Pictures: British Airways’ New First Lounge, New York JFK

Filed Under: British Airways

Update: Read my full British Airways First Lounge New York JFK review.

Earlier this week, Ben wrote about how British Airways was once again adjusting their Club World service, a part of a massive, yet very slow investment in their passenger experience.

As part of this investment, British Airways is also renovating some of their lounges around the world.

British Airways has adopted a new lounge concept which they have already rolled out in Rome and Aberdeen. They also have plans to bring this style to their lounges in Geneva, San Francisco and Johannesburg.

We are pretty critical of British Airways lounges here at OMAAT.

Ben has reviewed their flagship Concorde Room numerous times and I also enjoy his harsh but very fair experiences, and I’ve also written about how sometimes I would rather just stay home than arrive at Heathrow Terminal 5 early to ‘enjoy’ their business class lounges.

New York JFK Lounge

British Airways operates from Terminal 7 at New York JFK Airport.

British Airways has just released images of their new First Lounge at JFK Airport (primarily for oneworld Emerald members), and it looks great. The newly refurbished lounge features:

  • A 60% larger space than it was previously, at 5,480 square feet
  • An upgraded dining room to dine before the flight to maximize rest on board (almost all British Airways flights from New York to London are overnight and only six hours in length) although this is restricted to those traveling in Club World who have access to the First Lounge as oneworld Emeralds. Those traveling in British Airways First Class have access to the separate Concorde Room dining room
  • A lighter, seasonal ‘bowl food’ concept for any passengers wanting a lighter meal (I assume that just means a light meal in a bowl), or those who do not have access to the dining room mentioned above
  • New quiet work stations
  • Rotating wine flights to sample a particular style of wine

Here are some images of the physical space:

And here are some of the food and beverage options (which admittedly don’t look as good):

Early reports on FlyerTalk suggest the bar is a ‘hybrid model’ — you can either pour your own drink at the bar or ask a staff member to pour one for you.

The new layout apparently also reduced the amount of seating, so capacity could become an issue especially as British Airways have so many flights leaving each evening.

Bottom line

Credit where credit is due — this looks great. I appreciate British Airways is finally investing in their passenger experience, although the speed they are doing this at is laughable — it can take them a year just to roll out a new blanket.

But it makes sense when you think about why British Airways is in no hurry to improve its highly criticised Club World product.

The JFK First Lounge is open to oneworld Emerald passengers departing from Terminal 7, as well as those traveling oneworld first class. Do note that British Airways first class passengers can also use the Concorde Room JFK, which completed renovations earlier this year, which is the “real” first class lounge for British Airways at the airport. British Airways operate a similar lounge split at Heathrow where they have a ‘First Lounge’ for oneworld Emeralds and then the Concorde Room for those traveling British Airways First Class (or those who hold super elites who hold a Concorde Room card).

British Airways will complete its Terminal 7 renovations next year, when it also updates its business class lounge.

Are you flying from New York JFK Terminal 7 anytime soon?

  1. I was invited to attend a reception on its official opening day due to my frequent First Class flights.

    I guess this invitation proves that I am valued far more that the sore losers jealous at me because I pay for my First class flights.

    Was too busy to attend the reception but the pics look interesting.

  2. Is the bar self-serve? It’s an odd setup because it looks like a typical bar that would have a bartender, but then there seems to be labeled foods and drinks, the cappuccino machine looks like its designed to be used by anyone, and its a pretty ‘open’ layout to begin with. The wine cellar room looks great.

    Are there no regular seating areas? Interesting that all of the press photos are of dining areas. I get that most people want to eat so they can sleep on board, but what about the odd daytime morning flights, or people on connections looking to relax? No day beds or lounge chairs at all?

    Great work by BA here, shame that it will be torn down in 4 years when B6 takes over the contract. VERY interested to see if BA stays in the new B6 terminal once completed, or moves over to T8 to be with their oneworld partners.

  3. James – I think you have missed a key point, which is that there are two different dining options in the lounge. The lighter food (as shown in the pictures) available to all lounge guests (basically any OW Emeralds NOT travelling in First, as you say).

    There is then a separate dining room (again, the dining room pics in your post, I think) which is ONLY available to passengers travelling in Club World. They benefit from proper sit down meals in the lounge as part of BA’s “sleeper service” concept in Club. The proper dining room is NOT available to pax not travelling in club (i.e. OE Emeralds in economy/premium economy). This is broadly the same idea as exists in other BA lounges (e.g. IAD, where the dining room is only for Club passengers).

    I hate to say it, but I’m afraid this all feels a bit ill-informed. A 2 minute read of the FlyerTalk thread would have explained all of that.

  4. Dare I say the Alaska Airlines lounge next door looks better? It doesn’t have the top shelf hooch but it does have a pretty nice barista bar.

    It’s kind of funny they sunk all this money in this almost 2 year long construction project as in 2-3 years this whole crappy terminal is getting razed by JetBlue.

  5. Id be shocked if they actually complete the renovations. Might be full go ahead until the PA votes but thats really just a formality. They lost Terminal 7. Their future at JFK is likely at Terminal 8 with AA and oneworld so they should probably just work on building that out, like what was supposed to be done a while ago until AA bagged it

  6. @ Chris – I was going off what the BA press release said but thank you for clarifying the dining options. I’ve updated the post. Cheers.

  7. @ Guru — reports on FlyerTalk say that you can either pour your own drink, or the bar tender will pour it for you. I’ve updated the post to reflect that. Cheers.

  8. It is a big improvement over the old galleries first lounge (literally anything would be), but it looks like an Ikea showroom to me – why so bizarrely Scandinavian? And none of the seating looks comfortable. Presumably they forgot to include pictures of an actual lounge area rather than a glammed-up coffee shop?

    They did a great job on the whole with the new lounge in Dulles so hopefully this will look better/more comfortable in person.

    For those commenters saying this Weill be torn down in less than 4 years LOL you clearly haven’t seen the pace of Port Authority airport improvements of the past! It would not be at all surprising for T7 to be standing for another decade before they finally knock it down.

  9. @Kerry – if Cuomo is reelected, expect the project to be full steam ahead. You obviously haven’t flown through LGA since they started rebuilding the CTB. Its ahead of schedule. Cuomo is eyeing a run in 2020. He will get what he wants, whether its a good thing or not, to base his platform off of.

  10. @ Kerry – I did think it looked a bit Scandinavian too but I like the clean, bright design especially as it appears there are so few windows. I think it won’t age quickly.

  11. I didn’t realize that the Concorde Room at JFK recently completed renovations — can anyone direct me to pictures of that? Thanks!

  12. Due to ongoing renovations the old oneworld Emerald read BA first class lounge at JFK was a grim and really small place to be in a year ago. It looks like they’ve significantly increased space and added some natural light.

    It does scream CX/ QF LHR lounge style all over which I appreciate a lot and funnily enough creates some sort of consistency across the different oneworld airlines. Well done (:

  13. I was in the lounge on the 8th when the photographer was inside too. The bar is self-serve however there is always someone to help you. Seating area is fair however the lounge snacks are fairly basic. Dining area is lovely, two rooms, lot of seating, staff checking up on you, serving drinks. However it is not that perfect lol

  14. @Alpha, indeed the barista bar in the Alaska lounge is great, love it!

    @ James, any indication of what the hours are? Also, will ANA passengers flying in first be able to utilize the new BA first class lounge, or will the lounge only open later in the day for the BA operated flights?

  15. Why must you always start your posts with “ like Ben said/ posted earlier” etc. Seems like there is a subservient culture at this blog. I recall the TAG booking post from Tiffany where the same high handedness from Ben came across in the post. Is this required deference a cultural thing at your workplace? Seems odd and unhealthy.

  16. @Deepak Idiot! Why do you criticize James valuable post with your ridiculous “odd and unhealthy” bs? If you can’t post anything of value to the post just keep your unfounded criticism to yourself

  17. I was there on the 8th in CW – dining not obvious at present as the main selection is through the closed door in the photo, only the Asian salad/bowl food option is obvious. The Galleries Club area is still to be renovated hence the funny split just now – on the up side it means F lounge access for CW pax at present after dining! The section that hasn’t been renovated yet seems so dark and old, will be great when all complete.

    Boarding total chaos though (normal for JFK) – lots of lanes open but only using some of them!

  18. I passed through here last Friday as a OW Sapphire flying in Y… Wasn’t even aware that it was open and staff were redirecting all pax to the F side of the lounge. I was on 182, the last LHR-bound flight of the day and the lounge was packed. Agree that the decor seemed odd for BA, but also felt the layout was confusing. The tiny dining area was poorly designed with people running into each other in a corner. One of the staff remarked that the new champagne self serve system was confusing to pax and went through only a single bottle for the entire day. The lounge still has a lot of kinks to work out, but overall represents a small improvement from BA’s standards if the J side post-renovation turns out like the F lounge.

  19. Since when did New York–J.F.K. become an airport in Hawaii? I don’t understand all those Hawaiian flowers on the food buffet.

  20. Looks like BA has finally come up with a lounge design that doesn’t look tacky and 90’s. While not in the cutting edge of lounges, this one looks really good considering it’s BA.

  21. @James

    Good point this lounge was incredibly dark/dingy before so it is wise to lighten it up. Maybe the chairs are more comfortable than they look!

  22. I am not surprised about Aer Lingus’ Kavenagh stepping down. His ‘gateway strategy’ is being snubbed by BA who consistently deny Avios to paying Business Class customers who transit through Dublin to fly from continental Europe to the US with Aer Lingus. Oneworld on paper … but many competing planets in that universe and little regard for the consumer.

  23. It definitely looks like an improvement over some of the BA lounges I’ve visited in the past. I am flying Iberia business in November from T7. I don’t have any Oneworld status, though, so I won’t have access to this lounge, will I? Thanks!

  24. Not allowed into the restaurant even though I’m a Gold member. Wasn’t flying business class. What’s the point

  25. Very crowded, limited amount of food. People stay in line just to get some snacks. In the next 2-3 hours, there are only 4 flights departing from this terminal, why there over 300 people in this lounge – there are no 300 1st class seats on those flights. My flight has only 3 seats occupied. Besides snacks, there is no food. Very disappointing!

  26. I was here a few weeks ago and this lounge isn’t in the same league of the best other airlines have in other parts of the world. People were standing around waiting for others to leave to get their seats. Food was average at best and I chose to with to eat on the plane which says a lot. NY airports are terrible and BA hasn’t worked out how to make their lounges feel luxurious on a budget anywhere and this is no exception. If you have to travel through JFK you have to live with it but don’t expect a lounge ‘experience’ like you get in other international airports.

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