Review: British Airways Lounge New York JFK

Filed Under: British Airways

I spent the night at the Sheraton JFK Airport, which I’ve reviewed in the past, so won’t be covering again in this trip report.

My flight from New York to Madrid on Iberia was scheduled to depart at 5:35PM, though I decided to leave the Sheraton a bit early, at around 2PM. The hotel’s shuttle dropped me off at Terminal 7 at JFK. This is primarily British Airways’ terminal, though several of their partner airlines, and also some other random airlines, operate out of the terminal as well.

United used to also operate their Premium Service flights out of Terminal 7, though they’ve now pulled out of JFK altogether.

The terminal is rather outdated, and the architecture is definitely a bit past its prime.

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Terminal 7 New York JFK

Premium check-in for oneworld airlines is located on the left side of the terminal, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, and OpenSkies.

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Terminal 7 check-in New York JFK

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Terminal 7 premium check-in New York JFK

I was way early, so there were no queues at check-in. Within 60 seconds I had my boarding pass, and was directed to the security checkpoint. In the evening there’s a dedicated premium security checkpoint across from this check-in area, though it was too early for that, as the area wasn’t open yet.

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British Airways business class check-in New York JFK

So I headed to the standard security checkpoint, located by the economy check-in counters. Security took only about 10 minutes, which is pretty good for Terminal 7. Once through security I took the escalators up a level, turned left, and then took the escalators up one more level to the British Airways Galleries Lounge.

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Escalator to British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK

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Entrance to British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK

This lounge has both a first and business class section. It’s worth pointing out that The Concorde Room (for British Airways first class passengers) is on the opposite side of the terminal. So this portion of the “first class lounge” is for oneworld Emerald members, as well as those traveling in first class on airlines other than British Airways.

I actually sort of prefer the business class section of the lounge, so headed there first. From the reception desk that required turning right.

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British Airways Lounge New York JFK

As you enter there’s a business center with some PCs, though there’s not much privacy between seats.

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British Airways Lounge business center New York

Then if you keep walking you’ll end up in a long hallway with plenty of seating, though there’s no natural light.

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British Airways Lounge seating JFK

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British Airways Lounge seating JFK

At the far end of that room is the Elemis Spa, where British Airways business & first class passengers can receive a complimentary treatment. That benefit isn’t extended to Iberia customers (which I don’t really get given that the airline is owned by British Airways, and beyond that, operates as part of a transatlantic joint venture).

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British Airways Lounge Elemis Spa New York

Across from the spa is a play area for kids.

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British Airways Lounge kids area New York

The main area of the lounge can also be accessed from near the entrance. Rather than walking straight ahead you simply turn left.

The lounge is huge, though ironically almost feels sort of private thanks to the low ceilings and square pillars throughout the lounge, which wouldn’t typically seem like a “feature.”

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British Airways Lounge seating New York JFK

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British Airways Lounge seating New York JFK

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British Airways Lounge seating New York JFK

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British Airways Lounge seating New York JFK

The lounge has a lot of seating, though given how many flights British Airways (and other airlines) operate out of New York, the lounge can still get really crowded.

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British Airways Lounge seating New York JFK

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British Airways Lounge New York JFK

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British Airways Lounge JFK

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British Airways Lounge JFK

As you can see, the furniture in the lounge sure is eclectic. I’m not sure whether to view the different “themed” areas as a feature, or simply a creative way to buy a lot of furniture on wholesale.

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British Airways Lounge JFK

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British Airways Lounge JFK

Perhaps the below “design” properly sums up just how confusing the lounge’s decor is.

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British Airways Lounge water feature JFK

The lounge also has a pre-flight supper facility, which I’ve reviewed in the past. However, it only opens later in the evening, and is available exclusively to British Airways business class passengers as well as Cathay Pacific first class passengers traveling to Vancouver.

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British Airways Lounge pre-flight supper JFK

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British Airways Lounge pre-flight supper JFK

The food selection in this lounge is somewhat limited, given that:

  • British Airways first class passengers have access to the Concorde Room
  • Oneworld Emerald members have access to the first class lounge (not that the food there is much better, but…)
  • British Airways business class passengers have access to the pre-flight supper facility
  • A lot of other airlines use this lounge, so British Airways doesn’t have all that much of an incentive to have great offerings

There are several service stations, some of which have mostly drinks, while others are more heavily focused on snacks.

There’s one station with a few types of juice, beer, and all kinds of packaged chips.

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British Airways Lounge buffet JFK

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British Airways Lounge buffet JFK

Then there’s a bar of sorts, which has self serve liquor and wine.

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British Airways Lounge bar JFK

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British Airways Lounge liquor JFK

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British Airways Lounge wine selection JFK

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British Airways Lounge wine selection JFK

Also on that bar are several types of snacks, including trail mix, pretzels, M&Ms, etc.

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British Airways Lounge snack selection JFK

Then there’s a table with fresh fruit.

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British Airways Lounge fresh fruit JFK

There’s also a station with instant noodles and more packaged chips.

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British Airways Lounge snack selection JFK

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British Airways Lounge instant noodles JFK

There are packaged cheese and crackers, finger sandwiches, etc.

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British Airways Lounge cheese & crackers JFK

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British Airways Lounge finger sandwiches JFK

There’s a station with cookies, biscuits, etc.

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British Airways Lounge cookies & biscuits JFK

All-in-all it’s a pretty underwhelming spread, and not even to the level of a Delta SkyClub, for example. But I’m guessing that’s by design, since British Airways has other facilities for their more “premium” customers.

As a oneworld Emerald member I could also use the first class section of the lounge, which is on the opposite side of the reception desk as you enter (on the left).

The lounge is rather sad, and isn’t significantly differentiated from the business class lounge.

The lounge is fairly small, and has virtually no natural light, so it’s just not a nice place to spend a lot of time.

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British Airways First Class Lounge New York

The snack selection in this lounge is ever-so-slightly enhanced, in the sense that they have slightly better finger sandwiches. But that’s about it.

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British Airways First Class Lounge snack selection New York

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British Airways First Class Lounge snack selection New York

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British Airways First Class Lounge snack selection New York

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British Airways First Class Lounge snack selection New York

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British Airways First Class Lounge snack selection JFK

Even the liquor selection is mostly the same. The good news is that they serve Laurent Perrier, which is a fairly good champagne.

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British Airways First Class Lounge drink selection JFK

I was quite hungry at this point, so had some finger sandwiches and blue corn chips.

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British Airways First Class Lounge snacks JFK

While I was in the lounge most of the other guests were Japanese passengers on the ANA flight to Tokyo. While I love Japanese culture, the noodle slurping and snoring really got to me. The ANA passengers were just going to town on those instant noodles, and I felt like I was in the middle of a surround sound slurping competition. On top of that, several of them fell asleep after their noodle soiree, and snored in unison.

I got some work done on my laptop, and at around 4:45PM headed to the gate for my flight to Madrid. The departures board at Terminal 7 had some cool traffic, and I was especially intrigued by the Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev.

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JFK Terminal 7 departures board

My flight on Iberia was departing from gate 6, which is located at the other end of the (small) concourse.

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Terminal 7 JFK

I could see the Iberia plane as I approached, and noticed it was in the old paint scheme.

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Iberia A340 JFK

While I find Iberia’s old livery to be hideous, at the same time there’s something I love about how “classic” it is.

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Iberia A340 JFK

Though my favorite plane at JFK Terminal 7 is the British Airways A318, which operates their all business class service to London City Airport.

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British Airways A318 JFK

As I approached the departure gate I noticed the two pilots still in the gate area, and the rest of the crew slowly strolling up to the gate as well.

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Iberia departure gate JFK

At around 4:50PM they began lining up passengers, where there were different sections for each group, which is a smart system.

Finally at 5PM boarding was called, starting with business class.

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Iberia boarding JFK

British Airways Lounge New York bottom line

For a contract business class lounge this is perfectly fine. The lounge does get really busy, though, given the volume of passengers flying out of Terminal 7 on a daily basis. Still, this lounge pales in comparison to the likes of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York, which in theory should be similarly nice (both are business class lounges of British carriers).

So yeah, this won’t win an award for best airline lounge and I wouldn’t make a point of arriving at the airport early to visit this lounge, though it’s also not the worst lounge out there.

If you’ve been to the British Airways Lounge New York JFK, what was your experience like?

  1. Another plus is that ANA (random) also shares the BA F section of this lounge which means fairly decent sushi and Japanese snacks if you’re there early enough.

  2. @John I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s nothing special. Standard airport food.

    I have a soft spot for T7 as I associate it with CX and back in the day, my UA flight to LA to connect onwards to NZ. But it’s in bad need of a makeover. The staff at the Galleries Lounge were somewhat surly last time I was there as well.

  3. “While I love Japanese culture, the noodle slurping and snoring really got to me.”

    The noodle slurping I get, but what does “Japanese culture” have to do with snoring? Do gaijin have some kind of genetic indisposition for snoring that nobody told me about?

  4. @john honestly? i’d probably pass on both. the supper room actually has decent food, though. iirc, T7 airside food offerings are pretty dismal. burger king, bonfire, a pret-like sandwich place. that’s about it.

  5. This is a pretty SAD lounge. Poor lighting, poor selection of food, dated furnishings. I expected more from BA and CX.

  6. In a weird way I love the livery on this Iberia plane, I had a toy bus when I was a child in the 1980s in the same colour scheme. I’m guessing it’s like this as they haven’t got around to repainting it yet but I personally think it would be cool if a few airlines gave their planes the retro paint schemes. There’s something really appealing about the silver unpainted AA planes, although the last one I was on between MIA and LIM could have done with a refresh of the interior.

  7. I’ve been to this lounge several times flying on CX flights. I agree that the F class section is fairly dreary. But at least it’s quiet. I spent a little time once in the business class section and found it to be too busy and cluttered with lots of empty dishes laying around.

    I love the macadamia cookies though.

  8. Been there many times; it’s somewhere to get away from the crowds. The food is definitely snack food only, and you need to be your own cocktail waiter, so learn what goes into your fave drink! You can ask (nicely) for proper champagne, which will appear from behind the scenes. It sure beats the detestable prosecco, a vile sparkling wine which the British who can’t afford champagne have embraced enthusiastically. The lounge needs a total refurb, but have heard nothing about whether this may happen. As Ben says, don’t bother getting here especially early for a luxe lounge experience; it’s not on offer!

  9. I usually buy a pretzel first from Auntie Anne’s then head back to the lounge to grab a beer or some juice. If i’m still hungry, I get some nuts, Oreo’s, pretzels or some biscotti. Can’t go wrong with those. Sometimes I even get some sandwiches as well. Sometimes I’ll have some quinoa salad if they have it available. I miss the shortbread they had and the Lays chips they had on offer.

    With regards to the terminal, while I don’t like it since its pretty basic and run down, I appreciate the fact that its small and the walk is not long. I also like the premium security lane they have. I don’t have to go through those body scanners.

    BA just renewed its lease for another 7 years with the Port Authority. Hopefully, they are working behind the scenes with AA to move in and expand at terminal 8.

  10. Well that looks pretty hideous. All I could think was: If I was flying first class on Cathay and this was the lounge the provide I’d be pretty disappointed. But it’s only the first class passengers to Vancouver the ones going all the way to Hong Kong get a better lounge? Probably the Concorde I’d imagine.

  11. Hey Lucky,

    I have a question not related to this topic but I’m having trouble acquiring Ethiad seats via AA. Ethiad website shows Guest First availability for flights this upcoming July, but when I inquire with AA (2 reps in a row), they see 0 space. They see the flights but it shows no space. Should I wait and continue calling over the next couple weeks? TIA.

  12. @Mark

    Passengers on CX for both Vancouver and Hong Kong bound use the Terraces lounge. The Concorde Lounge is strictly for BA passengers flying in F.

    The pre-flight supper is available for F passengers regardless of destination. Had a chance to try it a few months ago prior to my flight to HKG with CX.

  13. I used all the various JFKBA lounges in July last year when I flew BA F. I arrived early to maximise lounge time, but before the Concorde Room opened, so started off in Galleries F, where there was a similar selection of sandwiches, which were decent. I also saw the ANA pax, with the NH agents stationed at the lounge desk. I noticed that about the time the NH pax left, the food offering was expanded, and a few extra things were put out, getting closer to the BA wave of departures. Still hor d’oeuvre type items, but double the choice there had been while NH were using the lounge…

    I moved to the CCR shortly after and made use of the dining area there, which is more in line with what one should expect from a focus city F lounge. I did pop back to Galleries J for my massage, which was great, then stayed in the CCR until flight time. Overall, I enjoyed my visit 🙂

  14. I’ve only been in BA’s business lounge after dark–natural light does improve thing!

    The food has improved a tiny bit over the last year and a half, though I hadn’t realized one can still ask for champagne. The lounge really is worn and grubby, though; the wifi is pathetic and I regularly spend several minutes looking for a comfortable chair next to a power outlet. What century is this?

    Earlier this month I used the showers in the Elemis spa, and was further appalled at the rude and indifferent service. One desk attendant was fixated on clipping his nails; two others were deeply engrossed in a printer issue. There were several people waiting. When finally someone deigned to respond to my request for a shower, I was waved over to the sign-up list (there was no one there). Finally someone unlocked a shower room for me. Like the rest of the lounge, the facility is tired and rundown. But the rudeness was the depressing part.

    Sadly, it’s still better than the Admiral’s Club.

  15. @Veritas

    Just to add, if you read my post above, they renewed their lease with the Port Authority. And at the same time from what I’ve heard, there are talks with AA to expand terminal 8 and move in there. I hope they’re working behind the scenes to make it happen.

  16. You know, IF I planned to have a big meal onboard (which may mean sacrificing sleep on a short transatlantic) the drinks + bar snacks model isn’t too bad. I’d rather have a great food spread of course, but I think I prefer their extensive snack selection to a subpar hot/fresh selection.

  17. @Lucky BA does not own Iberia, both airlines are owned by IAG (International Airlines Group) there is no cross shareholding between the companies.

  18. Hi Lucky,
    I like how you note how sad and pathetic the First Class lounge is. The last time I was there it was not even clean. Really shocking. Your pictures of the “Galleries” lounge though are hard to believe; I’ve never been in that lounge without a crowd. It’s always so, so busy. And, this really needs to be said, there is one men’s washroom with two urinals which is woefully insufficient for the volume of traffic. It’s a really unpleasant setup. However, access to the pre-flight meal, that area is probably the nicest of the lot. The showers are not bad either.

  19. Can you tell me if a IB Business Class pax can use the shower service in the lounge? Or is just for BA First Class? Thanks for your answer.
    Great report by the way,

  20. glenn t says:
    February 23, 2016 at 9:29 pm
    If I can pay £4000 or £5000 for a business class flight Glenn, I think I can probably afford Champagne too!

  21. Thanks for your review. Can one purchase a pass to use the lounge? If so which lounge and do you know how much? Thank you!

  22. We visited the BA business class lounge at Terminal 7 in JFK airport a few days ago, and were not impressed!! No hot food, soup available after 4pm, dried up sandwiches and a few crisps! Get your act together British Airways! ! The seating was very uncomfortable, and no mobile charging stations by tables. The only place available to re-charge phones etc.was a tiny area on a stand about 3 inches x 12 inches, in the middle of the lounge, where people had piled phone on top of phone …not good!
    All in all, better facilities in the economy departure lounge! !

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