New York’s JFK Airport is undergoing a major redevelopment, and that includes American Airlines’ Terminal 8. British Airways is in the process of moving to JFK Terminal 8, and as part of this we’re seeing the introduction of some new lounges.
In this post I wanted to cover all the details of what we know so far about the new lounges, as they’re expected to open as of Thursday, December 1, 2022.
In this post:
The basics of JFK Terminal 8 changes
Just to recap the very basics, $400 million has been invested to redevelop JFK Terminal 8. Among the changes, this includes five new wide body gates, four new wide body hardstand parking positions, an enhanced baggage handling system, and 130,000 square feet of new and renovated terminal space, including new amenities and lounges.
For what it’s worth, the remote stands will allegedly only be used to park planes that are on the ground for an extended period of time, rather than for boarding or deplaning. That’s good news.
As part of this redevelopment, British Airways will exclusively be operating out of Terminal 8 as of December 1, 2022. American and British Airways have a transatlantic joint venture, so this is fantastic news, since it will make connections between the two airlines much more seamless.
American has been underutilizing Terminal 8, and Terminal 7 will also eventually be demolished as part of the airport’s redevelopment, so British Airways’ move is needed for that reason as well.
American & British Airways new premium check-in facility JFK
With American and British Airways co-locating at Terminal 8, we’ll shortly see a new co-branded premium check-in facility open, offering “personalized, concierge-style service for top-tier guests.” This replaces American’s former Flagship First Check-in space, which closed in early 2022 in order to allow for this construction.
There will be different counters depending on your status and/or which class of service you’re flying in. The most exclusive area of the check-in facility will be open to American Airlines and British Airways long haul first class passengers, Concierge Key members on all routes, AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members on long haul itineraries, and oneworld Emerald members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary.
American & British Airways new premium lounges JFK
From a passenger experience standpoint, the biggest change will be made to lounges. As of December 1, 2022, Terminal 8 will feature three new distinctive lounges, which will have the capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 customers at a time. These lounges will be run by both American and British Airways, so you can expect elements from both airlines.
The lounges are named Chelsea, Soho, and Greenwich, which is kind of brilliant, since those places can be found in both New York and London. Let’s cover what we know so far about these new lounges.
Chelsea Lounge New York JFK
The Chelsea Lounge will be the new most exclusive lounge in the terminal, and it will replace American’s Flagship First Dining facility. It will be in a different location than current lounges in the terminal, and will be located above gates 14 through 20. The lounge will be open daily from 4:30AM until 12:30AM.
The Chelsea Lounge will be roughly 10,000 square feet with seating for 128 guests, and will feature an all-new champagne bar, fireside lounge, luxury showers, and an a la carte dining room.
The Chelsea Lounge will be open to:
- British Airways first class passengers
- American Airlines Flagship First passengers (including on eligible transcon flights)
- American Airlines Flagship Business Plus passengers (this is a special bundle that can be purchased)
- American Airlines Concierge Key members on long haul Flagship itineraries (this doesn’t include premium transcon flights)
- British Airways Gold Guest List members
Keep in mind that American will be eliminating its premium first class as of late 2024, so at that point the only American flyers who would have access to this lounge would be Concierge Key members on Flagship itineraries, plus those who purchased Flagship Business Plus tickets.
Dare I say that based on the couple of pictures that have been released so far, this looks like somewhat of a downgrade compared to Flagship First Dining? There’s no natural light, and the decor just looks… okay? Admittedly Flagship First Dining wouldn’t have the space to handle British Airways passengers as well, but still…
Soho Lounge New York JFK
The Soho Lounge will be the second most exclusive lounge in the terminal. It will be in a different location than current lounges in the terminal, and will be next to the Chelsea Lounge, above gates 14 through 20. The lounge will be open daily from 4:30AM until 12:30AM.
The Soho Lounge will be roughly 12,000 square feet with seating for 282 guests, and will feature sweeping airside views, a wine bar, a cocktail lounge, a library, and a buffet.
The Soho Lounge will be open to:
- American AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members on long haul Flagship itineraries (this doesn’t include premium transcon flights)
- oneworld Emerald members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary
- American Airlines Concierge Key members on non-Flagship itineraries
- Same day oneworld first class passengers on airlines other than American Airlines and British Airways (for example, Japan Airlines is moving to Terminal 8 in May 2023, so those first class passengers would access to this lounge)
British Airways had a special oneworld Emerald lounge in Terminal 7, so it’s nice to see this concept coming to Terminal 8, as this isn’t something that American previously had.
Greenwich Lounge New York JFK
The current American Flagship Lounge will be rebranded as the Greenwich Lounge. The lounge is roughly 27,000 square feet with seating for 590 guests, and we’re told to expect a premium wine table, expansive seating, and chef-inspired meals. It sounds like not a whole lot will be changing here otherwise compared to the old Flagship Lounge. The lounge will be open daily from 4:30AM until 12:30AM.
It also remains to be seen what is done with the former space of Flagship First Dining, since that will no longer be operational. Will guests just be invited to sit there while eating, or will it remain closed off?
The Greenwich Lounge will be open to:
- British Airways business class passengers
- American Airlines Flagship Business passengers (including on eligible transcon flights)
- American AAdvantage Platinum members on long haul Flagship itineraries (this doesn’t include premium transcon flights)
- oneworld Sapphire members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary
While this is a perfectly pleasant lounge, I’d still say it’s potentially a downgrade compared to the pre-flight dining that British Airways offered its business class passengers in Terminal 7.
What about American Admirals Club members?
While the above covers premium cabin passengers and elite members, what about those with American Admirals Club access? Unfortunately it’s not great news there.
The only Admirals Club will be located in Concourse C, which requires taking the underground tunnel to the other side of the terminal. Not only is that location not ideal, but it’s a fairly small lounge, and it’s woefully in need of a renovation (unless something recently changed, and I missed it?).
British Airways is in the process of moving to American Airlines’ Terminal 8 at JFK. That move will be complete as of December 1, 2022, and you can expect all these new lounges to also be operational as of that date.
We’ll see the opening of the new Chelsea and Soho Lounges, which will be open to first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members, respectively. Then the existing Flagship Lounge will be rebranded as the Greenwich Lounge, and will be open to business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members.
What do you make of these new Terminal 8 JFK lounges?