You may have something in common with Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and John Wayne and not even know it.

They were all members of the American Airlines Admirals Club. The exclusive airport lounge was one of American’s earliest marketing and customer-­service innovations, dating back to 1939, when we opened the industry’s first such club at what is now New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

People often ask about the name of the lounge, since it sounds more nautical than aeronautical. The name came from the legendary C.R. Smith, AA’s longtime chief executive, who in the 1930s dubbed our new DC-3 aircraft the Flagship Fleet. Sticking with the maritime theme, AA started honoring some of its best customers, along with the occasional movie star or public official, as Admirals. With the opening of the industry’s first VIP club, the Admirals had a port to call their own, a sanctuary where they could relax between flights.

Today, 66 years after that first club opened, we have more than 40 Admirals Clubs around the world. From Tokyo to São Paulo to Paris, our clubs are an oasis of peace when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the airport before, after, or between flights. You can refresh yourself with complimentary snacks and soft drinks (for something harder, most clubs also offer a cash bar). Select locations also offer shower facilities.

Visiting the Admirals Club is a great way to relax, but you can also get a lot done. Our staff is there to help you with reservations, seat selection, and boarding passes. Conference rooms and special business equipment such as fax machines, photocopiers, personal computers, audio/visual equipment, telephones, message and catering services, speakerphones, and presentation boards are available at many locations.

Doing business with the Admirals Club through is easier than ever. You can sign up or renew your membership online any time, day or night, giving you immediate access to any Admirals Club around the world. Do you fear commitment, or do you just want to take your local Admirals Club for a test-drive? With a One-Day Pass, you can discover all that our clubs have to offer. The day pass is available to anyone 18 or older (AAdvantage membership is not required) and can be purchased online or at the Admirals Club of your choice. The pass can be used at multiple lounges throughout your day of travel. If, after spending the day with us, you are ready to commit, the One-Day Pass fee will be applied to your annual membership fee if you act within 30 days of your visit. And for those who are truly ready to commit, we are also, for a limited time, selling ­Lifetime Admirals Club memberships. This is the first time we have offered this product in eight years, and the promotion is good only through the end of 2005.

This is a great year to be an Admirals Club member, as we are unveiling five brand-new lounges. New clubs have already opened in Honolulu and at New York’s JFK (Terminal 9), and new facilities will soon open at ­Dallas/Fort Worth’s Terminal D and Miami’s Concourses A and D.

You don’t have to be a celebrity — or an ­Admiral, for that matter — to get the VIP treatment at American Airlines. I hope that, wherever you are heading today, you will have the chance to check out everything our Admirals Clubs have to offer. In the meantime, thank you for flying with us. Have a great trip!

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Picture of Gerard Arpey

Chairman & CEO
American Airlines