JFK or John F. Kennedy International Airport is the main international airport serving New York City. American Airlines has two brilliant lounges in Terminal 8. These are among the best airport lounges at JFK.
Over ninety airlines operate out of JFK. It is a major hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. JFK has 6 operating airline Terminals; 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 plus 4 runways and 128 aircraft gates.
We have already reviewed the best executive or club lounges in New York hotels. Wherever you decide to stay, in New York or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access lounges at this airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Get an unlimited Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum card, or you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
1. American Airlines Flagship Lounge, JFK Terminal 8
The American Airlines Flagship Lounge in New York JFK underwent a major overhaul in around 2017. At the time, the airline also rolled out brand-new lounges in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia. This is the best AA lounge in JFK if you have Flagship Dining access. If not, you might want to consider the American Flagship Bridge Lounge, which is often described as the best-kept secret lounge for American Airlines travelers in Terminal 8.
This is a great American Airlines lounge and its Flagship First Dining is excellent and puts it in the same league as some of the best airline lounges in the world. The only problem with this lounge is that not everyone gets access to the Flagship dining side of this lounge.
Access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge is granted to:
- All American ConciergeKey members
- Platinum members and above flying internationally, Oneworld partner mid-tier elites
- Oneworld international Business and First Class passengers
- Flyers traveling in First or Business class on flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles
The JFK American Airlines Flagship Lounge at T8 is located up an elevator airside. The hosts will direct you to the left. If you instead turn right, you get to the American Flagship Bridge Lounge instead (more on that below).
The American Airlines Flagship lounge is a much nicer lounge than any previous American Airlines lounges at JFK, but it does get busy. The reason you’ll want to try this lounge is that it offers the exclusive, Flagship First Dining.
This recently rejuvenated Flagship Lounge features updated interiors and all sorts of seating, from cozy single sofa seats to high stools. There are nice comfy single seats for the single traveler as well as communal tables and cafe chairs. The central piece is a wine and champagne display, much like the iconic tables in the British Airways’ lounges such as the BA Gatwick Business Lounge or the Galleries Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5. Here you can enjoy real champagne or the “make your own” cocktail bar.
Along one wall are separated desk booths with workspaces and some of them have computers in them. There is also a quiet room with more of those single sofa seats. The lounge also houses bathrooms with showers.
There’s a great selection of soft drinks, wines, and spirits in this American Airlines Flagship Lounge, pretty much everything you could wish for, whether you are in the Flagship First dining section or not. The standard lounge food on offer includes cheese, soups, an array of salads, bread, and some hot foods in silver dishes.
But, be warned, the Flagship First Dining part of the lounge is only for American’s own First Class customers and is not meant for ConciergeKey members flying in Business Class. It’s in a separate room that not everyone has access to. Cathay Pacific First Class passengers also get access to this lounge and the American Flagship First Dining in New York JFK. As a result of its exclusivity, the Flagship First Dining is never too busy, and it features sit down dining and table service and an a la carte menu.
The Flagship Dining room is a beautiful space, much like a high-end restaurant, but with floor to ceiling windows down one side offering great views of the planes. If you have access to the Flagship sit-down dining, you will be blown away by the experience and the food. Starters are things like soups and beet salad. Mains include filet mignon, squid ink linguini, red Thai curry, and salmon fillets as well as the Flagship Burger. Sweets are delicious cakes and sundaes. The Flagship Lounge beats the likes of the United Club or Delta SkyClub and easily makes this American Airlines lounge the best at JFK
2. American Flagship Bridge Lounge, JFK Terminal 8
This lounge can be reached by turning right from the entrance to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge. The American Flagship Bridge Lounge has the same entry requirements as the main Flagship Lounge.
The lounge has high ceilings, tropical plants, floor to ceiling windows on one side looking out to the planes, and plenty of seating areas. Even better, it is usually fairly empty as everyone gets directed left when they check-in.
In terms of food, there’s a buffet area and an a la carte menu offering things like the Flagship Burger, wasabi crusted tuna, and the short rib tacos. These menu items are provided for free to guests of this lounge. You do not need access to any special facility to order off this menu. There’s also a cocktail menu and the service tends to be better in this lounge than the main lounge as the lounge is quieter.
Overall, this more petite lounge is better than the main Flagship lounge with its a la carte food which makes it especially great. Obviously Flagship First Dining is the best option of all, but if you don’t have access to the Flagship First Dining, this American Flagship Bridge Lounge is the best lounge.
3. American Express Centurion Lounge, JFK Terminal 4
What if you aren’t flying in Business Class, for example, if you are flying in Economy or Premium Economy, and what if you don’t have elite status? We think your best option is the American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal 4.
While this lounge is in Terminal 4 and not Terminal 8, you can easily travel between Terminals at JFK and back to your American Airlines flight by hopping on the AirTrain. This operates 24/7 and takes around 8 minutes to complete a full loop around all of the Terminals.
None of the Terminals connect with airside walkways, so you do need to go through security again for a flight connection, apart from Terminals 2 and 4 where there’s an airside bus.
This Amex lounge is located in Terminal 4 and is also better than the best Priority Pass lounge at JFK. It is on two levels, with a total of about 15,000 square feet, which will make it one of Amex’s largest Centurion Lounges. You can take a look at what to expect by reading our review of the superb American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong. In fact, this is one of the best lounges at Hong Kong airport regardless of your class of travel. If you have access to the VIP part of this Centurion lounge, you will be treated to high-end Champagne and truffles along with an excellent a la carte menu.
You can access this Centurion Lounge for free if you have premium American Express cards, such as The Platinum or the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Holders of these cards can access Centurion Lounges free of charge with up to two guests. If you have an exclusive Centurion card (the legendary black card!) you get access to the VIP exclusive Centurion section of American Express Centurion Lounges, where relevant.
To get extra bonus referral points and advice on the Platinum American Express and other free-lounge-access credit cards, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
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