Travel

Review: American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro

At the tail end of a trip to Brazil, I had a transatlantic flight in British Airways Club World from Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport to London Heathrow. I was pleased to learn that I’d have access to the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge prior to my long-haul flight, as it appeared to be superior to any other options at my disposal.

As it turns out, my stay at this Admirals Club lounge was excellent, and I was glad to see British Airways and American Airlines reward premium passengers with a lounge of this quality.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Access

I hadn’t expected there to be lounge access included with my Club World boarding pass; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that access to the American Airlines Admirals Club was indeed included with my ticket.

It was also excellent because I was travelling with my longtime friend Dan, and I got to give him his first taste of the lounge experience during our visit.

The lounge is located on the third floor of the South Pier, and you can follow the signs for VIP Lounges to get yourself there.

It took us a while to make our way to the lounge, but upon arrival, we were given a uniquely Brazilian warm welcome by the lounge staff. They made sure to check us in quickly, and offered their assistance for anything throughout our stay.

This level of service for a mostly empty lounge was truly excellent.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Check-in desk

The entrance area also included a variety of screens for monitoring flight statuses.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Entryway & departure screens

The lounge has opening hours that those of us in North America may not be as accustomed to, as they’re staggered by the days of the week and flight schedules.

The Admirals Club is open from 4:30pm–12:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and from 6:30pm–12:30am on Tuesdays, Thursdays,  Fridays, and Sundays.

This is because departing international long-haul flights from Brazil usually occur in the evening or at night, and the lounge probably wants to give priority service to customers flying on American Airlines and their partners at British Airways.

Regardless, check-in was as smooth as butter.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Seating

The first thing I noticed upon entering this lounge was that it was huge! The Admirals Club in Rio de Janeiro can easily seat dozens of hungry and thirsty travellers, and in decent style, too.

I found the bright colours to be much livelier than the drab ones often found in lounges throughout the world.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Primary seating area

Not only were the main seating areas enormous, but there was also plenty of seating along the walls, where complimentary Mac computers were provided for customer use.

This is American Airlines showing off a little, as already-premium Apple products are even more expensive in Brazil due to customs tariffs than they are in the rest of the world.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Wall seating
American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Complimentary computer access

There was also free and fast Wi-Fi for all lounge guests, and I saw some travellers watching Netflix on their tablets without issue, indicating the speed was very much sufficient.

To the sides and rear of the lounge were private spaces, including a dedicated family room replete with plush chairs, storybooks in English and Portuguese, and toys. This is an excellent feature for the travelling family.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Family room

It was a bit of a shame to see empty magazine racks, though, and I imagine this is a hangover from the pandemic. It may even be mandated by Brazilian law, as that country’s transport agency has continued to treat the virus with a higher degree of caution than most others.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Magazine racks

Off to the far left of the lounge was a more private TV room, which primarily played American football on ESPN. I guess that even in soccer-mad Brazil, American Airlines wanted to give its customers a little taste of home.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – TV room

Closer to the kitchen, to the right of the entryway, was more high-top seating, as well as small café-style dining tables. 

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – High-top seating
American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Dining area seating

Overall, the quantity and quality of the seating options impressed me, and added to the overall comfort of the room. Moreover, everything was spotlessly clean, which really added to the positivity of the experience.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Dining & Bar

The food at the American Airlines Admirals Club seemed typical for Brazilian buffet fare. In that country, buffet-style meals, particularly for breakfast and lunch, are quite common, and so I saw many of the usual suspects available.

The spread included a selection of cured meats, cheeses, saccharine fruits, and plenty of baked goods.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Buffet selection

I found the quality to be pretty decent, though if you’re looking to keep low on the carbs and salt, there weren’t many healthier alternatives. The buffet was topped up regularly, so it was always fresh and didn’t taste as if it had been lying there for too long.

I do wish there were more hot food options available, but alas, the cold buffet had to make do on the night I visited.

When it came to drinks, there were various fruit juices and sodas available to guests, which are very popular in this part of the world. 

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Beverage selection
American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Beverage selection

The bar was replete with alcoholic options, ranging from Johnny Walker Black to imported Spanish Cava, which is quite expensive locally. You can also help yourself to American and local beers from the fridge.

There was nothing cheap about the all-you-can-pour self-serve options at the American Airlines Admirals Club.

The staff members informed me that the Nespresso coffee would pair beautifully with the cookies; however, I instead opted to drink a local beverage called Guarana, which is similar to cream soda.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Showers

The crown jewel of my visit to the Admirals Club was my time spent at the showers. I’d been travelling much of that day, and arrived at the airport in dire need of a good rinse before my flight.

I therefore requested a pass to the showers, which the helpful attendant set me up with.

When I entered, I was greeted by a pristine white shower room with plenty of space. There was easily enough room to accommodate a family or a customer requiring wheelchair access.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Shower room

The shower itself was an enormous walk-in affair with perfect water pressure, which is just what I needed after a long day. The shower room also included a full ensuite bathroom, so there was no need to seek out separate facilities, as everything was in one location.

American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Shower room toilet
American Airlines Admirals Club Rio de Janeiro – Shower room vanity

The included toiletries and other amenities made my visit to the shower room perfect, and it was a great way to remember the Admirals Club.

I left for my flight feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to make my way to Europe.

Conclusion

I was quite impressed with my visit to the American Airlines Admirals Club at Rio de Janeiro/Galeão. The staff were friendly and available, the seating options were excellent both for single travellers and families on the move, and the shower room was as comfortable as it was spacious.

While the food selection left a little to be desired, there was lots of it, and it was more than made up for by the beverage options and on-demand entertainment.

I have no qualms in strongly recommending the Admirals Club to any person departing Rio de Janeiro who is lucky enough to be granted access.



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