Some of the seating options in AA’s new JFK Flagship Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

American Airlines has been focusing on upgrading the premium cabin experience on the ground, much as its competitor United Airlines has been doing with their Polaris lounges (currently only open at Chicago O’Hare, which we visited).  I recently found myself departing New York’s JFK Airport in a business class flight on Cathay Pacific flight. This gave me access to their partner AA’s recently-opened Flagship Lounge.

This is the first new Flagship Lounge for American. By the end of 2017, they hope to have the new lounges open at Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, and Miami. These will be followed by Dallas/Fort Worth, London Heathrow, and Philadelphia in 2018.

Read on for more photos and descriptions of the lounge, including how you can access it. 

My first Alaska Air E175 pulls up to SLC

It has been a few years since I first flew on an Embraer E-Jet. That was on Air Canada, from Seattle to Toronto and I was sitting up front. The very long (for a smaller aircraft) flight was a breeze, but being in first class surely helped.

Since then, I have not had the opportunity to fly on another one. When I saw that Alaska Airlines was adding them to their fleet (via SkyWest and Horizon), I was excited. I figured it would only be a matter of time before I would get the chance to fly one, and when I recently took a trip down to Salt Lake City (SLC), I got my opportunity.

On my flight down, I flew on an Alaska 737-800 — been there, done that. But when I looked at my flight options back home, I saw that there was the option to fly on the E175. Yes… that please.

Spotting from the hotel at ATL.

Spotting from the hotel at ATL.

Being an AvGeek since I could walk, and currently a private pilot, I have always wondered if I could fly a real airliner.  I always felt confident that I could, but that little part of me wondered if there truly was anything special I lacked; could I safely land one if I had to? I’m sure many of you have thought about needing to take the controls of an airliner to save the day and I wanted to put my skills to the test. Of course, not in a way that would actually put people in harm’s way.

I recently decided to make the journey from Boston (BOS) to Atlanta (ATL), where I thought I could test out my skills. The quick flight of two-and-a-half hours (depending on winds and approach) from BOS into ATL passed very quickly. My son and I arrived in Atlanta just as dusk approached. Our first stop was checking into the Renaissance Hotel. We booked the “Aviator’s Package” — yes, an AvGeek’s dream hotel. They handed us a cool bag with a bunch of airplane goodies as well as passes to the Delta Flight Museum. They then directed us to our room on the 10th floor corner, which overlooked the approach end of 26R and the Delta maintenance parking area.

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-200 – Photo: Aero Icarus | FlickrCC

Eating dinner, courtesy of room service, out on the balcony listening to the hum of jet engines, jumping up to snap pictures of the next beautiful airplane either landing or departing, and just overall enjoying the ATL evening activity, dusk turned into night and the bustle continued. The tower was lit in a really cool blue/green color and the sea of airplane navigation lights was like staring into the night sky looking at stars.