The first time I visited the British Airways lounge JFK at Terminal 7, I was with my niece and we had just fled the city that was gridlocked due to a Presidential visit in our own version of the Amazing Race. I was stress out upon arrival while my niece was eyes full of wonder at all the food and the fact that it was free. Despite having come from dinner, my niece filled her plate with mini sandwiches, nuts, M&M’s and, to placate me, a piece of fruit. For my return visit to the lounge, it was a less stressful arrival with Mom. Our flight was the last one of the day near 11 p.m. and Labor Day weekend the lounge wasn’t as crowded as it could be. We Mom walked in and saw the food stations, she like my niece had wide eyes and asked “is this all free?”, “Yes, all free”. It was the start of her luxury holiday to Paris & London. So let’s explore the British Airways Lounge JFK and see what Mom liked.
The lounge is located upstairs from the gate/terminal area. When you arrive in the terminal from the special Business/First security area, you need to follow the signs past the boarding gate and small food court and make a right. You go up the escalator and into the lounge lobby. The staff was pleasant but not as welcoming as the ladies at the BA lounge in Philly. Our boarding passes were scanned and we were directed to proceed into the business class lounge area. We passed the luggage storage area and an empty room with work stations. There is also a children’s play area in the lounge.
The British Airways Lounge JFK
When you arrive you have two sides of seating area with the bathrooms and food stations in between, almost an H shape. There is a surprisingly water feature in the middle of the room which can be relaxing or annoying depending on how you treat the sound of falling water. Scattered about are lounge chairs which are a bit low (as evidenced by having to help Mom stand up), couches, small tables for groups and outlets in the side tables and along the wall. It’s rather a large lounge but no natural light and low ceilings so it feels smaller depending on how many people are milling about. The set-up and decor is similar to that in Heathrow, Manchester and Philadelphia so there isn’t much to distinguish it from others in my opinion.
There is a window but you get to look over the check in area down below which at the late hour didn’t make for any good people (or celebrity watching).
The British Airways Pre-Flight Dining Room
For British Airways customers (the lounge is also used by OneWorld elites), there is a pre-flight supper served where you can sit down and enjoy a hot meal prior to boarding. I generally take advantage of this in Philadelphia when I fly the sleeper flight (soon to disappear, sadly) but since Mom & I had just come from dinner, neither of us was interested in another meal. We were greeted by the hostess who showed us the menu and told us to come back at any time.
The Food Stations
British Airways lounges are pretty consistent in my experience with enough of this, that and the other to satisfy your snacking or light meal cravings. You won’t go thirsty as the drinks bar is fully stocked with soft drinks, juice, water, beer and liquor to help yourself. If you have a food thing like me (no dairy, no gluten) then you will need to settle on fruit and nuts and look to eat in the dining room.
At the British Airways Lounge JFK the fruit is in the middle of the aisle hopefully prompting passengers to take a healthy snack on the way to the plane (we picked up bananas).
The buffet had a small sandwich selection, cheeses, meats, yogurt and such. Packets of snack foods like potato chips (or crisps as they say in the U.K.) were offered along with the snack jars of M&Ms, nuts and cookie (I still miss the Walkers shortbread I used to stock up on). In the far corner if you are walking the interior perimeter, you will find the Pub area with beer on draft, juices and snacks.
The British Airways Elemis Spa at JFK
Years ago, I lucked out and was able to use the BA Arrivals lounge in Heathrow to experience a complimentary spa treatment only because I was on the first plane to land and arrive at the lounge. All the visits after that they were booked up. British Airways has offered free spa treatments to arriving and departing passengers in Heathrow and in JFK it is offered to departing passengers. For First Class flyers you can pre-book up to 28 days in advance, for the rest of the lounge guests, it is first come, first served. Treatments last just 15 minutes but can really make a difference pre/post flight.
Since my niece was only eleven at the time of our first visit, I wasn’t able to use the Elemis Spa and leave her alone. This time, I could definitely leave Mom alone as she was enjoying all the free food, drink and Wi-Fi. I walked to the other side of the lounge to inquire about appointments and there were two left (the last of the night) so I booked Mom & me for chair massages.
I walked back to Mom who was comfortable enjoying her first luxury lounge experience and said “time for our spa treatments, let’s go”. She looked at me and without questioning said “ok”. This was the start of the luxury treatment from British Airways on our trip (we would visit the T5 Concorde Room on the way home).
Our massage therapists were both male (if that’s a problem for you let the desk know when inquiring) and the massage treatments would be in massage chairs with clothes on. If you think that’s a deterrent from a “real massage” you would be mistaken. You have a few choices when booking – Calm, Serenity, Energise, Rebalance treatments which are listed and noted face up or face down. You will need to sign a release form as with any spa treatment.
I told my therapist that I usually do sports massage and that my neck & shoulders prevent any massage from being relaxing. He started with asking me for my aromatherapy preference for my face down treatment and then for the next fifteen minutes, he worked out (best he could with limited time) the knots in my neck & shoulders and put on an icy hot type of gel on my neck once he was done. Mom chose the face up massage and sat in a massage chair the entire time which her therapist was able to provide a relaxing treatment. Both gave the soft sell on Elemis products but didn’t push as I said we were limited to 100 ml as we had connecting flight at Heathrow. The spa has products for sale to anyone interested. We tipped our therapists and were ready for our flight to London (connecting to Paris) collapsing into the nearest comfy chair trying not to fall asleep as we were both so relaxed from the massage treatments.
Final Thoughts – BA Lounge JFK
I’m not a fan of JFK airport as it is old and the gates cramped but relaxing at the British Airways Lounge JFK before the flight does make it less stressful. With the plethora of food and drink options, you won’t go hungry. With the spa treatments, you can definitely add a bit of luxury and relaxation before your journey begins. It is a nice way to spend a few hours before your flight. Mom loved it and she had no idea what was next, namely a Club World flatbed seat with a return on First Class and the British Airways Concorde Room at Heathrow. For now, she was happy just like my niece before her traveling and relaxing in style at the airport. Now that she knows about airline lounges, how will she ever go back to waiting at the gate for a coach flight?