Admirals Club History, Logo, Name

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American Airlines Club History and Background

Background

The Admirals Club was the first of the airline VIP clubs. In 1936, the commercial aviation industry had few strong supporters and American Airlines Chairman C.R. Smith (1934-1968) wanted to recognize them (and recruit them as advocates of air transport). He began naming honored passengers and friends of the airline by coining the term "Admirals" in keeping with the designation of the airline's planes as the "Flagship Fleet."

"Admirals of the Flagship Fleet" were presented with nicely printed certificates attesting to their status (in keeping with the "Kentucky Colonels" who never were) framed and ready to be proudly displayed on one's office or Board Room wall.

(The AA fleet was named "the Flagship Fleet" early on, in a nautical theme that carried over to the uniforms pilots now wore and their rank - Captain and First Officer, aided in those days by an Engineer, Radio Man, Navigator as necessary. When the low wing twin engine all metal monocoque DC-3 came online, it was named the "Flagship" aircraft (Flagship Detroit at the C. R. Smith Museum is an example), and on the ground each Flagship flew a four star "Admirals' Pennant" from the starboard cockpit window.)

New York - La Guardia Field opened in the 1930s and AA was a prominent early tenant, relocating its hangars and offices from Chicago. (Pan American became the tenant at the Marine Air Terminal, and TWA was also a main tenant.)

Original American Airlines Admirals Club History, removed from the AA pages since the US Airways reverse takeover:

"In 1939, American decided Admirals deserved a special place to relax before or after a flight. The original Admirals Club shared a space in the just-opened New York LaGuardia Airport with Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Press criticism of the mayor's large, well-equipped offices had prompted him to offer to rent out the space. American Airlines representative Red Mosier immediately accepted the offer and the private airport club was born. Ironically, when the papers were drawn up for the club's liquor license, a judge refused to grant the name "Admirals Club" on the grounds the public might think it was a facility for Navy admirals only. So the club was initially called the "Flagship Club" until the legal hurdles were overcome.

In the early years, membership in the club was solely at the discretion of the airline's sales people. Memberships were given to frequent fliers or VIPs. In keeping with the nautical theme, the club's receptionists were called "skippers" and bartenders were called "stewards."

The airline's second club was at Washington's National Airport and opened with the airport in 1939. Located in a "dry" area, the club was prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages. For a nominal fee, however, the club stored bottles for its members. When the Virginia liquor law changed in 1970, so did this club policy. At one point, the club had more than 9,000 bottles stored. Many bore the names of powerful U.S. politicians.

A change in Admirals Club membership eligibility was made in 1967 when American established an open policy of accepting dues-paying members – a policy that remains in effect today.
Paid airline lounge Club membership came about after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted. Admirals Club was somewhat like CK in that membership was granted by sales personnel to AA to VIPs who were generally influencers of air travel (legislators, corporate heavyweights, etc.) and sparse of people of color, etc. US airlines established a paid membership system any member of the public was able to purchase, choosing not to change to a scheme more commonly used abroad wherein class of service is an admission criterion regardless of domestic or international routing.

The dues in 1967 were $25 per year, or $250 for a lifetime membership. Almost all Admirals at the time decided to pay the fees and retain their memberships.

Today, all persons 18 and over can purchase an Admirals Club membership. Pricing for Admirals Club memberships is based on the customer's tier level in the American AAdvantage membership program. Pricing ranges from $450 or 60,000 AAdvantage miles annually for a new Executive Platinum membership, to $550 or 85,000 miles annually for a regular membership. Membership is also provided to holders of the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard ($450 annual fee). One-day passes are available for $59 each.

The clubs were designed to simply provide a quiet haven away from the clamor of the airport terminal. Today they also offer flight information for American and American Eagle as well as a host of amenities that significantly differentiate the travel experience. There are now over 40 Admirals Clubs at 36 airports in the American Airlines system. These include Atlanta; Austin; Bogotá; Boston; Buenos Aires; Caracas; Chicago O'Hare; Dallas/Fort Worth; Denver; Honolulu; Kansas City; London-Heathrow; Los Angeles International; Mexico City; Miami; Nashville; New York-Kennedy; New York-LaGuardia; Newark; Orange County (Calif.); Panama City (Panama); Paris; Philadelphia; Raleigh-Durham; Rio De Janeiro; São Paulo; San Diego; San Francisco; San Juan (P.R.); Santiago, Chile; Santo Domingo; St. Louis; Tokyo Narita; Toronto; Washington D.C.-Dulles; and Washington, D.C.-Reagan. <extract> "

Link to archive


Unfortunately, the new American has deleted its online Official Admirals Club history page at: https://www.aa.com/i18n/amrcorp/corp...alshistory.jsp

Link to Point Me to the Plane brief article and AA photos at early LGA

Link to history of New York - LaGuardia International Airport (NYC Aviation)


The 01 Aug 2009 American Way in flight magazine had an article by then-CEO Gerard Arpey on Admirals Club history in the Vantage Point column. You can read an online version of the August 1, 2009 American Way magazine article here. Or, see post #3.


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Old Aug 8, 09, 3:45 pm
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Admirals Club History, Logo, Name

Can anyone tell me the meaning behind the five stars on the Admirals Club logo?? :-:
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Old Aug 8, 09, 3:58 pm
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My guess is that it is a derivation of the 5 stars associated with the rank of Fleet Admiral (or Admiral of the Fleet), which is the highest rank of Navy Admiral. It is the equivalent of a 5 star general.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 4:13 pm
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No mention of the logo but Arpey's piece in the latest American Way is all about the 70th anniversary of the Admirals clubs and includes a bit of history if you are interested

<redacted>

You can read an online version of the August 1, 2009 American Way magazine article here.
, or see below.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 4:24 pm
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Anyone currently in an a/c to ask the employees there??
Now I'm curious.. wondered maybe if there were 5 clubs when they started????
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Old Aug 8, 09, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by retirementdreams View Post
Anyone currently in an a/c to ask the employees there??
Now I'm curious.. wondered maybe if there were 5 clubs when they started????
I'd bet some serious $$ that the employees would have NO clue.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by retirementdreams View Post
Anyone currently in an a/c to ask the employees there??
Now I'm curious.. wondered maybe if there were 5 clubs when they started????
I'd go with the highest number of stars you can get in the military, as indicated earlier. After all, it is the "Admirals" club. I am curious why they chose a nautical name. Perhaps it is because the US Navy has the best air force in the country. Gotta see the Blue Angels this weekend at the California International Air Show.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
I'd go with the highest number of stars you can get in the military, as indicated earlier. After all, it is the "Admirals" club. I am curious why they chose a nautical name. Perhaps it is because the US Navy has the best air force in the country. Gotta see the Blue Angels this weekend at the California International Air Show.
Because AA aircraft used to be Flagships.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 5:56 pm
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Isn't there an article in the current american way magazine that talks about the founding of the admirals/flagship? I kind of remember skimming it last week.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 6:19 pm
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Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
Because AA aircraft used to be Flagships.
What are Flagships?
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Old Aug 8, 09, 6:25 pm
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Originally Posted by riteshraja View Post
What are Flagships?
A ship on which an admiral is traveling.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 6:34 pm
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Originally Posted by britenbsas View Post
No mention of the logo but Arpey's piece in the latest American Way is all about the 70th anniversary of the Admirals clubs and includes a bit of history if you are interested. <redacted>
What?!!?!?!?!? They're not bringing back limo service? I'm never flying AA again!!!!!!!!

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Old Aug 8, 09, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by vitacura View Post
Isn't there an article in the current american way magazine that talks about the founding of the admirals/flagship? I kind of remember skimming it last week.
Erm....yes! The link to which I posted in post #3 of this very thread
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Old Aug 8, 09, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by britenbsas View Post
Erm....yes! The link to which I posted in post #3 of this very thread
Doh!
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Old Aug 8, 09, 7:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
What?!!?!?!?!? They're not bringing back limo service? I'm never flying AA again!!!!!!!!
How about if you're flying in BA F under the ATI? You can at least get limo service from LHR...
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Old Aug 9, 09, 4:12 am
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Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
My guess is that it is a derivation of the 5 stars associated with the rank of Fleet Admiral (or Admiral of the Fleet), which is the highest rank of Navy Admiral. It is the equivalent of a 5 star general.
I will go with post#2 for $1000.
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