced when soup was first introduced ;-)

Overcrowding aside, I wouldn’t say there has necessarily been a decline in the clubs, but rather that when it comes to F&B, AA has fallen behind not just DL but also UA and AS.
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Old Mar 25, 2024, 8:10 pm
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They've always been disappointing and a waste of money. Honestly, things have improved over the last few years with more complimentary options and the espresso machines replacing those god-awful, gutter water dispensing Necafe Milano ones.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 12:23 am
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Originally Posted by Frequentflyer2030
So a few weeks ago I visited the DFW and STL Admirals Club lounges and they left a lot to be desired. They are both very tiny and completely overcrowded. But the real lowlight was the “food” offered. In St. Louis it was a pulled pork that could have come directly from a can and a soup that looked unappetizing. Couple that with a skimpy selection of a few veggies and hummus and it was like a buffet that you would go to at a restaurant at closing time. DFW was the same except that lounge was more overcrowded than the one in STL.
The sad thing is that I also have privileges to the Priority Clubs with AE and the selection for food and beverages while not world class, it’s nevertheless much better than AA.
As an Exec Plat who travels extensively and also has the elite $695 yr CC this is terribly disappointing. So much so that the Admirals club has seemingly declined to the extent I will likely not renew my CC for that amount and select something else.
Are other people experiencing this? Maybe I’m just late to the game and this has been devolving and I have just randomly through travel been lucky to have been at the larger lounges. Who knows?
Which DFW club? Because A and D are certainly not "tiny." I was in A today, and it was rather empty at 3 pm on Monday. The guacamole is pretty popular.
Is it the greatest food ever? Of course not. I don't go there for the food.
Also, the credit card, which I also have, is $595. Yes, it's a lot, but now that it has some travel coverage, that helps. Plus the AC access. You know when that AC access really mattered to me, crowded and all? Last Thursday in ORD when a delay of an hour turned into 19, and a wonderful AAngel interlined me on United--on about the only seat available the whole night--meaning I got to where I needed to be. That was a $709 walk up fare. That card paid for itself Thursday.
You can focus on the pork in STL or the fact that there are 5 ACs in DFW and the skytrain takes 5-10 minutes to take a tour of each.
I think this is really about perspective.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by Frequentflyer2030
So a few weeks ago I visited the DFW and STL Admirals Club lounges and they left a lot to be desired. They are both very tiny and completely overcrowded. But the real lowlight was the “food” offered. In St. Louis it was a pulled pork that could have come directly from a can and a soup that looked unappetizing. Couple that with a skimpy selection of a few veggies and hummus and it was like a buffet that you would go to at a restaurant at closing time. DFW was the same except that lounge was more overcrowded than the one in STL.
The sad thing is that I also have privileges to the Priority Clubs with AE and the selection for food and beverages while not world class, it’s nevertheless much better than AA.
As an Exec Plat who travels extensively and also has the elite $695 yr CC this is terribly disappointing. So much so that the Admirals club has seemingly declined to the extent I will likely not renew my CC for that amount and select something else.
Are other people experiencing this? Maybe I’m just late to the game and this has been devolving and I have just randomly through travel been lucky to have been at the larger lounges. Who knows?
Decline compared to what? I agree that the STL lounge gets really crowded and that pulled pork isn't great. But the lounges used to have NO free alcoholic beverages and had, at most, cheese cubes, crackers, and other snacks like that. So, they are definitely better than they used to be. Just, as others have mentioned, the quality will vary and also UA and DL lounges have gotten even better in the same time.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 5:41 am
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If people are crowding the lounges, why would AA spend an extra dollar making improvements? Unfortunately, we've shown that we'll tolerate the decline. Taken a step further, the increase in annual fee didn't drive many away, meaning they probably could have upped it some more.

I'd probably search for an alternate lounge like the Escape or Centurion.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 6:30 am
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OP must have been at DFW E where it's small and windowless.

OP today's offerings are quite the step up from several years ago when there were only snacks, 2 soups (if you're lucky) and some saran wrapped fruit.

Today's clubs are horribly overcrowded and no where close to being a relaxing getaway from the main terminal. That coupled with undoubtedly someone who is showing off talking on the phone, has his bag on a seat, feet on a table, or sometimes the perfect tool trifecta it's a waste of money.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by dw
Let’s not forget that back in the day, people rejoiced when soup was first introduced ;-)

Overcrowding aside, I wouldn’t say there has necessarily been a decline in the clubs, but rather that when it comes to F&B, AA has fallen behind not just DL but also UA and AS.

exactly!

when i first joined back in the early 2000s, it was to escape the hell of ORD and to have a nice, quiet place to sit and do some work and use a relatively clean toilet. i can only recall the snack mix and cheese cubes at most ACs back then...and still when i go to an AC under my BA OWE status i do not expect anything more than ... cheese cubes and snack mix.

so it still is dependent on what you expect and if it is worth it to you--yes it seems other US domestics are upping their game in terms of food, but i'd never expect a standard US airline lounge to provide any levels of sustenance similar to a few of the european carriers.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian
Today's clubs are horribly overcrowded and no where close to being a relaxing getaway from the main terminal. That coupled with undoubtedly someone who is showing off talking on the phone, has his bag on a seat, feet on a table, or sometimes the perfect tool trifecta it's a waste of money.
Generalizations don't always apply. I'm in ORD a couple of times a month, and the quiet room in the G lounge is almost always completely empty - it's peaceful, with comfy chairs and a view of the tarmac, and just a few gates down from where my flight (usually) is. Only one time in ~5 years has there been anyone on the phone - it rang, they answered, and quickly exited, and that was that.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 7:27 am
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Downhill in the sense that clubs are now crowded and dirty. Nothing like standing in line for 10-15 minutes for a dirty bathroom stall. Some of the clubs look like they haven't been updated since the 1980s.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 8:53 am
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The ambiance and food levels of the new LGA/DCA clubs are NOT going to propagate outwards overnight. I agree that the ex-US clubs are the worst, though, with CLT at the bottom -- the B club is OK but always packed because the C/D club is so gross -- with PHX close behind. I try to avoid these connections, and PHL isn't awful (there's a ringing endorsement!). I try to pick connections through legacy AA hubs.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 9:35 am
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guacamole!
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by dw
Let’s not forget that back in the day, people rejoiced when soup was first introduced ;-).
Yes, but you also didn't need to be flying AA to go inside. And the cost was what, $300 around 15 years ago?

But really, the perspective should only be back a couple of years. They have jacked up the cost so much, especially in just the last year, and are counting on the 'value of the food' to sell it to people. It's a Carnival Cruise cost-benefit sort of analysis. And it's bringing in carnival cruise types of buffet line crowds and people.
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Old Mar 26, 2024, 11:44 am
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I love the pulled chicken and cheddar broc soup!!!
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