Tuesday, December 29, 2015

American Airlines Admiral's Club, Buffalo Airport

Buffalo, NY.  Not exactly a destination I head for normally, but I recently had friends who got married there, so, Buffalo it was.

I didn't explore much of the city, besides the reception hall (with actually really good catering by Exquisite Catering) and the Hyatt Regency hotel (also with shockingly good breakfast catering).  To conclude my quick weekend visit, it was time to head to the airport.  With my OneWorld status, even though I was flying regular domestic economy, I had lounge access to the Admiral's Club at the quaint little airport.

The lounge was ... well, it was a basic Admiral's Club.  At some point, unless you find a Flagship lounge like in  LAX, these all look the same.  Uninspired decor, sad snacks (although sometimes I do love the snack mixes), cookies, and mediocre wine.

I didn't expect to spend much time there, or in the Buffalo airport at all for that matter.  I left the lounge to get food at Queen City Kitchen (again, shockingly good, what is it with this town having decent eats?), and got on my flight.  We left the gate.  We taxied down the runway.  And then we didn't take off.  We were connecting through O'Hare, and, well, it hailed.  Ground stop issued.  I don't ever fly though O'Hare, I know better.  But it was August!!!  After spending more time on the runway, we came back to the terminal and deplaned.  Awesome.  But we were told they'd try again in an hour.  More delays meant more time in the lounge.  Eventually our flight was cancelled.  Nothing else available that night, as there aren't exactly tons of flights out of Buffalo.  So I spent another night in Buffalo, this time at the newly opened Aloft (a really great property, if you are looking for something close to the Buffalo airport for some reason, with nice cocktails, great snacks, and decent dessert).  And then went back the next day to the lounge again.

So, I spent a fair amount of time in this lounge.  It is ... adequate.  The staff however were really friendly, and took pity on us stranded travelers.

The Space

Seating.
Like all Admiral's Clubs, I found the seating rather uninspired.  Not uncomfortable exactly, but certainly not inviting.  Lots of natural light though, and plentiful power ports.  And carpet stains.

The lounge was basically empty the entire time we were there.  Given that AA restricts Admiral's Club access so tightly, this isn't surprising to me in any way.
Business Center.
It had a token business center on the side, with copier, printer, etc.
Workstations.
And a few computer workstations.

The wifi worked fine.

Snacks

Soup, Cheese, Crackers, Veggies, Ranch, Olives.
The food selection in Admiral's Clubs always makes me laugh.  It is nice that they offer something I guess, but really, does anyone eat this stuff?  (Ok, ok, Ojan and I both tried food at some point, we were in there forever over the course of two days. Boredom, not tempting looking options, lured us in).

To start, the soup of the day was Roasted Corn and Green Chile Bisque.  I mock the food, but, actually, this wasn't awful.  It was really flavorful and spicy.  I almost liked it.

Next up was assorted crackers and cheese cubes.  The Swiss cubes weren't awful either.

Next, veggies, an assortment of baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and celery sticks.  They managed to not be too dried out, but these aren't exactly exciting veggies.  On the side were individual pots of Ken's Buttermilk Ranch.  Totally generic ranch, but sometimes, I actually like this stuff.  It was nice to have individual containers rather than a big unappealing vat of it.

The final item in here was olives, a mix of black and pimento stuffed green.  I didn't like them, but Ojan did and went back for more.
Chips and Salsa.
The next day, they added chips and salsa to the lineup.

The chips were actually higher quality than I'd expect, Food Should Taste Good brand multigrain tortilla chips.  Two types of salsa, generic Tostitos or "Salsa del Sol".

We didn't try any, since we liked Queen City Kitchen the first day, and decided to go back there for poutine before our flight instead.
Cookies, Fruit.
The cookie selection was the standard chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, which I've reviewed before, and little chocolate brownies.  Red and green apples (wrapped in plasic wrap?) and oranges were in a bowl.

These aren't for me, but Ojan always likes them well enough.
Premium Snack Mixes.
I always have my eye on the snack mixes.  AA has a number of different mixes, and you never know which ones you are going to get at a given lounge.  They all sound like exactly the sort of things I'd love, as you know me and snacks, but often I want to like them more than I actually do (like the yogurt pretzels from the SFO lounge).

Here, we had a trio of snack mixes, labelled "Premium Snack Mixes", in "Sweet", "Savory", or "Simple".  I obviously tried them all.

The dispensers were super annoying, hard to get things out of, particularly the one with the large pretzels, that just kept getting jammed and cracking.  They can do better here ...
Sweet and Salty Mix, Savory Mix, Peanut Butter Pretzels.
I started with the one labelled "Simple".  They looked like just square pretzels.  I was thrilled to discover that they were stuffed with peanut butter.  Not amazing, but an upgrade over plain pretzels, for sure.

Next I went for "Savory".  This had pretzel twists and pretzel balls, neither of which I cared for.  But it also had cheesy twigs and cheesy little triangle chips.  And corn nuts.  The entire mix was quite zesty and flavorful.  I really liked the triangle chips.  I enjoyed this assortment, sans the pretzels, one of the best mixes I've had from AA.

And finally, and sweet and salty one, a classic GORP, with bonus almonds.  It was everything a basic GORP should be, sweet and salty, simple but addicting.  Again, good.

I ate a lot of these mixes while stranded there, and really quite enjoyed them.  Mmm, snacks.
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