First Look at British Airways’ Refreshed JFK Business Class Lounge
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British Airways is undergoing a transformation. It recently unveiled a beautiful new business class seat and just refreshed its first class soft product. On Friday, BA opened its renovated Club Lounge at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport — another big improvement for passengers traveling in the carrier’s premium cabins.
The lounge is one of BA’s most trafficked lounges outside of its hubs in London so the carrier put significant investment into the space. British Airways considers the lounge its flagship US lounge, which make sense because of the up to 12 daily departures from JFK to London. This transatlantic route is the airline’s and the world’s most profitable — creating quite a busy lounge for BA, which says that hundreds of customers pass through it each day.
In fact, BA has put $65 million into JFK’s Terminal 7 overall as it works to renovate the space, which is home to itself and partners like Iberia, Qatar and Alaska. It’s also enhanced the check-in area for business and first class customers. These upgrades are part of BA’s $8.2 billion customer investment program that’s realizing changes in its pre-flight experience and onboard products like Wi-Fi and seats.
The lounge is a huge improvement over the previous space, which was clearly showing its age when I visited last fall. The layout itself has changed quite a bit with walls knocked down and others newly erected. There’s also a whole lot of natural light throughout the 22,000-square-foot space, which helps give it an open and airy feeling.
There’s a new addition that you’ll notice immediately upon entering, dubbed the Quaich Bar, covered in granite (a common feature throughout the lounge) and created in partnership with The Craigellachie Hotel in Speyside, Scotland. Here guests can enjoy a drink in the unique Scottish two-handed cups.
We had some oh-so British elderflower and lavender gin cocktails which were quite tasty and refreshing. An experienced bartender will be on hand during peak departure times to make cocktails for customers.
And if a craft beer is more your style, you can enjoy the lounge’s new BrewDog craft beer room, which had four different brews on tap.
There’s a massive self-serve bar that will keep travelers plenty hydrated with an assortment of wine, spirits and soft drinks to choose from.
BA has replaced the aging furniture with all new seats and couches colored in blue and grey.
The space is somewhat bare and has a minimalist vibe, but with chic accents.
There are spots for hundreds of travelers, who’ll have the choice of lounge chair, table or catching up on a cushy couch.
Plenty of dining options are available, although we didn’t have access to the brasserie, which features a robust hot and cold food bar.
There was food available to pick at throughout the space, including chicken wings, a salad bar, a myriad of cheeses and desserts.
The Elemis Spa is also staying and has received an overhaul, although we didn’t have access to that either. Here, flyers can book complimentary 15-minute spa treatments before their flight.
With the new club lounge at JFK, British Airways continues to improve its premium offerings. The lounge isn’t anything revolutionary or as compelling as United’s Polaris Lounge at Newark, but likely more on par with American’s Flagship Lounge in neighboring T8. However, the refreshed space looks great and feels modern. It will give the loads of BA and other Oneworld flyers a much better place to relax or work pre-flight until Terminal 7 is demolished in 2022 and BA moves its operations to the new and expanded Terminal 8.
If you want to check out the new lounge, you’ll have to be flying in a premium cabin on British Airways, Qatar, Qantas, Iberia or Ukraine International Airlines. Oneworld Sapphires and Emeralds and BA Executive Club Silver and Gold elite members can access the lounge if flying a British Airways or Oneworld partner.
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All images by Brendan Dorsey / The Points Guy.