Review: VIP ONE Lounge New York Kennedy Airport (JFK)

Review: VIP ONE Lounge New York Kennedy Airport (JFK)

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NAME: VIP ONE Lounge
Airport: JFK
DATE: January 2024
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK is a unique landside lounge accessible with Priority Pass, with the single greatest feature being a fast track security channel.
30

During my trip to Japan via Mongolia, I had the chance to check out several lounges at New York JFK Terminal 1 prior to my Air France A350 flight to Paris. My first stop was at the VIP Lounge New York JFK (and subsequently I checked out the Air France Lounge, the Lufthansa Lounge, the Primeclass Lounge, and the Turkish Airlines Lounge).

I find this to be an intriguing concept, as VIP ONE JFK offers both a landside lounge, as well as a fast track security feature. While the lounge as such isn’t the most exciting thing on earth, the fast track security is hugely valuable, given what a mess JFK Terminal 1 can be. This facility is a treat, especially since you can access it with Priority Pass.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK location

The VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK is a bit hidden, so you have to know where to look. Once you’re in the check-in hall of Terminal 1 JFK, just look for check-in counters in the “E” row, immediately to the left of the main security checkpoint.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK location

Immediately behind that you’ll see the exterior of the VIP ONE Lounge, so that’s how you can access the lounge. Let me emphasize that this lounge is landside (before security). After all, one of the selling points of this facility is that you get expedited security.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK exterior

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK hours

The VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK is open daily from 8AM until 12AM, covering a vast majority of departures from the terminal. Terminal 1 is used exclusively by select international airlines, and doesn’t have many early morning departures.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK entry requirements

The most practical way to access the VIP One Lounge New York JFK is through Priority Pass. Priority Pass members can access the facility for up to three hours, and any visit to the lounge includes fast track security. To my knowledge, this is the only facility in the United States where you can get fast track security by having Priority Pass, so that’s pretty awesome.

In addition to Priority Pass, the VIP ONE Lounge also sells access for cash. Prices range from $45 just for fast track security, to $65 for fast track security plus the lounge, to $200 for all of the above plus an escort from the curb to the gate.

Lastly, some airlines have partnered with VIP ONE to offer this service for first class passengers. To my knowledge, those airlines include Air France, Korean Air, and Lufthansa.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK signage

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK seating & layout

Inside the entrance to the VIP ONE Lounge JFK is a reception desk, with the fast track security to the right, and the lounge to the left.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK entrance

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this lounge, given that it’s essentially a makeshift setup within the check-in hall, and I also think the primary selling point of the facility is the fast track security. So with that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised by the lounge. It was small but reasonably nice.

There was one main room with chairs arranged in rows facing one another, as well as dining tables with two chairs each.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK seating
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK seating
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK seating

Then there was the area with the buffet, with also had a couple of long communal tables with a bunch of chairs.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK bar area
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK bar area
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK bar area

Then there was a small room off to the side, with a couch and some more chairs (this room was marked as reserved).

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK seating

The facility was basic but nice enough. In particular, I appreciated how empty the lounge was, as there was no one else using it during my visit. Nowadays that’s a rare treat for Priority Pass in the United States.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK food & drinks

The VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK has a small buffet plus a small a la carte selection. In the morning, the food options included cereal, whole fruit, pretzels, chips, snack mix, muffins, cookies, and brownies. Drinks included drip coffee, tea, juice, soft drinks, and beer.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK buffet
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK buffet
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK buffet
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK buffet
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK drinks
VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK drinks

In addition to the buffet, tables have QR codes, where you can order from a more substantial selection of food. At breakfast, options included yogurt with granola, oatmeal, french toast, eggs, and more.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK menu

On top of that, you could order espresso-based drinks, plus prosecco or mimosas.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK menu

I’m sorry to disappoint y’all, but I couldn’t bring myself to order anything in the lounge. Not because it didn’t look decent, but because I eat way too much on these trips, so I have to control my consumption. For a Priority Pass lounge, I’d say the menu selection looks pretty good, though.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK bathrooms

Unfortunately the VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK doesn’t have bathrooms or showers. Instead, you’re directed to use the bathrooms in the terminal, right near the lounge.

New York JFK Terminal 1 bathrooms
New York JFK Terminal 1 bathrooms

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK fast track security

The single greatest thing about the VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK is that it offers fast track security. You can enjoy the lounge, and then once you’re ready to proceed through security, one of the lounge staff will assist you with that.

The lounge has a private door that leads directly to the TSA agent who is checking IDs, so you can completely avoid the wait for the ID check. I should also mention that the VIP ONE Lounge staff are pretty aggressive (in an entirely good way) with helping you get as close to the front of the line at the security belt as well. They really do make this feel like a VIP experience, much different than something like CLEAR.

VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK fast track security

While this concept can be useful just about anywhere, it’s especially valuable at JFK Terminal 1, which I find to have among the most disorganized security of any terminal in the country, at least during peak hours.

A large percentage of the passengers passing through security aren’t American and don’t speak English as their first language (or at all). So they’re not familiar with security policies, and then you see the TSA agents simply barking their orders more loudly at them, as if the issue is volume, rather than comprehension.

I can’t understate how valuable VIP ONE is during peak hours, as it can save you a lot of time and aggravation.

Bottom line

The VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK is a unique facility that Priority Pass members have access to. This consists of a decent landside lounge with a small selection of a la carte food and drinks. However, the main reason to use this facility is for the fast track security feature, which can save you a significant amount of time during busy periods.

If you’re a Priority Pass member with unlimited visits, there’s absolutely no reason not to visit this lounge, even if it’s just for access to the security channel.

What do you make of the VIP ONE Lounge New York JFK?

Conversations (30)
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  1. Sam A Guest

    Used it a few weeks ago when flying Swiss First (it’s included) - it may have been faster but the dirty looks, loud comments and in some cases physical pushing from the people in the line (that you are cutting) was not a very premium experience!

    This would only work if there was a separate security line, forcing you into a long queue of grumpy people that have been waiting is not much fun.

    1. tony xu Guest

      Who cares about those people. You only need to interact with TSA.

  2. MKLDH Gold

    I paid to use this service a couple of times before it became a lounge and started accepting PP users. Back then it has always been a truly smooth experience and a useful tool to get past the chaotic T1 securities. Now I do worry whether it can still serve that purpose during peak hours, given how many people have PP cards.

  3. echino Diamond

    Can I use this Terminal 1 lounge if departing from Terminal 8? Not using their fast track, but just exiting the lounge and taking a shuttle to Terminal 8?

    1. tony xu Guest

      Priority Pass says (the emphasis is mine)

      The lounge is located behind counters E and F next to the TSA Check Point. International flights only. ... All Cardholders and guests are required to show a Boarding Pass with confirmed same-day travel

      The lounge operator says

      Q: I accidentally booked your service but I am not departing from terminal one at JFK.
      A: We will offer a refund. Please send a note to ... with...

      Priority Pass says (the emphasis is mine)

      The lounge is located behind counters E and F next to the TSA Check Point. International flights only. ... All Cardholders and guests are required to show a Boarding Pass with confirmed same-day travel

      The lounge operator says

      Q: I accidentally booked your service but I am not departing from terminal one at JFK.
      A: We will offer a refund. Please send a note to ... with proof of departure.

      The strict interpretation of the above is you need a T1 international departing boarding pass. You might be able to beg your way in with a T8 boarding pass. Prepare for questioning because your presence in a T1 lounge before a T8 flight will be baffling to the reception. In case other OMAAT readers do not know, JFK terminals are not connected after security, or for that matter, even before security. All the terminals are basically separate mini-airports.

    2. AAflyer Guest

      There is no post-security shuttle to T8.

  4. DT Diamond

    Used this lounge for the first time a few weeks ago, just to skip the security line. It was bedlam. The lounge was CRAMMED with people trying to do the same thing. TSA only let in a couple of lounge guests into the security line at a time. It took much longer than just waiting in the regular line. I almost missed my flight, and some people behind me actually did. For a lounge whose singular reason for existing is to expedite, they failed miserably.

    1. tony xu Guest

      Maybe they can do what normal airline lounges do. Accept Priority Pass only at off-peak hours.q

  5. shoeguy Guest

    That looks so sad....Terminal 1 is not a pleasant experience (it is in the early stages of being replaced with a brand new terminal being built around it) but there are better options among the mediocrity that awaits post security. The Turkish Airlines lounge is nice, not big, with average food, but airy and pleasant. The AF Lounge is crowded and a bit dated, but also not a bad place to wait for your flight....

    That looks so sad....Terminal 1 is not a pleasant experience (it is in the early stages of being replaced with a brand new terminal being built around it) but there are better options among the mediocrity that awaits post security. The Turkish Airlines lounge is nice, not big, with average food, but airy and pleasant. The AF Lounge is crowded and a bit dated, but also not a bad place to wait for your flight. The LH Lounge is similar to the AF lounge. The PrimeClass Lounge at the end of the Terminal is also quite nice, and cosy.

  6. Eskimo Guest

    "I’m sorry to disappoint y’all, but I couldn’t bring myself to order anything in the lounge. Not because it didn’t look decent, but because I eat way too much on these trips, so I have to control my consumption."

    So in the future we can expect
    " I couldn’t bring myself to do anything in the business class seat"

    "Not because it didn’t look decent, but because I lie flat way too much...

    "I’m sorry to disappoint y’all, but I couldn’t bring myself to order anything in the lounge. Not because it didn’t look decent, but because I eat way too much on these trips, so I have to control my consumption."

    So in the future we can expect
    " I couldn’t bring myself to do anything in the business class seat"

    "Not because it didn’t look decent, but because I lie flat way too much on these trips" so I have to sit straight up and do nothing the whole flight"

    Isn't trying things part of being a blogger that review experiences. Take one for the team. Mostly they are the good ones. Leave the bad ones to John Sebastian Josh. They seem to attract bad stuff all the time.

    1. J2J Guest

      With all due respect, he has a family and can only be away for so long which means condensed trips which means cramming more into a shorter period. He mentions that the best posts are flight reviews so he prioritizes them. While I understand what you are saying, I think it's a bit unfair to say he will go as far as to say "I couldn't bring myself to do anything in this business class...

      With all due respect, he has a family and can only be away for so long which means condensed trips which means cramming more into a shorter period. He mentions that the best posts are flight reviews so he prioritizes them. While I understand what you are saying, I think it's a bit unfair to say he will go as far as to say "I couldn't bring myself to do anything in this business class seat". He built this blog from the ground up, he can do as he pleases. If you don't like it, I'm sure it wouldn't be the end of the world if you did not follow along.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Eskimo -- On this particular day I visited six different lounges, and took a long haul flight. Of course being a blogger is about reviewing the experiences, that's literally what I did for the entire week I was away. ;-) But I also can't realistically eat six full meals over the course of a few hours.

    3. PaulG Member

      @ Ben, since this one opens at 8am and some airside lounges open earlier (and you like to be there when they open), did you go through security to the airside lounges and then exit security to see this one when it opened? If so, wow, thanks for the dedication!

  7. Shaheed Ellington Guest

    I feel like the star system used on this blog needs some sort of rating guideline appendix. Otherwise... what's the actual point? It's just a subjective opinion from the author who even admits they didn't even try the food. Derp

    1. tony xu Guest

      The food is obviously shit. Hampton Inn Express caliber.

      The star rating system is an SEO trick. Not intended for human interpretation.

    2. JB Guest

      Ben published an article a long time ago stating the intention behind the star rating and the metrics he uses. In a nutshell, he is comparing this lounge to others in that category. Those 'categories' are quite specific (and I wouldn't say that all of them could be listed, but rather it's about how this lounge compares to similar experiences).

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Shaheed Ellington -- Indeed it's supposed to be subjective, and isn't intended to follow some criteria, since there are so many different categories of lounges. The reason I rated this lounge highly (and this doesn't require trying the food) is the unique ability to cut the security line, which no other Priority Pass lounge in the United States offers. Given that most of us have unlimited Priority Pass visits, I'd say that's pretty great.

  8. Lee Guest

    TSA at any JFK terminal is a mess. It is astonishing how TSA at some airports is a breeze and yet is so disorganized at JFK. A person could use this lounge just to get through security and then go to one's lounge of preference. Ha.

    1. tony xu Guest

      A person could use this lounge just to get through security and then go to one's lounge of preference.

      Yes that is the selling point of this lounge.

    2. Lee Guest

      I just saw DT's comment about his experience. Ugh. So, perhaps not.

    3. tony xu Guest

      I guess you can always leave the lounge if the regular line is shorter. As long as you are not paying for this, no harm having it around.

  9. HT Guest

    Does the security give access to Precheck lanes, or just normal lanes?

    1. Scott Guest

      Jfk T1 doesn't have proper precheck. Only that you can keep your shoes on and go thru metal detector instead of MMS. This does feed into the precheck light lane tho.

    2. tony xu Guest

      So you have to take your laptop and liquids out no matter what?

    3. MetsNomad Guest

      In JFK Terminal 1, at least the last time I used it a few months ago, everyone makes the same line, whether you have TSA PreCheck or not. However, when you get to the end of the line, you show the person sending you to the machines that you have TSA PreCheck and he or she will direct you to the one for people with TSA PreCheck (Metal detector instead of body scanner, no need...

      In JFK Terminal 1, at least the last time I used it a few months ago, everyone makes the same line, whether you have TSA PreCheck or not. However, when you get to the end of the line, you show the person sending you to the machines that you have TSA PreCheck and he or she will direct you to the one for people with TSA PreCheck (Metal detector instead of body scanner, no need to take out electronics, take off shoes, etc.), but there seemed to be no separate TSA PreCheck line.

    4. tony xu Guest

      i see. SFO has a similar arrangement at International departures during the late night hours. you have to make sure the ID checker gives you a card that says you have PreCheck. otherwise you will be forced to remove your shoes.

      i almost missed my flight because my huge cojones led me to argue with the post-ID check officers as to whether or not i was able to keep my shoes on. don't they know who i am?

  10. ny110010001 Guest

    Hi Ben. Can you clarify if Pre Check is available when going through this lounge? Thanks.

    1. Scott Guest

      Jfk T1 doesn't have proper precheck. Only that you can keep your shoes on and go thru metal detector instead of MMS. Kinda a precheck light.

    2. tony xu Guest

      TSA website says JFK T1 has Precheck. Maybe not all hours. Real shame on DHS/TSA if the flagship airport of the biggest city in the US does not have always-on Precheck.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ ny110010001 -- As noted by Scott, based on my experience there's not actually a PreCheck lane open, but rather you get one of those cards telling you that you get select PreCheck privileges.

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

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Eskimo -- On this particular day I visited six different lounges, and took a long haul flight. Of course being a blogger is about reviewing the experiences, that's literally what I did for the entire week I was away. ;-) But I also can't realistically eat six full meals over the course of a few hours.

3
tony xu Guest

Who cares about those people. You only need to interact with TSA.

1
Sam A Guest

Used it a few weeks ago when flying Swiss First (it’s included) - it may have been faster but the dirty looks, loud comments and in some cases physical pushing from the people in the line (that you are cutting) was not a very premium experience! This would only work if there was a separate security line, forcing you into a long queue of grumpy people that have been waiting is not much fun.

1
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