|Update: I’ve modified this post to further clarify entry requirements for each lounge, and add some more details (like hours of operation), as they became available.|
New York’s JFK Airport is undergoing a major redevelopment, and that includes American Airlines’ Terminal 8. British Airways is in the process of moving to JFK Terminal 8, and as part of this we’re seeing the introduction of some new lounges.
In this post I wanted to cover all the details of what we know so far about the new lounges, as they’re expected to open as of Thursday, December 1, 2022.
The basics of JFK Terminal 8 changes
Just to recap the very basics, $400 million has been invested to redevelop JFK Terminal 8. Among the changes, this includes five new wide body gates, four new wide body hardstand parking positions, an enhanced baggage handling system, and 130,000 square feet of new and renovated terminal space, including new amenities and lounges.
For what it’s worth, the remote stands will allegedly only be used to park planes that are on the ground for an extended period of time, rather than for boarding or deplaning. That’s good news.
As part of this redevelopment, British Airways will exclusively be operating out of Terminal 8 as of December 1, 2022. American and British Airways have a transatlantic joint venture, so this is fantastic news, since it will make connections between the two airlines much more seamless.
American has been underutilizing Terminal 8, and Terminal 7 will also eventually be demolished as part of the airport’s redevelopment, so British Airways’ move is needed for that reason as well.
American & British Airways new premium check-in facility JFK
With American and British Airways co-locating at Terminal 8, we’ll shortly see a new co-branded premium check-in facility open, offering “personalized, concierge-style service for top-tier guests.” This replaces American’s former Flagship First Check-in space, which closed in early 2022 in order to allow for this construction.
There will be different counters depending on your status and/or which class of service you’re flying in. The most exclusive area of the check-in facility will be open to American Airlines and British Airways long haul first class passengers, Concierge Key members on all routes, AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members on long haul itineraries, and oneworld Emerald members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary.
American & British Airways new premium lounges JFK
From a passenger experience standpoint, the biggest change will be made to lounges. As of December 1, 2022, Terminal 8 will feature three new distinctive lounges, which will have the capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 customers at a time. These lounges will be run by both American and British Airways, so you can expect elements from both airlines.
The lounges are named Chelsea, Soho, and Greenwich, which is kind of brilliant, since those places can be found in both New York and London. Let’s cover what we know so far about these new lounges.
Chelsea Lounge New York JFK
The Chelsea Lounge will be the new most exclusive lounge in the terminal, and it will replace American’s Flagship First Dining facility. It will be in a different location than current lounges in the terminal, and will be located above gates 14 through 20. The lounge will be open daily from 4:30AM until 12:30AM.
The Chelsea Lounge will be roughly 10,000 square feet with seating for 128 guests, and will feature an all-new champagne bar, fireside lounge, luxury showers, and an a la carte dining room.
The Chelsea Lounge will be open to:
- British Airways first class passengers
- American Airlines Flagship First passengers (including on eligible transcon flights)
- American Airlines Flagship Business Plus passengers (this is a special bundle that can be purchased)
- American Airlines Concierge Key members on long haul Flagship itineraries (this doesn’t include premium transcon flights)
- British Airways Gold Guest List members
Keep in mind that American will be eliminating its premium first class as of late 2024, so at that point the only American flyers who would have access to this lounge would be Concierge Key members on Flagship itineraries, plus those who purchased Flagship Business Plus tickets.
Dare I say that based on the couple of pictures that have been released so far, this looks like somewhat of a downgrade compared to Flagship First Dining? There’s no natural light, and the decor just looks… okay? Admittedly Flagship First Dining wouldn’t have the space to handle British Airways passengers as well, but still…
Soho Lounge New York JFK
The Soho Lounge will be the second most exclusive lounge in the terminal. It will be in a different location than current lounges in the terminal, and will be next to the Chelsea Lounge, above gates 14 through 20. The lounge will be open daily from 4:30AM until 12:30AM.
The Soho Lounge will be roughly 12,000 square feet with seating for 282 guests, and will feature sweeping airside views, a wine bar, a cocktail lounge, a library, and a buffet.
The Soho Lounge will be open to:
- American AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members on long haul Flagship itineraries (this doesn’t include premium transcon flights)
- oneworld Emerald members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary
- American Airlines Concierge Key members on non-Flagship itineraries
- Same day oneworld first class passengers on airlines other than American Airlines and British Airways (for example, Japan Airlines is moving to Terminal 8 in May 2023, so those first class passengers would access to this lounge)
British Airways had a special oneworld Emerald lounge in Terminal 7, so it’s nice to see this concept coming to Terminal 8, as this isn’t something that American previously had.
Greenwich Lounge New York JFK
The current American Flagship Lounge will be rebranded as the Greenwich Lounge. The lounge is roughly 27,000 square feet, and we’re told to expect a premium wine table, expansive seating, and chef-inspired meals. It sounds like not a whole lot will be changing here otherwise compared to the old Flagship Lounge. The lounge will be open daily from 4:30AM until 12:30AM.
It also remains to be seen what is done with the former space of Flagship First Dining, since that will no longer be operational. Will guests just be invited to sit there while eating, or will it remain closed off?
The Greenwich Lounge will be open to:
- British Airways business class passengers
- American Airlines Flagship Business passengers (including on eligible transcon flights)
- American AAdvantage Platinum members on long haul Flagship itineraries (this doesn’t include premium transcon flights)
- oneworld Sapphire members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary
While this is a perfectly pleasant lounge, I’d still say it’s potentially a downgrade compared to the pre-flight dining that British Airways offered its business class passengers in Terminal 7.
What about American Admirals Club members?
While the above covers premium cabin passengers and elite members, what about those with American Admirals Club access? Unfortunately it’s not great news there.
The only Admirals Club will be located in Concourse C, which requires taking the underground tunnel to the other side of the terminal. Not only is that location not ideal, but it’s a fairly small lounge, and it’s woefully in need of a renovation (unless something recently changed, and I missed it?).
British Airways is in the process of moving to American Airlines’ Terminal 8 at JFK. That move will be complete as of December 1, 2022, and you can expect all these new lounges to also be operational as of that date.
We’ll see the opening of the new Chelsea and Soho Lounges, which will be open to first class passengers and oneworld Emerald members, respectively. Then the existing Flagship Lounge will be rebranded as the Greenwich Lounge, and will be open to business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members.
What do you make of these new Terminal 8 JFK lounges?
I call it a net reduction in the “lounge value” I get out of my AA and BA flying from JFK.
I have a question about the Priority Check-In areas. I see the new completely enclosed private check-in area for First/OWE and then the other semi-enclosed check-in area for Business/OWS, but I did not see specific mention of OWR/Domestic First/Premium Eco, which would normally have access to priority check-in. I'm curious how that will work and if OWR flying on BA will have a separate dedicated check-in line or if it will be folded into an...
I have a question about the Priority Check-In areas. I see the new completely enclosed private check-in area for First/OWE and then the other semi-enclosed check-in area for Business/OWS, but I did not see specific mention of OWR/Domestic First/Premium Eco, which would normally have access to priority check-in. I'm curious how that will work and if OWR flying on BA will have a separate dedicated check-in line or if it will be folded into an additional AA Priority line for OWR/AA Gold, etc.
What are the hours?
Flying JFK - DOH in business in December - flight departs 1:20am (ouch). T8. Where can we chill?
(I already know TSA pre-check is closed…)
So funny how everyone seems to want access to all the higher lounges with just any ol' status/ticket class. Yet they also want it to look and feel EXCLUSIVE. These companies have to draw a line somewhere, and remember: These are all above Admirals Lounges.....
I really hope the Chelsea lounge will be open to GGLs on domestic AA flights.
While I prefer the flair of the CCR at T7, potentially being able to access the lounge more frequently would make more than up for it.
As a NYC-based GGL with a lot of flights on AA this would be a a great improvement.
Will be at JFK a few days before xmas and check with the staff then ;)
I assume AA OWE and AA OWS will still get Flagship Lounge access when on an international Y or PE itinerary at remaining FL lounges in USA. I also assume that AA OWE and OWS will get access in London at the First and Business lounges, respectively, since the AA flier would be a foreign flier at that location. Plus QF lounges, CX, JL etc.
If I'm not mistaken, the 'foreign flyer' distinction only applies in the US, and that all OWE and OWS have access to OW lounges in the rest of the world. As QF Gold or Platinum I would have access to the relevant QF lounges in Australia.
I was in the JFK Flagship lounge today - Tue Nov 29th. No internet until Thursday - they are working on it. So need to go to AA Club if want internet now. The lounge has deteriorated - food not so good, some of the showers are out of order. One I used today which was in order - the water faucet was worn and drip continuously. Door lock labels worn off.
Slightly confused by the point of all 3. It seems..
Chelsea - Flagship First, incld Transcon
Soho - OneWorld Emerald (?)
Greenwich - Flagship Business incld Transcon and OneWorld Sapphire (?).
Flying AA Flagship First JFK-SFO soon and wanted to confirm I’d be in Chelsea. Also, it seems I can access Greenwich, but not SoHo?
What about access for guests of status members? Also, no showers in Soho or Greenwich?
I read the Iberia is also moving to T8. Which lounge do non statused (gasp!) business class passengers use if flying IB?
AA EXP, flying internationally on a coach award ticket, which lounge will I have access?
Similarly for AA PP or Platinum flying coach, which of the three we will get?
EXP & PP would have access to Soho in this case. Plat would have access to Greenwich.
What a bloody mess!! They just made it soo complicated for everyone else!! You kids do realize that after December 2023 AA flyers will no longer have access to the Chelsea lounge right??! That’s for First Class only, both international and transcontinental and AA is disappearing this in 2024! Only CK members, apparently, will have access.
Doesn't sound like you get access to any lounge in JFK unless you are a Admiral's club member for AA club access.
Seeems to me that the way these step down - that if AA EXP/PPro (emerald) since they get access to Soho when on international itinerary that AA OWE should be access to Greenwich when on International itinerary. CK steps down from Chesla to Soho when in Y or PE.
The confusion is what is a Flagship itinerary? Does this mean you have to be in a Flagship seat (J or F) or just flying on an aircraft that offers Flagship classes even though you might be in Y or PE?
The points guy has a much better review of these new lounges. Points guy says "Flagship routes" instead of "Flagship itineraries" here on OMAAT. Flagship routes to me means the aircraft and destination. So looks like AA Emerald will get Soho access in any class for international FS routes.
Why haven't we heard anything about Alaska's plans? Surely they won't be staying in T7 much longer, but I've heard nothing as to the plan. And with the loss of the domestic Alaska Lounge in T7, I suppose we will just be using the Admirals Club in T8, but only if you have Alaska Lounge+
They are moving back to T8 in March
Seems logical now
As an AA PLAT member, I walk by that construction wondering what?
I prefer to fly in and out of JFK because its so empty and fluid.
LGA is like arriving at DisneyLand with the amount of people!
Love JFK T8
Hope it stays the same (or better(.
If I'm an American OWE flying internationally on a OW business class flight (not AA Flagship) which lounge will I have access to?
What does this mean: "oneworld Sapphire members with foreign programs on any same day oneworld itinerary"?
If I'm arriving on a Singapore Airlines flight from FRA but then continuing domestically on AA, is that eligible? Confused by the "foreign program" language.
For example, if you are OW Sapphire because you have AA Platinum status then you can not enter if flying economy on AA. If you have OW Sapphire because you have Finnair Gold status then you could enter lounge , flying same flight.
Oh, foreign programs meaning non AS/AA, got it. I thought that was a weird way of saying long haul itinerary.
They basically mean that elites from US airlines’ programs are to be treated worse for lounge access than non-US airlines’ elites with the equivalent oneworld elite status.
The US airlines don’t want the US airline lounges full with domestic flying economy class passengers with US airline issued elite status of the Oneworld Sapphire/Emerald , Star Gold, SkyTeam ElitePlus status.
@GUWonder 'They basically mean that elites from US airlines’ programs are to be treated worse for lounge access than non-US airlines’ elites with the equivalent oneworld elite status.'
To be clear it's not 'they are to be' because this distinction has always been there. Lounge access whenever you fly is a perk of elite status with most (or all?) non-US OW programs but not for AA. This doesn't change what either US or foreign elite status holders receive.
Since your intl flight is not a OW flight, you'll gain access solely based on your domestic OW(AA) flight.
Thus, if you are a non-AA/AS OWS/OWE, you'll have access. Otherwise, you won't.
What happens to non-status Admirals Club members travelling in Y/Y+? Will the Admirals Club remain unchanged?
The current Admirals Club is becoming the Greenwich (business) lounge, the (only remaining) Admirals Club which you can access is over in the other concourse (C).
How about JL F? I know it’s different terminal. But last time, I went to AA Flagship Lounge with JL F ticket
JL moves to T8 in May 2023.
this is not good news for AA passengers
Will JL F (when they move to T8) get Chelsea or SoHo?
Sounds like Soho
The phrasing “Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members on Flagship itineraries” would seem to imply Soho lounge access on Flagship transcons even in coach as those are branded as Flagship routes. Expanded access rules?
Per PointsGuyUk transcon is excluded from the "Flagship only" verbiage. So confusing.
My apologies if I missed this, but what access will business/first passengers on other T8 Oneworld airlines have?
Soho Lounge for One World Emerald or One World first class ticket
Greenwich Lounge for One World Sapphire or One World business class ticket (or first class)
Thanks for your reply! I was hoping Oneworld first class would get Chelsea access, but nonetheless, I appreciate the info.
Curious if other First Class international airlines that move to T8 will negotiate special arrangements for Chelsea Lounge access.
Oh didn't know T7 was getting demolished, just checked and IB seems so be also moving to T8! Not sure how representative the renders will be of the reality, but the Soho lounge looks considerably larger that the "F"/OWE section BA had in T7, so hopefully that should help with overcrowding (especially since AA OWEs still seem to be unable to access it)
Well I am sure the new lounges will offer enhanced facilities it’s an end of an era moment for me personally with the loss of the Concorde room and the widening of who can access it’s so called replacement.
Indeed. If it were a true replacement, it would be the Mayfair Lounge. Ha.
I whole heartedly agree. The Concorde room may have been a little dated but the food, beverage, and service were outstanding.
Nice of both airlines running the lounges to name them after areas that are located in Manhattan and London. They could have named one of the lounges Kensington as well, but that's located in the NYC borough of Brooklyn, which I'm sure most New Yorkers aren't even aware of.
They really need to do something about the quality of the concessions in T8. It feels like some weird mafia-run front or something. Not possible to get a single edible bit of food there besides Starbucks. Just a handful of really dreary places that feel like NYC bodegas from the 70s.
@Sam then visit LaGuardia where there are TOO MANY F & B locations for you,
JFK is more targeted (which is nice)
who buys food at an airport? bad quality processed foods etc
People who find themselves in a pickle of a situation between having to eat at the airport or eat the airline’s lousy/mystery food.