Check-In With Style: American Offers 'Flagship' for VIPs
New York's busiest travel hub just joined the ranks of other airports that provide swanky and expedited check-ins for elite travelers.
American Airlines' frequent fliers, VIPs and international first class passengers flying out of New York's JFK Airport will notice a new perk when they haul their bags to the airport. On Wednesday, American opened its Flagship Check-In at JFK, the third such private oasis at a U.S. airport for the airline's top customers.
Existing locations at both Los Angeles and Miami airports have been open for more than a year, and the airline also offers Flagship Check-In at London's Heathrow Airport.
The JFK Flagship Check-In experience is located in Terminal 8 and is open daily between 3:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Access to Flagship Check-In is free for the following passengers:
- Concierge Key frequent fliers (an invitation-only program for American's most valuable customers).
- Passengers traveling in first class on American's three-class transcontinental aircraft between Los Angeles and Miami or New York's JFK Airport.
- International first class passengers on American or any oneworld alliance member airline.
However, average Joes can also buy their way in if they sign up for American's Five Star Service.
At JFK, the rate is $125 for the first passenger, and $75 for each additional passenger traveling together. Five Star Service includes a personal assistant, who escorts you through every step of the airport process — including check-in at the Flagship area.
Once fully checked-in, travelers access an expedited security lane to make their way to the airline's gate-side lounges.
(Read more: Unique, Luxurious and Exclusive Airport Lounges)
"We remain focused on modernizing and building an exceptional travel experience for our premium customers at every step of their journey," said Virasb Vahidi, American's chief commercial officer, in a prepared statement. "Our Flagship Check-In customers also enjoy easy access through security checkpoints so they can make their way to the Admirals Club, Flagship Lounge or their gate."
Later this summer, American plans to inaugurate a Flagship Check-In location at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.