New first, business class lounges for Qantas’ New York flights

When Qantas returns to New York’s JFK airport, travellers will find three new lounges at the ready.

By David Flynn, January 27 2022
New first, business class lounges for Qantas’ New York flights

While New York is currently missing from Qantas’ map, it’s certain to return in the coming years – as an onwards cross-country leg for one Boeing 787, as non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ flights from Sydney or Melbourne, or perhaps both.

Whichever red-tailed jet gets you to Gotham, there’ll be a vastly improved set of lounges compared to previous years.

American Airlines and British Airways are building not one, not two but three new lounges at JFK Terminal 8 (BA, which currently used Terminal 7, will shift to T8 in December 2022) as part of their joint business venture for trans-Atlantic flights.

A US$400m make-over of JFK T8 is also improving the experience for premium passengers.
A US$400m make-over of JFK T8 is also improving the experience for premium passengers.

In a joint release heralding the new T8 premium passenger experience, the airlines said the lounges would “provide a refined, welcoming preflight experience for select guests based on cabin of travel and loyalty program status,” and differentiated the lounges as follows.

The “most exclusive lounge” will go all-out with a champagne bar and “fireside lounge” – perhaps taking its cue from the current Qantas LAX Business Lounge – while an a la carte dining room will “reimagine American’s Flagship First Dining into a fully immersive experience” (whatever that means, although we suspect it’s marketing-talk for an open kitchen with a bit of cooking theatre behind the stainless steel benches).

The Champagne Bar at JFK T8's "most exclusive lounge".
The Champagne Bar at JFK T8's "most exclusive lounge".

Executive Traveller expects this will be a fully-fledged first class lounge restricted to passengers travelling in the primo cabin – similar to BA’s current Concorde Room – along with the likes of elite invitation-only airline programs such as the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, British Airways Executive Club Premier and American Airlines ConciergeKey.

We expect this "most exclusive lounge" will effectively replace BA's Concorde Room at Terminal 7.
We expect this "most exclusive lounge" will effectively replace BA's Concorde Room at Terminal 7.

Next door to this will be another “premium lounge”, the hallmarks of which will include “sweeping airside views, a wine bar, cocktail lounge, library and buffet.”

T8's second "premium lounge", which we expect will be for Qantas Platinums and their Oneworld Emerald equivalents.
T8's second "premium lounge", which we expect will be for Qantas Platinums and their Oneworld Emerald equivalents.

Meanwhile, two existing American Airlines lounges at T8 – the already-massive Flagship Lounge and the adjacent Admirals Club at T7 Concourse B – will be combined to create "a contiguous lounge for eligible business class customers.”

With that mega-lounge already being identified as a business class lounge, which would also welcome Qantas Gold frequent flyers (and their Oneworld Sapphire equivalents), we’re betting that the “premium lounge” with sweeping views etc will effectively be a ‘Oneworld Emerald Lounge’ for top-tier frequent flyers who aren’t in first class.

That door list will encompass Qantas Platinums, BA Golds, American Airlines’ Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro members and all other Oneworld Emerald card-holders.

(That’s by no means a new approach: at London Heathrow T5, BA maintains separate first class and Concorde Room lounges, which in reality are Oneworld Emerald and First Class lounges; likewise, Qatar Airways’ Doha hub has dedicated lounges for its own first class passengers and Oneworld Emeralds.) 

These three lounges will sport “distinctive” designs “with original high-end finishes, evoking a unique sense of space while elevating the experience and service offered to every guest”, and they’ll be co-branded, sharing both the American Airlines and British Airways logos, and between them they’ll have space for around 1,000 passengers.

The American Airlines Admirals Club at Concourse C will remain the go-to for Qantas Club members.
The American Airlines Admirals Club at Concourse C will remain the go-to for Qantas Club members.

American Airlines will retain its Admirals Club at T7’s Concourse C, which will also be the go-to for Qantas Club members.

To help you get to those lounges faster, there’ll also be two new premium check-in areas.

The new premium checkin experience at JFK T8.
The new premium checkin experience at JFK T8.

The first, which will replace American’s former Flagship First Check-In space, is promised to provide “personalised, concierge-style service for top-tier guests” – which we take to mean first class passengers and high-status frequent flyers such as Qantas Platinums and above.

Nearby will be “an exclusive new check-in space for eligible business customers.”

There’s no word on when the official ribbon-cutting will be, although it’s certain to be no later than December 1, as that’s when British Airways moves into T8.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 389

Looks good. I agree with you that these will be First, Business and for want of a better word 'Emerald' lounges. I suspect that Qantas will bring back the LAX-JFK Boeing 787 next year, but I don't know if that would remain once the non-stop Sunrise flights begin.

realistically, how many will pay the extra to fly nonstop & how many economy seats will be on the nonstop ? Vast majority will still fly via LAX & it will take a few more hours.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 389

I think a lot of people will pay extra for non-stop, it's not just about saving "a few hours". You'd actually save more than "a few hours" anyway by avoid the whole LAX stopover but there's also the hassle of LAX, you have to go through immigration, collect your bag, take it to the point where you drop it off again, then go back through security and immigration again, no thanks. Plus the whole trip is uninterrupted time. Definitely appealing to a lot of people.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 569

You've described it perfectly, QFP1.  It's all quite novel the first couple of times, but after the 2nd time I was "over it" well and truly.  Landing in LAX en route to JFK (and beyond) is useful if doing a 1-2 day stop-over for meet 'n greets on the way to NYC and/or London.  But if NYC is the destination, why bother with LAX.  

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1437

Regular I will always simplify or eliminate stopovers. Perth is much better than either Dubai os Singapore as it is a simple stopover a small but nice lounge, less walking etc. No stopover at all would be better.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 323

Hopefully they bring back Cathay flights to Australia, much nicer to/from JFK  fro mAustralia via Honk Kong rather than ratty inept LAX or humble Houston

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 389

I just hope the new First lounge allows above-Emerald frequent flyers, eg BA Gold Guest List, QF Platinum One etc, it would be a nice additional recognition of their real value to the airlines above Oneworld Emerald which has become increasingly easy to get especially with status extensions.

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 23

Appreciate your comment ‘whatever that means’.  When I see the words ‘experience’ and ‘reimagine’ I switch off - just so much fluff!

In reality, mainly lounges for passengers being paid for by their companies.

Going to U.S. in 2023 on RTW ticket, (paid for by me), probably in at DFW, and out from JFK so will have the chance to see the new lounges.


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