JFK’s New American Airlines and British Airways Lounges Are Now Open. Here’s What Travelers Can Expect.

A detailed look at the stunning co-located lounges that are accessible to qualifying American Airlines, British Airways, and oneworld Alliance customers.

Chelsea Lounge's circular champagne bar in JFK's Terminal 8

Chelsea Lounge’s circular champagne bar is a standout feature of the exclusive lounge.

Courtesy of American Airlines

As of December 1, American Airlines and British Airways passengers have a new hub in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Qualifying travelers can now access American Airlines and British Airways’ new co-located lounges—Chelsea Lounge, Soho Lounge, and Greenwich Lounge—in JFK’s Terminal 8. The spaces, named after neighborhoods found in both London and New York City, are the result of a $400 million joint investment from both airlines and total around 52,000 square feet. This move also brings British Airways’ operations to Terminal 8 from its former home in Terminal 7.

The joint Terminal 8 investment by American Airlines and British Airways also includes five new wide-body gates, a revamped check-in area with a private check-in section, and more than 130,000 square feet of additional and refurbished space (to accommodate wide-body gates and parking positions and improve lounges and check-in areas). These changes come as other oneworld Alliance brands are moving to Terminal 8 as well. Spanish carrier Iberia moved its operations to the terminal from Terminal 7 on December 1, and Japan Airlines plans to make its move from Terminal 1 in May 2023.

Here’s what you need to know about each of the new co-located American Airlines and British Airways lounges that are now open in JFK’s Terminal 8.

Chelsea Lounge

Chelsea Lounge is the most exclusive of the three and doesn’t shy away from an opulent approach to its space. One of the area’s main features is a circular champagne bar serving prestigious bubbly brands like Krug. Expect private workstations, three shower suites featuring rain showers, and a seated area warmed by a ceiling-suspended fireplace (although the fireplace isn’t operating yet). The 9,500-square-foot area also has dedicated a spot for complimentary à la carte dining, with menu items (like lamb tagine and olive oil cake) designed by 2022 James Beard Award Finalist Ayesha Nurdjaja.

How to access the Chelsea Lounge

Chelsea Lounge is available for American Airlines customers who are traveling in Flagship First (first-class) on a qualifying flight. Those traveling Business Plus on certain same-day flights, as well as ConciergeKey (an invite-only American Airlines status) travelers flying select routes can also access Chelsea. British Airways passengers who qualify for its Concorde Room Lounge in London have access to the area as well. The lounge is open from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., offering breakfast, afternoon tea, and an all-day menu.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in JFK's Soho Lounge

The floor-to-ceiling windows of Soho Lounge offer impressive tarmac views.

Courtesy of American Airlines

Soho Lounge

The 12,500-square-foot Soho Lounge shares a check-in area with Chelsea Lounge and may even be preferable for Chelsea-qualified travelers who want views of the tarmac. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the Soho Lounge offer a stark contrast to the intimate, windowless space of the Chelsea Lounge. Amenities in the Soho Lounge include private workstations, a cocktail bar, and four shower suites. Dining options here are both buffet and à la carte service and complimentary, featuring a menu that’s also designed by Nurdjaja.

How to access the Soho Lounge

This lounge is accessible to travelers who have AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, AAdvantage Platinum Pro status, or Alaska Airlines’s MVP Gold 75K status, and who are traveling on qualifying itineraries. British Airways customers who qualify for its First lounges, oneworld Emerald members on any oneworld flight, and oneworld passengers on certain first-class flights also can get into this spot. ConciergeKey travelers flying on any oneworld flights can also use the lounge. Soho is open from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and serves a breakfast and an all-day menu.

Greenwich Lounge's nearly 30,000 square feet of area offers plenty of seating.

Greenwich Lounge’s nearly 30,000 square feet offer plenty of seating.

Courtesy of American Airlines

Greenwich Lounge

Greenwich Lounge is American’s rebranded Flagship lounge. The 29,975-square-foot environment is made up of American’s previous Flagship Lounge, Flagship First Dining facility, and its Concourse B Admirals Club. Combining these areas means ample seating (there’s room for more than 500 travelers), plus amenities like an expansive buffet station, work tables with plenty of outlets nearby, and two shower suites.

How to access the Greenwich Lounge

Greenwich Lounge is the most accessible of the three; it’s available for American Airlines customers who travel Flagship Business on certain itineraries and for British Airways passengers who qualify to enter its Club Lounges. AAdvantage Platinum members and Alaska Airlines’s MVP Gold members on select flights can also use the Greenwich Lounge. Additionally, oneworld business-class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members flying a oneworld flight have access to the area. Like Chelsea and Soho, Greenwich Lounge is open daily from 4:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. However, it only offers buffet service with breakfast and all-day menu items.

Chloe Arrojado is the associate editor of destinations at AFAR. She’s a big fan of cafés, dancing, and asking people on the street for restaurant recommendations.
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