30 December 2012

All Admiral Clubs are created equal - right?

I don't usually go into the Admiral Clubs. I don't fly enough to merit paying for a membership and my elite status is not elite enough. But when I fly international business class on American, I get the opportunity to visit the Admiral Clubs and I take advantage of this opportunity.
I've been in the Admiral Clubs at DFW and LHR. I also once managed to talk my way into the British Airways equivalent at Heathrow. So my scope of comparison is very narrow, but compare I will anyways.

For those who are not familiar with the Admiral Clubs, it's basically a private club in an airport that provides food, showers, drinks, comfy chairs, power ports and most importantly free wifi. It also allows the elite travelers to avoid having to rub elbows with the economy class peons. (Ok disclaimer, some people who are in the Admirals Club do fly economy). The specific name Admirals Club, is unique to American Airlines, but regardless of the name, from what I can gather, most of these lounges offer similar amenities.

But not all Admiral Clubs are created equal. I am going to compare features of the two I've been to, however all photos come from the Admirals Club (AC) at DFW Terminal D.

Less important to some, but one of my favorite parts about the AC at DFW is the fact that it looks directly out on the airplanes, and runway. I like seeing the planes take off, I like looking at the planes below and watching the ground crew. At Heathrow there is no view, in fact, they have blinds over the windows blocking whatever view might exist. DFW:1 LHR:0

Both DFW and LHR offer free Wifi in the AC. I think it's great - especially in London where it's too expensive to use data on my phone! Also it's worth mentioning that both ACs offer computers for those without their own devices.

At the AC in LHR, one has numerous options from salads, cheeses, pastries, pretzels, bread, yoghurt, fresh fruit and more. It's easy to eat a nice meal there. DFW also has an extensive menu of food, starting at $5.99 to upwards of $15.99. Yes that's right, after paying for AC membership or even paying $50 for a one day pass, people are expected to pay for food. Now there are some free snacks: pretzels, apples, cookies, celery and carrots. In this area, DFW really disappoints.

upon entering the AC at DFW one receives two drink vouchers. They can be redeemed at the bar for non-alcoholic drinks such as juice or soda, or for alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine or cocktails. After two, you must pay. Coffee and water are available for free, and you serve yourself. The AC at LHR does not have a bar. Not one in the traditional sense with a bartender and alcohol behind the counter. At everyone's disposal are pitchers of various fruit juices, fridges of soda, beer and sparkling water, water, coffee, tea (hot), hot cocoa and a small selection of liquors for cocktails. There is no one collecting drink vouchers or requiring you to pay after you've had two drinks.

At the AC in LHR outlets are plentiful and situated by (nearly) every chair. It's not just traditional electric outlets for the UK, but also those that take the flat US plugs and the rounded EU plugs. PLUS they have USB outlets. It's easy to plug in and juice up your electronics. At DFW I saw about 1 outlet for every 3 - 4 chairs and they were ONLY for the standard US plugs.

The chairs are about the same and laid out nicely. Although some of the chairs at DFW had no arms rests or tables nearby. But making up for that, DFW had a lounge for families within the lounge. I have not seen that at LHR.

Both ACs provide the traveler with information such as flight arrivals and departures, as well as access to newspapers and magazines. To maintain a peaceful environment, neither announces flight information. But the differences in information exist. The monitors that show departures / arrivals are found in multiple places Round the LHR lounge, but only near the customer service desk at DFW. At DFW, the Newspapers were limited to local papers (Ft. Worth Star Telegram) and one other (Financial Times perhaps) and the magazines were all American Arlines' publications. At LHR one finds a better selection of world newspapers and some of the magazines have nothing to do with the airline.

This is by and far my most favorite part of the ACs! It's so nice to freshen up between flights or even to feel clean before a flight. The showers are nice, they provide. EVERYTHING you need - body wash, shampoo, conditioner, towels, hair driers, facial wash, lotion etc. both ACs have them and they are fabulous! (on aside note, the British Airways Lounge showers also have a radio feature with stations you can choose from.

As you can see by my tallies, LHR's Admiral Club comes out ahead of the one T DFW,but let that discourage you from checking out the one at DFW. if you have an opportunity - irregardless of the airport or airline - go for it! It's a great way to spend your time waiting for the flight!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:DFW & LHR

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