Work continues on BA’s renovation of New York JFK Terminal 7.
The new First lounge opened late last year. The Club lounge is currently being refurbished. The Elemis travel spa and showers are currently closed.
The third departure lounge, the Concorde Room and arguably the best lounge on the network, is not being fully refurbished.
However, due to repair work on its kitchens, it will not open for BA’s sole morning departure from New York JFK, BA178, until the end of March this year. The lounge will now open from 15:00 to 23:00 daily.
Passengers travelling on BA from New York JFK in First Class can of course use the First lounge as an alternative.
It follows the design aesthetic of BA’s recently refurbished Aberdeen and Rome which a minimalist Scandinavian feel.
The lounge has been enlarged. It is described by BA as having an “opulent” First bar, a new “boutique” pre-flight dining area and a quiet work area.
One genuinely new feature is a dedicated wine room with a wide range of wines available to taste. This could well make its way over to Heathrow when BA refurbishes its lounges there in the coming years.
Passengers travelling on British Airways from New York JFK Terminal 7 who are BA Executive Club Gold cardholders and Oneworld Emerald equivalents are eligible to use the lounge. Passengers ticketed in First Class can use the Concorde Room which is not being fully refurbished.
The lounge is also available to First Class passengers of ANA when flying on ANA from New York.
The next lounge to be refurbished is the expansive Galleries Club lounge which is now underway, leaving parts of the lounge partially closed. This is expected to be complete in 2019.
Despite its name, ticketed First Class passengers have access to the Concorde Room. This means this lounge is effectively for British Airways Executive Club Gold Cardholders and Oneworld Emerald equivalents, of which there are a very substantial number on this route.
It is fair to say that for a lounge branded as First Class it did underwhelm a little. However, given the length of the refurbishment the new lounge should be a big improvement.
Unfortunately, no press images are available at the moment. It is understood that BA’s regular press photographer is flying out to New York this weekend so hopefully a full set will be available next week.
The lounge has been enlarged and it is described by BA as having new zones including a dedicated wine room, an “opulent” First bar, and a quiet work area. There is also a new pre-flight dining area.
Today, the airline has provided further information of what, and what isn’t, happening with the planned development of the terminal which is to be completed over the next two years.
BA has confirmed that the development will include redeveloped general check-in areas, a new premium check-in area, a new food court post security, redeveloped First and Club World lounges and pre-flight dining facilities, and refurbished gate areas.
Passengers of other airlines which also use JFK Terminal 7, such as ANA, Icelandair, and Qantas, will also benefit from many of these improvements.
The Concorde Room which is for use by passengers travelling in First Class and Concorde Room Cardholders will receive, to use BA lexicon, a “refresh” after being refurbished a few years ago.
The airline has today issued images of the planned check-in and post security areas, but not the new lounges. A cynic might wonder whether BA has rushed out this announcement in order to maintain momentum after a recent PR event for its new London Gatwick lounges and First Wing at London Heathrow Terminal 5.
There is also no mention of redeveloping the immigration hall which can become extremely congested and is ill-suited to manage queues for both self-service kiosks and manned immigration desks.
On 21 May 2008, British Airways held a press conference at Terminal 7 of New York JFK airport. The then Chief Executive of the airline Willie Walsh outlined ambitious plans for a $30 million revamp of the terminal. The plans included a “drive through” check-in for First Class class passengers and Gold Executive Club card holders, revamped check-in and security zones, and refurbished lounges and travel spa.
What happened to the global financial system and the world economy shortly afterwards is well documented. The collapse of Lehman Brothers and state bail-outs of banks such as RBS and HBOS led to a dramatic fall in business and first class traffic, particularly from passengers who buy highly profitable flexible fares.
The plans for a revamp were put on hold and have remained on the drawing board ever since.