Review: British Airways Club Lounge New York JFK Airport

Filed Under: British Airways

As I mentioned in the previous post, I had quite a long layover at JFK, as I arrived at around 10AM from Miami, and departed at around 5PM to Tokyo. With my ANA business class ticket I had access to the British Airways Club Lounge, so I wanted to review that in this post.

British Airways Lounge JFK Location

The British Airways Lounge is located in Terminal 7. Clearing security midday was a pain, despite the fact that it’s the quietest time of the day in the terminal. They had a single security lane open, and TSA agents were as lovely as you’d expect.

JFK Terminal 7 security line

Apparently one of the TSA agents working in the terminal gave incorrect information to a passenger (he claimed an infant needed a boarding pass, which wasn’t the case), so one TSA agent complained to the other “I told that b!&^% that that dumba$$ don’t work here, I don’t know where they found him.”

Apparently the TSA agent normally worked in another terminal, and didn’t know the rules.

A passenger filed a complaint against the TSA over this after passing security (since they feel their time was being wasted), and then I overhead the same TSA agent talking to the passenger and her supervisor (she was the one who first checked my ID, and then all of this happened when I was through the checkpoint). “Nuh uh, she lying she didn’t wait 45 minutes, that’s a lie and you know it.”

Keep it classy, TSA!

Once through security I headed up the escalator, turned left, and then went up another escalator, where the entrance to the British Airways Lounge is. I was welcomed by ANA agents, who were probably the only friendly JFK employees I interacted with all day.

Escalator to British Airways Lounge JFK

British Airways Lounge JFK Hours

The British Airways Lounge JFK is open daily from 5AM until 10PM.

It opens so early for the daytime New York to London flight on British Airways, then during the day it stays open for some other airlines, and in the evening it’s packed with British Airways passengers.

How To Access The British Airways Lounge JFK

Obviously the lounge is primarily for British Airways passengers, though access is also available to premium passengers on all other airlines departing from Terminal 7, with the exception of Alaska.

Presumably since British Airways has the only major lounge, they’ve had to strike agreements with other airlines. So the lounge can also be accessed by premium passengers on Aerolineas Argentinas, All Nippon Airways, Ukraine International, etc.

British Airways Club Lounge JFK Review

British Airways’ JFK lounge setup consists of several different areas, and in this installment I’ll be reviewing the one part I haven’t yet reviewed:

  • There’s the British Airways Concorde Room, which is accessible by British Airways first class passengers
  • There’s the British Airways First Lounge, which is accessible by oneworld Emerald members
  • There’s the British Airways Club Lounge, which I’ll be reviewing here, and which can be accessed by all business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members
  • There’s the pre-flight dining facility, which can exclusively be accessed by British Airways business class passengers

In this post I’m specifically reviewing the British Airways Club Lounge, which is the main business class section of the lounge. Why? Because British Airways recently renovated it (the new space opened in April 2019), to get it in line with their new lounge aesthetic.

As a point of comparison, here’s my review of this lounge space before it was renovated.

British Airways Lounge Layout & Seating

The British Airways Club Lounge at JFK is about 22,000 square feet, so it’s quite large. When I visited the lounge it was more or less deserted, as is the norm during the day, since the lounge is essentially just open for ANA flights.

Meanwhile in the evenings this lounge gets crazy busy.

Just inside the entrance was an area with some dining tables, a small buffet, and a bar.

British Airways Lounge JFK seating

British Airways Lounge JFK bar

Across from that was an area with some more seating, along with a TV.

British Airways Lounge JFK seating

Behind that was yet another room with more seating.

British Airways Lounge JFK seating

Past that was the second largest area of the lounge, which just had a bunch more seating. This mostly consisted of just seats in rows facing one another, though there was also a communal table.

British Airways Lounge JFK seating

British Airways Lounge JFK seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

The Elemis Spa was in the very back of the lounge in this area, though it’s only open in the evenings for British Airways passengers.

British Airways Lounge JFK seating

Then there was the main room of the lounge, which was massive. There was more of the same seating as above, there were some dining tables, there were communal tables, etc. I’ll let the pictures more or less speak for themselves.

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

British Airways Lounge New York seating

I found it interesting that the lounge had lockers, though there was a sign saying that they were “out of service due to TSA regulations.” Am I wrong in thinking that these are new? If so, I can’t help but wonder when they think TSA regulations are going to change?

British Airways Lounge JFK lockers

British Airways Lounge JFK lockers

The lounge largely lacked natural light and views. There were floor-to-ceiling windows at one end of the lounge, but you didn’t actually have a view of anything.

Physically I do feel like the lounge has been greatly improved. This is still hardly a cutting edge lounge, though before the renovations the lounge felt really tired. Now the furniture is in line with British Airways’ new design aesthetic.

British Airways Lounge Food & Drinks

The food selection in the British Airways Club Lounge was extremely lackluster:

  • They have even less food than unusual during the day since it’s not their own passengers in the lounge, so I guess to some extent ANA should be blamed for not offering bettering catering for their customers
  • Even during peak times the food selection is minimal, at best comparable to what you’d find in a US airline lounge; that’s because British Airways business class passengers have access to the separate pre-flight dining facility to eat

When I was in the lounge, the selection was limited to finger sandwiches, some pastries, cookies, chips, snack mix, and a pancake machine.

British Airways Lounge JFK snacks

British Airways Lounge JFK snacks

British Airways Lounge snacks

British Airways Lounge JFK snacks

British Airways Lounge JFK snack

British Airways Lounge pancake machine

On the plus side, the drink selection was a bit better, at least by comparison. There was a coffee machine, a large selection of self serve liquor, a pretty not-great selection of wine/prosecco, juice, and soft drinks.

British Airways Lounge JFK self serve bar

British Airways Lounge JFK liquor

British Airways Lounge JFK liquor

British Airways Lounge JFK wine

British Airways Lounge JFK wine

British Airways Lounge JFK wine

One awesome feature was that they had a cold brew “tap.” While the cold brew wasn’t my favorite, I love this concept, and would love to see something like this in more lounges.

British Airways Lounge JFK cold brew

British Airways also has a special partnership with Brew Dog, as they’ve created a special craft beer for British Airways. So there’s a whole section of the lounge dedicated to beer.

British Airways Lounge Brew Dog

British Airways Lounge Brew Dog

British Airways Lounge JFK Bottom Line

While this is far from being a world class lounge, British Airways’ JFK Club Lounge got a very nice makeover. The lounge was so tired before these changes, so it’s much better than before.

Ultimately the soft product continues to be lackluster, but then again, there are so many different “experiences” here, depending on which airline you’re flying, your status, etc.

If you’re just using this part of the lounge you’d almost certainly be disappointed, while the experience is much better in conjunction with the pre-flight dining, assuming you’re flying British Airways in business class.

If you’ve visited British Airways’ renovated Club Lounge at JFK, what did you think?

  1. Do you mind sending a complaint email to ANA for their lounge offering..? I have a JFK-NRT booked in J but thought they’d have a deal with BA to allow their own F/J pax into the dining facility, rather than serving the pathetic card spread

  2. I fly Alaska often and the TSA situation in this terminal is insanely bad- the worst at JFK, and worse than LGA or EWR. Even on my last Club World trip security took 30 minutes *with* TSA Pre and going through the priority security line – total WTF. I’ve heard rumors Alaska Airlines isn’t happy at all about how BA manages the terminal, and for good reason.

    I seriously don’t know what the excuse is – they just ‘renovated’ this terminal (mostly a new coat of paint), yet they can’t seem to bother to keep TSA Precheck open, let alone run enough lanes for their traffic. It’s perennially understaffed, and the overall condition of the waiting area is a total dump with wobbly tables, crowded lines, and the absolute surliest staff you can imagine.

    It’s like they’re allergic to properly staffing this place.

  3. I find lockers in airport lounges very useful: when in Tokyo NRT, I stored my duffle bag there while duty-free shopping.
    Here in the USA, not sure how they would let passengers store their bags.

  4. Have to agree with the TSA situation at T7. Back when I was there, the fast track security line was massive since there was just one checkpoint open. On the evening. Needless to say it took more than 45 minutes from the moment we entered the line until we were freed from the ogres.

  5. I was there once before renovation. I think Iberia still uses Terminal 7 and they have a 5PM flight, so there might be IB traffic as well. It looks nicer than when I was there a couple of years ago. I did like the space because it was quiet and a whole lot nicer than the rest of Terminal 7. I definitely didn’t have lunch there.

  6. I spend few hours before taking QR from JFK, last December.
    Man, this BA lounge sucks compared to the QR’s business lounge in Doha. The BA lounge looked so depressing I couldn’t wait to get in to my Qsuites.

  7. Only departed through JFK Terminal 7 twice, but both times the TSA checkpoint was the worst I’ve experienced. Especially rude agents, no operable pre-check line, very slow and crowded without a good flow pattern. While going security isn’t my favorite anyplace, no place has it been as terrible than at Terminal 7.

  8. Yes! The pancake machine! Nothing says upper class British than the pancake machine:

    “Name, Sir?”
    “Bond. James Bond. Now excuse me as I load up on machine made pancakes.”

    I like to imagine the pancake machine salesman as John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. He travels the earth peddling these things to hotels, lounges, etc.

  9. This is pathetic considering the amount of money British Airways makes on their flights from JFK.

    Delta Skyclub at NY is far superior. clean, airy and bright with a salad bar and a few hot food choices.

    Plus, If flying to London from EWR, flyers are treated to Polaris.

    What is BA thinking???

  10. Quote: ‘What is BA thinking???’

    They are thinking fine – BA customers are well looked after. Presumably the lack of support for other airlines’ customers is down to those airlines, not BA.

    The lockers are not new – but TSA making them unavailable seems to be. They were in use when I was there a couple of months ago but you had to get a key from staff.

  11. JFK – Salmonella and despair… (“Crazy Rich Asians” nailed that one!) At least you weren’t stuck in the hell hole of Terminal 1!

  12. Can someone confirm if the Skyteam lounge in Istanbul airport is now open? It’s on the Skyteam website but could not find it on the airport website. Thanks

  13. I’ve been to that lounge several times recently and I think the overall feel of it is nicer than the review indicates. However, I’ve also been to the Club pre-flight dining area since I was flying BA business, and can say that you’re not missing much. The food selection in that area is surprisingly limited. It’s just a buffet, no menu or a la carte service, and there are just a few dishes on offer. Very disappointing.

    I can also say that the first class section of the lounge is almost identical to the business class, just smaller. Even though I’m Oneworld Emerald and have access to the first class lounge, I’ve actually found the business side to be marginally better because it’s more spacious (and you also have to go over there in any case if you want to access the Club dining facility).

    The TSA security situation, as everyone has mentioned, is atrocious. BA should be ashamed of the experience their passengers have to go through. It feels like you’re in a 1980s-era K-Mart on Christmas Eve. Bright fluorescent lights, faded and dirty facilities, a mass of humanity.

    As an aside, I recently flew BA in business out of Budapest and there is a fast track security lane there, but BA pax don’t have access to it. The agent there told me that BA refuses to pay for their premium and elite pax to use it, so instead we have to wait in the general lane — which is only marginally better than what I described above for JFK T7. I guess BA has made a strategic decision to not give a shi* about the security experience for their customers.

  14. As most of you can tell BA will be leaving T7 for T8. The renovation is very lackluster for the 10 million or so they spent. Quality and selection the materials were poor seats already wearing countertops are stained and shippin Lucky they plan to be out of the terminal by 2022

  15. I’ve used the lounge a couple of times for the morning BA flight. TSA is a breeze at that time of day, was through Pre in 2 minutes both times. The lounge is an improvement but nothing special and feels a bit sterile early in the morning since it’s quiet and no one is really using the bar area or beer taps etc. The Alaska lounge is much nicer and has better views from recollection

  16. @Alpha
    Is it really BA making decisions about TSA staffing?
    From outside the USA it seems quite possible that this poor experience is due to TSA acting in cartel with the US3 to try to persuade everyone to fly on a US airline – “America First”.
    Yes, I know there is a OneWorld trans-atlantic JV, but that’s too sophisticated for TSA to understand.

  17. @bagoly
    BA is the operator of this terminal (they’re the only foreign airline to operate a US airport terminal as well) and absolutely does.

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