Review: Emirates Lounge New York (JFK)

Review: Emirates Lounge New York (JFK)

NAME: Emirates Lounge
Airport: JFK
DATE: May 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The recently renovated Emirates Lounge New York is spacious, boasts great views, has a good hot food selection via a buffet, and offers boarding directly from the lounge.
19

We got to Europe on Emirates’ New York to Milan fifth freedom flight, as we managed to find first class award availability for two passengers several days before departure. In this post I wanted to review the Emirates Lounge New York JFK, and then in the next installment I’ll review the flight.

Personally I’m a bit conflicted about outstation Emirates Lounges. On the one hand, they’re way better than a contract lounge you may otherwise have access to as a business class passenger. On the other hand, for the amount of money Emirates invests in having its own lounges at so many airports, I feel like the experience could be a bit better.

Emirates first class check-in New York JFK

We got to JFK Terminal 4 at around 6:30PM, plenty early for our 10:20PM departure to Milan. That’s quite a police truck!

Quite a welcome to JFK

Terminal 4 was busy, but not nearly as chaotic as the scenes we’re seeing at so many other airports.

New York JFK Terminal 4

Emirates’ check-in counter was opening right as we arrived. Emirates has a 10:20PM flight to Milan and an 11PM flight to Dubai, so check-in opened for both of those flights.

Emirates check-in New York JFK

The main check-in area had a first class section, and then there was also a separate first class counter closer to the entrance to the terminal.

Emirates check-in New York JFK
Emirates check-in New York JFK

We were checked in within minutes, and headed to the Emirates Lounge. Thanks to TSA Pre-Check, security wasn’t too bad at all, and we were through within around 15 minutes.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK location

The Emirates Lounge JFK is located in Terminal 4 past security, near gates A6-A7. Once you clear security, just go down the escalator, and follow the signage toward gates A2-A7.

New York JFK Terminal 4 airside
New York JFK Terminal 4 airside

Eventually you’ll see the signage for airline lounges, and then there are stairs and elevators leading to the Emirates Lounge, Air India Lounge, and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

New York JFK Terminal 4 airside

The entrance to the Emirates Lounge is immediately next to the entrance to the Air India Lounge.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK exterior

Emirates Lounge New York JFK hours

Emirates is unique in that it rarely contracts out its lounges to other airlines (many other airlines make lounges available to Priority Pass members during off-peak hours), so the lounges are typically open around four hours prior to Emirates departures.

At the moment the Emirates Lounge JFK is open daily from 7:20AM until 11:20AM (since the early New York to Dubai flight departs at 11:20AM), and then again from 6:20PM until 11PM (since the New York to Milan flight departs at 10:20PM, while the late New York to Dubai flight departs at 11PM).

Emirates Lounge New York JFK hours

Emirates Lounge New York JFK entry requirements

The Emirates Lounge JFK is open to the following passengers:

  • Emirates first class passengers
  • Emirates business class passengers (excluding those on “basic” business class fares)
  • Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold members traveling in economy
  • Emirates economy passengers can purchase access for $100 if they’re a Skywards member, or for $130 if they’re a non-Skywards member
Emirates Lounge New York JFK entrance

Emirates Lounge New York JFK layout & seating

The Emirates Lounge New York JFK is around 13,000 square feet, making it the carrier’s largest lounge in the United States (though Emirates has quite a few large outstation lounges in other countries). The lounge consists primarily of one large room with floor-to-ceiling windows, featuring amazing views of the apron.

The lounge was refurnished in 2018, so it features updated decor, and doesn’t have the typical 1990s Las Vegas casino Emirates vibe. 😉

The lounge has seating for 215+ people, and that mostly comes in the form of leather chairs arranged in rows facing one another.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating
Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating
Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating
Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating
Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating
Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating

Along the windows there are some chairs with ottomans that have nice apron views.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating
Emirates Lounge New York JFK seating

There’s also a small business center, with a few PCs and a printer.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK business center

Then there’s a dining area, with a bit over a dozen tables, each with four seats.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK dining area

The lounge really has top notch views of the terminal and apron, so if you’re an aviation geek you’ll love plane spotting from here.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK view
Emirates Lounge New York JFK view
Emirates Lounge New York JFK view

My one major point of frustration is the lounge was the lack of outlets at all seats, especially for a lounge that was so recently refurbished. For example, none of the dining tables have outlets, which you’d think is something they would have added.

While the lounge got busy, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t feel too overcrowded. There were two A380s leaving around the same time, and each has 90 first & business class seats. Add in elite members, and you’re probably looking at around 200 people having lounge access (assuming flights are full), for a lounge with a capacity just above that. The lounge definitely got busy later in the evening, but never got crowded to Centurion Lounge levels.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK food & drinks

The Emirates Lounge New York JFK features a buffet. While there’s no a la carte dining, I find that Emirates has high quality buffet food, much more so than you’ll find in most airport lounges.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet

There’s a cold selection, including everything from fresh fruit, to individually plated appetizers, to dips and spreads, to a salad bar.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet
Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet

Then there are a variety of hot options, including everything from butternut squash cannelloni, to sautéed baby bok choy, to vegetable kadai, to coconut curry shrimp, to seared arctic char, to spicy coconut carrot soup.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet
Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet
Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet

The dessert selection included turtle brownie cake and cookies.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet
Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet

Drinks in the lounge are entirely self serve. There’s a selection of liquor, a variety of wines (including Moet and Veuve Clicquot), soft drinks, and water (including San Pellegrino and Saratoga). There’s also a selection of tea and an espresso machine, though oddly there was no Arabic coffee, which I’ve otherwise found to be a standard offering in Emirates lounges.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK drink station
Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet
Emirates Lounge New York JFK buffet

Separate from the main buffet, there was a second drink station with more of the same drinks, presumably intended to spread out crowding a bit.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK drink station
Emirates Lounge New York JFK drink station
Emirates Lounge New York JFK drink station
Emirates Lounge New York JFK drink station

Emirates Lounge New York JFK showers & restrooms

The lounge’s bathrooms are back near the entrance. The bathrooms were well maintained, and it’s a nice touch how Emirates has proper towels to use in the bathrooms.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK entryway
Emirates Lounge New York JFK bathrooms
Emirates Lounge New York JFK bathrooms

The lounge also had a couple of shower suites, which were large and functional, but hardly luxurious.

Emirates Lounge New York JFK shower room

Emirates Lounge New York JFK boarding

One awesome feature of the Emirates Lounge JFK is that you can board directly from the lounge. Specifically, if your flight departs from gate A6, then you can board the flight directly from the lounge to the upper deck.

Since Emirates has two flights departing around the same time in the evenings, only one flight gets lounge boarding. Fortunately we lucked out, and on our evening the Milan flight boarded directly from the lounge. This is a super nice feature that I wish we’d see more often (of course I recognize the logistical challenges associated with this, given how gates are assigned).

Emirates Lounge New York JFK boarding
Emirates Lounge New York JFK boarding direct to A380

My overall take on Emirates outstation lounges

Emirates is extremely consistent with the quality of its outstation lounges. I can’t think of an airline that has more lounges abroad than Emirates, and it’s clearly because the airline cares a lot about quality, because running lounges like this isn’t cheap.

That’s especially true when you consider that Emirates doesn’t contract out lounges to Priority Pass to subsidize costs, but rather the lounges are typically just open prior to Emirates flight departures.

These lounges are absolutely above average for business class lounges, and are better than most of the other business class lounges that passengers would have access to when traveling long haul out of the airport.

However, am I the only one who feels like there’s some room for improvement for these lounges? Among other things, I’d love to see:

  • Actual cocktails mixed by bartenders, rather than just a self serve bar area; it’s funny you can have someone make you a cocktail at the onboard bar, but not in the lounge
  • It would be nice if there were a dedicated first class section; aside from the Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai, none of Emirates’ lounges have any special service for first class passengers, even though Emirates has pretty large first class cabins
  • I wish Emirates had proper barista made espresso drinks, rather than just the not-great coffee machines you’ll find in these lounges (and the espresso out of this machine was particularly bitter)
  • While I don’t feel that strongly about it (since the buffet food is good), it would be nice if Emirates had an a la carte dining option in the lounge, for more of a restaurant-style dining experience
  • Then there’s the lack of unique amenities; I don’t consider this to be a huge issue, but it would be nice if there were some daybeds, etc.

Like I said, none of these are deal breakers, it just seems that as Emirates continues to update its outstation lounges, it would be nice if the product offering also evolved.

Bottom line

Emirates offers a solid ground experience in New York, as the airline has its own lounge which is spacious and has great views. The lounge has an excellent buffet, good self serve drinks, and showers. It’s also nice to be able to board the plane directly from the lounge.

This is definitely way better than your average airline contract lounge, though not quite to the level of a United Polaris Lounge, for example.

If you’ve visited the Emirates Lounge JFK, what was your experience like?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Bob Guest

    “ There’s also a selection of tea and an espresso machine, though oddly there was no Arabic coffee, which I’ve otherwise found to be a standard offering in Emirates lounges”

    I’ve never come across Arabic coffee being served in any J EK lounge, be it in DXB or outstation lounges.

    I believe it’s only served in the F lounges in DXB and on board in F class.

  2. Rob Guest

    Thanks for a nice overview Lucky as always. When we flew to Milan last summer the Dubai flight left a little while before we did and both flights boarded from the lounge. But Emirates was running a 777 to Milan at the time, so maybe that was why.

    1. EK-Flyer Guest

      Again, impossible. The lounge boarding is for the A380 upper deck only. If you were on a 777 to Milan it's not possible to have boarded from the lounge.

  3. Tee Guest

    As soon as i read "signage" instead of "sign," I was sure that I would note all your observations but disagree with most of your conclusions.

    I agree with grichard: the lack of electrical outlets at the dining tables is to preserve a dining ambience separate from a keyboard and printer machine area.

    The lounge strikes me as very similar to the Emirates lounge in New Delhi, which I last visited in February 2020, just...

    As soon as i read "signage" instead of "sign," I was sure that I would note all your observations but disagree with most of your conclusions.

    I agree with grichard: the lack of electrical outlets at the dining tables is to preserve a dining ambience separate from a keyboard and printer machine area.

    The lounge strikes me as very similar to the Emirates lounge in New Delhi, which I last visited in February 2020, just before India closed. I was one of about six passengers in total in the huge lounge. It was super quiet, and peaceful, and relaxing. A huge TV wall of sports programming was at one end. In the middle was a self-serve bar of assorted alcoholic beverages, some high-end. The usual self-service push-button coffee machines--the $8,000.00 version, and not the $20,000.00 barman-operated version. I think that the lack of a barista and lack of a barman is part of the ambience, of being a very posh and quiet lounge. The SkyTeam lounge in Dubai similarly has a self serve bar of various high-end alcoholic beverages, and even though it's in an alcove, it just has a quiet relaxing feeling of posh well-dressed passengers only conversing in hushed tones. Every other lounge in America tends to have the ambience of Ma and Pa Kettle at the County Fair, and their cousin in trainers, shorts, dirty tshirt and backwards baseball cap who engineered access with points. But, to be fair, the sound of the cocktail shaker in the hands of an experience barman adds to the high energy excitement of the typical American business lounge.

  4. Sandy Needham Guest

    Lets get real! Why are we such needy persons to require a barrista made coffee or a barman cocktail? We must be pretty poor specimens to need this kind of detail to make us happy?
    How about comfortable chairs, variety of seating arrangements, reduced lounge crowding - sensible useful things?
    Are we so precious that we need to be pandered to like a bad tempered child?

    1. Steven L. Gold

      I had no idea that offering decent coffee was pandering to ill-tempered children. The vast majority of my machine coffee experiences has been somewhere between mediocre and foul.

  5. D3kingg Guest

    Welcome to JFK. Blue lives matter.

    That’s what the 3mirates lounge looks like at MXP verbatim.

  6. EthaninSF Member

    I have often wondered why EK does not operate any differentiated F lounges outside of DXB. You would think at least at a few outstations where they operate a substantial number of flights with high paying customers, they would want to have a differentiated experience. LHR is probably the first that comes to mind (CDG, JFK, SYD, and perhaps a few ME destinations as well). I get that airport real estate is limited, but at...

    I have often wondered why EK does not operate any differentiated F lounges outside of DXB. You would think at least at a few outstations where they operate a substantial number of flights with high paying customers, they would want to have a differentiated experience. LHR is probably the first that comes to mind (CDG, JFK, SYD, and perhaps a few ME destinations as well). I get that airport real estate is limited, but at SFO they have an absolutely massive lounge for one flight a day - not really worth separating areas - but probably could.

  7. Ranel Guest

    I flew JFK to Dubai in January. This was my first Emirates lounge experience and I was very happy with the breakfast food options. I used the shower facilities as well and was pleased with the service. We weren't able to board directly from the lounge, but that wasn't a problem. I loved the artwork on the walls and think the whole experience was A+!

  8. Jan Guest

    When I visited the lounge, they didn't use the dedicated gate to board directly to the plane.
    They made me get out and board with the poors >:(

    But it's a good lounge, nothing really stands out, Just a good lounge to eat, relax and wait.

  9. Brian Ellerby Guest

    I have visited the Emirates lounge many times, both as a Business Class passenger and a First Class passenger and have always found it to be one of the best lounges I have visited in the world.
    However I was sorely disappointed when access to the A380 from the lounge directly was stopped for the 11pm Dubai flight.
    I was told that this was because of the timing of the Milan flight which...

    I have visited the Emirates lounge many times, both as a Business Class passenger and a First Class passenger and have always found it to be one of the best lounges I have visited in the world.
    However I was sorely disappointed when access to the A380 from the lounge directly was stopped for the 11pm Dubai flight.
    I was told that this was because of the timing of the Milan flight which departed 40 minutes previously.
    This I cannot understand as the direct boarding from the lounge was available for both flights for a long time.

    1. EK-Flyer Guest

      Lounge boarding was never available for both flights. One of the flights had to board from a different gate, since their departure times are so close.
      How do you expect them to load an entire A380 with catering, passengers, luggage etc in 40 minutes?

    2. Rob Guest

      Thanks for a nice report Lucky. Interestingly, last July we flew First to Milan and the Dubai flight left a little while before us. Both that flight and our Milan flight boarded from the lounge.

  10. grichard Guest

    The lack of power at the dining tables may have been an intentional nudge away from having people settle in to work there.

  11. shoeguy Guest

    I flew JFK-MXP on EK 206 three weeks ago in Business Class and spent about 2 hours in the lounge. It is pretty nice overall, airy, and lots of space to spread out and never felt all that crowded even though there are two A380 departures within 40 minutes of each other (MXP and DXB). The food was hit and miss. Some things were good (Arctic char, the popadums, and the vegetables) and so were...

    I flew JFK-MXP on EK 206 three weeks ago in Business Class and spent about 2 hours in the lounge. It is pretty nice overall, airy, and lots of space to spread out and never felt all that crowded even though there are two A380 departures within 40 minutes of each other (MXP and DXB). The food was hit and miss. Some things were good (Arctic char, the popadums, and the vegetables) and so were the cookies. The beverage selection is varied, generous, and of high quality. EK doesn't often board the MXP flight from the Lounge, as we were informed by the lovely staff at the welcome desk but the evening we flew out, we boarded through the lounge and it was lovely. Overall the lounge doesn't feel very premium, but in look and feel, but it actually works well and a great spot to spend time before a flight, away from the awful mess that is T4 below and the apron views are spectacular. As the T4 extension was already underway, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Lounge and whether it gets reconfigured.

  12. JBM Guest

    It might not be labeled, but our first class experience there was outstanding. My travel partner and I were recognized by face on entry to the lounge (not AI, the staff were looking for us). We were seated in a secluded section of the dining room and food and drink were brought to us. I asked for a masala chai, which was not on the menu, but magically appeared in a Starbucks cup 20 minutes...

    It might not be labeled, but our first class experience there was outstanding. My travel partner and I were recognized by face on entry to the lounge (not AI, the staff were looking for us). We were seated in a secluded section of the dining room and food and drink were brought to us. I asked for a masala chai, which was not on the menu, but magically appeared in a Starbucks cup 20 minutes later; we’re still convinced someone walked out to Starbucks to get it. We were given the option to board first or last. They definitely took care of us.

    1. EK-Flyer Guest

      Unless you're some sort of VIP or have iO status, this type of treatment is not the norm for F passengers at JFK. Even EK Platinums in F don't get this treatment.

    2. JBM Guest

      We were the only two F travelers that morning, which may have made a difference.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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grichard Guest

The lack of power at the dining tables may have been an intentional nudge away from having people settle in to work there.

2
EK-Flyer Guest

Unless you're some sort of VIP or have iO status, this type of treatment is not the norm for F passengers at JFK. Even EK Platinums in F don't get this treatment.

2
JBM Guest

It might not be labeled, but our first class experience there was outstanding. My travel partner and I were recognized by face on entry to the lounge (not AI, the staff were looking for us). We were seated in a secluded section of the dining room and food and drink were brought to us. I asked for a masala chai, which was not on the menu, but magically appeared in a Starbucks cup 20 minutes later; we’re still convinced someone walked out to Starbucks to get it. We were given the option to board first or last. They definitely took care of us.

2
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