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Top Ten Best Airport Lounges In JFK, New York


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JFK or John F. Kennedy International Airport is the main international airport serving New York City. 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 review the best airport lounges in these Terminals.

We have already reviewed the best executive or club lounges in New York hotels.

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 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 to choose.

3. The Concorde Room, JFK Terminal 7

Terminal 7 is operated by British Airways. The Concorde Room at JFK is reserved for British Airways First Class customers and was recently refreshed. Customers flying in First and Club World out of JFK Terminal 7 can now also enjoy an enhanced check-in experience at the exclusive new Premium Zone, with direct access to Fast Track security. The new First Wing and First check-in are also open to ensure a smooth start to the journey.

The most exclusive and best lounge in JFK Terminal 7 is the Concorde Room, which is only open to passengers flying First Class on British Airways or those holding a Concorde Room Card when flying any Oneworld carriers.

The Concorde Room definitely feels more luxurious than the First lounge with a grey color scheme. It looks similar to the Heathrow Concorde room (pictured above). Food is delivered in the dining room, which has private booths, and you can use the waiter service anywhere in the lounge.

Starters on the a la carte menu are cured salmon (much like smoked salmon), coconut curry soup. Mains are steak and chips, cod in broth, and a burger with salad on an English muffin. To be honest, the choice is fairly limited if you don’t want some form of beef, so vegetarians or partial vegetarians have a rather limited choice. Dessert is cheese or cheesecake.

To go with your meal, there’s just about every alcoholic drink you can wish for, including Pommery Champers, but you can ask for the upgraded Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle if you prefer (at no extra cost).

There are no showers in the Concorde Room. You’ll need to go to the Business Class lounge for both the spa and the showers.

4. British Airways First Class Airport Lounge, JFK Terminal 7

British Airways has a newish and luxurious First lounge at New York’s JFK Terminal 7. You can get access to this lounge if you are a gold cardholder or a customer traveling in the airline’s First Cabin. You can’t access this lounge if you are traveling in Business Class unless you have a coveted British Airways gold card.

The lounge is up the escalator from the main terminal area after clearing security. The lounge’s First Class area is at the left of the entrance, while the Business Class area is on the right. As a First Class lounge, the lounge is unmemorable. Passengers flying First Class on British Airways should definitely opt to go to the Concorde Room instead.

The First Class lounge is smaller than the Business Class one, as it expects to serve fewer passengers. Upon walking in, there is a food area on the right side. The food choices are quite similar to the Business Class one, but the drinks selection is slightly better, with the addition of champagne, usually Laurent Perrier. You can see our thoughts about the food offered at the First Class BA lounge in London Gatwick to give you an idea of what to expect. Passengers flying First and Business Class on British Airways will receive a complimentary 15-minute treatment at the Spa.

This lounge is 60 percent larger than its predecessor and covers more than 5,480 square feet split into tailored zones. A new wine room forms the centerpiece, and the lounge is divided into lots of smaller areas. Customers will also be able to enjoy “Flights of Wine”, a selection of different wines linked to a theme like “Chardonnays of the World”.

Other features include an opulent First bar with a wide range of premium beverages and a quiet work area. All very nice, but this lounge somewhat lacks natural light, and it can get crowded, so it isn’t perfect.

Customers can dine in the airline’s upgraded dining room before they fly to maximize rest on their flight. A boutique menu has been created by Executive chefs Gavin Mackenzie and Waylon Walker. It includes dishes influenced by the season and a new ‘bowl food’ concept designed to offer customers a chance for a lighter option before they fly.

The seating area for the first class lounge consists mostly of dining tables and lounge chairs. In general, I find this area to be a bit dark. There is also a small business center here with a row of computers. Those needing to shower and use the spa will have to head to the Business Class lounge.

5. British Airways Galleries Lounge, JFK Terminal 7

The British Airways Galleries Lounge at JFK is open to British Airways silver elite members and above who are flying any Oneworld airlines, or Oneworld sapphire and emerald members who are also flying Oneworld airlines.

The Business Class area of the lounge is quite huge, as it serves quite a few airlines. Upon entering, there is a large business center on the right side. There is also a long walkway with plenty of seating spaces. At the end of the walkway are the Elemis Spa and a small children’s play area. Passengers flying First and Business Class on British Airways will receive a complimentary 15-minute treatment at the Spa. Passengers wanting to shower can also use the shower rooms here by the spa. Needless to say, the toiletries are provided by Elemis.

The lounge’s main area has a small fountain in the middle with some natural light shining in. There’s a long row of food and drinks at a section called “Coffee House”. The lounge’s food selection is normally just some finger food, sandwiches, fruits, biscuits, packet chips. Not a great selection. There’s also a coffee machine and tea, as well as cold drinks in the fridge below.

While the lounge has a small variety of food, this lack of a full dining service is compensated with a large variety of alcoholic drinks. On the left side of the main area is a small station called the Pub. As the name suggests, this area offers 2 draft beer choices and some bottled beers in the fridge below. There are also some fruit juice options here.

On the right side of the main area, there’s a long winding bar in front of another bar setup. This area normally has 4 varieties of red and white wines each, a good selection of spirits, as well as water and some bar snacks.

6. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK Terminal 4

The Virgin Clubhouse also has outposts in London Heathrow, LAX, Newark, JFK, San Francisco, Boston, Washington Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and Gatwick. These lounges are fun, well designed, and tend to offer better food than the BA Galleries lounges. This is the best Airport lounge in Terminal 4.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse can be found airside in JFK’s Terminal 4 in the A-Concourse and above boarding gates A4 and A5. You get access to this lounge if you’re flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class or if you’re a Delta Diamond, Platinum, or Gold Medallion member on a same-day nonstop flight to the UK operated by either Virgin Atlantic or Delta. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members, Singapore Airlines First Class Suites passengers, and First or Business Class passengers on TAM are also given get access.

Virgin Atlantic’s JFK Clubhouse has a fun, glamorous design with a hint of the swinging Sixties and with lots of innovative wall designs and light fittings. It has a great cocktail bar, a pool table, magazines, a business center, views out to the planes, and the food is great too.

Complimentary food and drink, including an a la carte menu, can be eaten anywhere in the lounge and is delivered by waiter service rather than a buffet. The breakfast menu includes tapas, pea-mozzarella arancini, and veggie dim sum. Through the rest of the day, the menu includes things like the Clubhouse burger, salt beef croquettes, vegetable curry, panko-crusted catfish, and chicken tikka masala. There’s a young flyer menu for children as well as bar snacks which can be chosen as starters or served as part of the main.

Drinks include free champagne; Lanson Black Label NV. Wines include a Californian Château Souvrain Chardonnay, 2013, and a Washington Merf Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015.

There is also a Bumble & Bumble salon and a spa with complimentary mini-treatments. In addition, there are nice showers as well as bathrooms as part of this excellent lounge.

Finally, to make your life even easier, an announcement will be made about boarding your flight, followed by a second announcement. It usually takes only a couple of minutes to get from the Clubhouse to the Virgin airport gate, so you can usually afford to wait until the second announcement before you leave.

7. Delta SkyClub, New York JFK Airport, Terminal 4

Delta SkyClub New York JFK Airport, Terminal 4 is Delta’s newer “flagship” SkyClub in JFK. There is also another older Delta SkyClub in Terminal 2. This is a great lounge, but when compared to American’s Flagship and United’s Polaris lounges, Delta’s premier SkyClub lounge doesn’t look quite as appealing.

This lounge is located near Gate 32 in Concourse B in Terminal 4 and can be accessed by:

  • Delta One and SkyTeam international and transcontinental passengers
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on any SkyTeam flight in any class
  • Delta Reserve cardmembers on Delta coded or operated flights
  • Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders traveling on a same-day Delta flight/li>
  • Virgin Australia Club members

The lounge has a big central area, almost 24,000 square feet, with an impressive bar in the middle. The bar offers complimentary basic beer, wine, and spirits, or you can upgrade and pay for premium alcoholic drinks. The general feel of the lounge is big and busy, much like a British Airways Galleries lounge. Nice, but not that nice.

There are loads of different sections in this lounge with a business area with partitioned workstations, a cinema area, and lots of different seating areas. In some parts of the lounge, there are walls of floor-to-ceiling windows with great views out onto the planes and tarmac. One area has views on two sides and seats facing out towards the views. Because of all the seats facing the views, natural light, and the terrace, this lounge is much, much nicer than the Delta lounge in Terminal 2.

Walk right past the buffet area and turn right, and you’ll find the other highlight of this lounge, the “SkyDeck” with an outdoor seating area and a superb rooftop view over JFK Terminal. This is a really stylish area with comfy sofa seats and seats with tables as well as umbrellas and sunshades, all on a beautifully decked terrace.

Breakfast here is OK. You have sliced bread for toasting, plus other bread, pastries, and muffins, as well as yogurt. In contrast with many domestic lounges, this SkyClub also offers hot food as well as a cold buffet. For breakfast, this includes scrambled eggs and coconut cornmeal, as well as cold salsa and cheese. There is also sometimes a vat of hot chili in the morning, more suitable for later in the day, and an odd breakfast choice. There are also apples and bananas.

8. Delta SkyClub New York, JFK Terminal 2

Delta operates two SkyClubs at JFK, one in Terminal 2 and the other at Terminal 4. The Terminal 2 lounge is located on the Mezzanine Level of Terminal 2, immediately after security and upstairs. It can be accessed by:

  • Delta One and SkyTeam international and transcontinental passengers
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on any SkyTeam flight in any class
  • Delta Reserve cardmembers on Delta coded or operated flights
  • Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders traveling on a same-day Delta flight
  • Virgin Australia Club members

This SkyClub has one large but dark room behind the entrance with single and double seats. Following on is another, bigger room, with a dining area and large windows on the left which gives the area natural light. Unfortunately, there aren’t any seats by the windows to watch the planes from.

Breakfast here is similar to the Delta lounge in Terminal 4. You have sliced bread for toasting, plus other bread, pastries, and muffins, as well as yogurt. In contrast with many domestic lounges, this SkyClub also offers hot food as well as a cold buffet. For breakfast, this includes scrambled eggs and coconut cornmeal, as well as cold salsa and cheese. There is also sometimes a vat of hot chili in the morning as well as apples and bananas.

This lounge is large, but it doesn’t have runway views, and the back half of the lounge is fairly dark. The Delta lounge in Terminal 4 is the better choice.

9. Alaska Airlines Lounge New York, JFK Terminal 7

The Alaska Airlines lounge JFK is superb and stylish with lots of dark, natural rustic woods and varied seats with loads of power outlets. It’s one of the nicest looking lounges in JFK, and it can be found in Terminal 7, which is the British Airways terminal.

You can access this lounge for free if you have premium American Express cards, such as The Platinum or the Business Platinum Card® from American Express which come with a free unlimited Priority Pass.

This JFK lounge is a Priority Pass Lounge, like other Alaska lounges. This means that if you’re flying out of JFK Terminal 7 on an Economy or Premium Economy ticket, you can access this lounge. This lounge is the best Priority Pass lounge in the terminal. I can’t think of a more stylish domestic airport lounge, plus it has windows with great views onto the planes.

The food in the lounge is good but limited in choice. There are two food sittings, morning and afternoon. In the morning, you have pastry-style food; bagels, English muffins, greek yogurt, scones, and pancakes. Later on, there are seasonal salads, soups, a hummus bar, and cookies. Enough to temporarily keep hunger at bay, but not enough to fill you up long term. Instead, if you are ravenous, there are six larger a la carte “paid for” meals.

There are free soft drinks, good free coffees, and basic beer and wine in this lounge too, but premium beer and cocktails cost $8 USD each.

10. American Express Centurion Lounge, JFK Terminal 4

If you don’t have access to an airport lounge, for example, if you are flying in Economy or Premium Economy, you will want to try the undoubtedly excellent American Express Centurion lounge, which will be opening at JFK in a matter of months.

The Amex Centurion Lounge New York JFK is expected to open in the first half of 2020. The lounge will be located in Terminal 4. It will be 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.

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