My review of the (temporary) AA Admirals Club lounge, New York JFK Terminal 8

And the award for worst lounge goes to ……

I was heading back to Europe on airberlin, flying business class from New York JFK to Berlin Tegel for the attractive price of 60,000 Avios and just £3 of tax.  I will write about that flight tomorrow.

First I had to brave the temporary American Airlines Admirals Club lounge in Terminal 8.  Rob did warn me that lounge standards in the US are pretty low, but what I found at JFK was even worse than I expected.

To be fair to American it is currently undertaking a major global refurbishment programme of its key lounges.  The Heathrow arrivals lounge, the only one AA has, re-opened two weeks ago.  The main Admirals Club lounge in Terminal 8, used by airberlin, is currently being rebuilt and will reopen in 2017.  A temporary lounge is currently open in Concourse B, which is where I was sent.

JFK airport new york

The temporary lounge is located on a mezzanine level. You can see security when looking down one side and shops down the other.

JFK airport new york admirals lounge bar

The temporary Admirals Club lounge is a small rectangular ‘room’ where someone tried to squeeze as many seats in as possible, whilst still leaving a bit of room for aisles inbetween.

Restrooms were about a 3 minute zig zag walk away.

JFK airport new york admirals lounge coffee seating

Don’t expect do be properly fed in this lounge. There were some carrot sticks, crackers and hummus, olives and soup and that was it.  You don’t know you’re born when you complain about Galleries Club at Heathrow!

jfk airport new york admials lounge

I tried the lemon chicken orzo soup which was absolutely horrible! Way too salty…

JFK airport new york admirals lounge soup

The cookies were ok …..

JFK airport new york admirals lounge cookies

and so was the G&T.  Note that the bartenders expect you to tip them for pouring your drink, so take a few dollar bills to the bar if you don’t want to get that look.

JFK airport new york admirals llounge food and drink

The socket situation wasn’t great and it took me a while to find a seat with a socket next to it.  There was at least one positive thing about this temporary Admirals Club lounge: there were USB chargers, woohoo!

JFK airport new york admirals lounge socket usb socket


The temporary Admirals Club lounge in JFK Terminal 8 Concourse B is currently good only to grab a quick drink before your flight or charge your phone.  You won’t want to spend too much time there.  Roll on 2017 and the new lounge.

Bits: new BBC ATC series starts tonight, Virgin economy sale, 30 Avios per £1 on flowers!
Bits: Emirates makes Manchester 'all A380', Priority Pass deal, HFP in the Express
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  1. Simon Schus says:

    Thank you for the review :)

    From the photographs, the food offering is almost *exactly* the same as is usually available in the permanent Admirals Club lounge in Terminal 8 (I’m unsure about the Flagship Lounge though as I’ve never been into it). They do offer a paid-for option for more substantial meals (i.e. sandwiches). Instead, I’ve tended to head over to Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds to pick up some food which I take back to the lounge.

    It should also be noted that there is another Admirals Club in Terminal 8 (I forget which concourse) which I have tended to find a much better experience. I don’t know if that is being refurbished right now either as I’ve been avoiding JFK a bit recently (if it is open then it offers a good set of shower rooms which the Concourse B lounge also used to have).

    It should also be noted that the bars has tended to divide between ‘complimentary drinks’ and ‘premium drinks’. As a BA Sapphire or Emerald, I’ve tended to be given vouchers for a couple of premium drinks in Admirals Clubs – this is typical across PHL, BOS, JFK, PIT, ORD and every Admirals Lounge I’ve been to in the US. These ‘drinks chits’ are good for a glass of champagne, a more brand-name type of beer or spirits, sometimes Baileys if they have them. Otherwise, the complimentary alcohol options are decent enough though offer a more limited option… but yes, a tip is customary even for the complimentary drinks (I tend a dollar a drink but it took me several trips to realise that this was the case after realising everybody else leaving them).

    • plastikman says:

      I was given three chits and traded them in for a gin and tonic, a pint of directors bitter and one small Baileys.

    • You do get “proper” food at T8 Flagship and all drinks are complimentary (self service). Not a big space though so I wouldn’t be surprised if it tends to get really crowded.

      Not sure whether it’s being refurbished as well though – was last there in February.

    • Indeed the food is standard for Admiral Clubs, not a temporary situation scenario

      The soup also sounds typical. It can be nice if you’re in he mood for salt, otherwise you’re out of luck! Having moved to the US last year, I’ve found this to be pretty typical everywhere, it’s not just a fault with AA

    • I believe bottled water requires a chit also, or it did at DFW a couple of years ago. We stocked up on a couple for in flight use before heading back to LHR in Y.

  2. Simon Schus says:

    Also, from the looks of the photograph… the ‘temporary’ lounge is directly outside the permanent lounge that is being refurbished.

  3. Alan Wan says:

    Wow it looks pretty grim. I departed from the same terminal in late July but was lucky enough to have access to the AA Flagship lounge, due to my BA Gold status. It was very nice, decent views, shower facilities and surprisingly good food and drink. It had a help yourself bar including Taittinger champagne. It was better in every aspect to the BA 1st lounge at T7.

  4. This lounge looks slightly better than the one I was in yesterday: the Al Maha lounge in Doha. Awful. Just awful.

    • Been there, grief, yes, it is grim. I didn’t write about it at the time because it was a brief visit and it was so crowded I couldn’t take pictures. I ended up sitting in the business centre behind a PC, even though I hadn’t been planning to work, just to get a seat.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Crazy how the flagship lounges are so nice but the others are awful, worst I’ve personally used, also situated under these huge advert screens with a clear glass roof its terrible planning.

      I just don’t understand the thought process in an otherwise nice airport

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      I agree with this entirely – sat in there for about half an hour and decided the main airport was more appealing. The previous time I’d been through DOH, OWS cardholders were allowed in the Al Mourjan, oh how things have changed!

  5. Apart from the BA lounges in JFK I haven’t found a decent one in the US yet (I fly oneworld)

    • Try Virgin – theirs are excellent.

    • And the AMEX centurion lounges ! Also very good!

    • The AA Flagship lounge in ORD is quite nice, and on a recent visit had reasonable food and drink options. Standard lounges in the US (across all airlines) are best seen as a place for water, coffee and more quiet than one finds elsewhere, not somewhere for a meal or extended stay.

  6. This is standard for food and drink, so not sure why you were surprised lol

    Also no need to tip. They really do not expect it if using the voucher. Sure they will take it if offered!

  7. Not great, thankfully if you gave BA Gold (OW Emerald) the nearby Flagship Lounge is pretty decent and not normally too crowded!

  8. Have passed through both T8 domestic and LAX AA lounge in last week. Saw nothing new at the JFK lounge but LAX a building site. I was with my family and could not access the flagship side with them and didn’t have time to visit solo. Hopefully as well as new environments they will do something about the crap food and miserable drinks offer

  9. For another JFK perspective – I used the BA lounge on Saturday at JFK. It was, I thought, pretty tired, with what I l consider was an odd set up – a lounge within a lounge – where BA passengers could have a hot meal (the mains were low quality, but the two deserts quite tasty).

    • Krys – was that an overnight flight back to UK?

      IIRC They offer a decent hot meal in the lounge rather than full cabin service on the night flights. We used the club world facilities when flying back from JFK last year and thought the food was good.. I don’t remember a cabin service but after a full belly and a few champagnes I was asleep within 30 mins of takeoff and didn’t wake up until breakfast was served!

      • It was a 19.30 flight, so full service on the flight. To be honest, I didn’t eat at the lounge because it just wasn’t tasty (after four weeks eating US food which was generally brilliant my expectations had risen). But there was a passenger at check in before me that he would be getting just a light meal on board, absolutely furious, I thought his braces would snap.

        Im also full of praise for the CW flight on BA. Great service, food etc. We flew as a couple and having the back two middle twin seats was pretty cool. I get how this set up isn’t to everyone’s liking, particularly if you’re flying solo. But for us, almost a double bed. Just goes to show that it’s horses for courses.

  10. Used the KAL lounge last night at LAX using priority pass to enter. It is in the Tom Bradley International terminal a five minute walk from American Airlines terminal 4. Quite impressed. Good selection of food on offer. Flew from LAX to Honolulu with American Airlines. Five and a half hour flight. Unless you pre purchased food prior to the flight, no food was offered and refreshments limited to two cans of soft drinks and a flight attendant occasionally walking down the aisle with a large bottle of water to top you up and they had the cheek to charge $5 for hire of headphones to watch a film. Flight attendants were scruffy as well.

    • Thanks for the tip on the KAL lounge might try that on way home. Am on Big Island and got here on a ex DUB so It was comfortable. AA food in F / J is not bad and can pre ordered. However even in F after 8/9pm there is no food service on any flight operated by AA domestically.

      • Use the BA lounge in Tom Bradley, it’s very good by European standards which means it’s excellent by American standards

  11. Oh! Matron! says:

    All of you stop whining! It’s still magnitudes better than the old ServiceAir Lounge at T1 Heathrow :-)

  12. Ah… The good old carrots and celery and the soups and crackers. An AA staple..

  13. The BBC recently broadcast a series of three programmes under the title ‘City in the Sky’, which I found very interesting and not too gimmicky.
    They are not available on iPlayer but will no doubt be repeated soon.

  14. paul mc evoy says:

    Was in the Miami lounge in July and was terrible.
    Crackers and packet soup.
    Paid for drinks.
    Let’s not even start about F on a 737……………

  15. I can’t wait to hear how you can get a business class fare from New York to Berlin for 60,000 Avios and just £3 of tax. I presume that this is a one-way fare (New York-Berlin) and not a return (Berlin-New York-Berlin)?

    Im looking to travel the first week or second week of Dec 2016 for about 5 days. Explored various options with 2for1 and just avios on BA website. Can’t seem to get a decent deal.

    • One way. Return is £75 and 120,000 Avios.

      Although, remember, Dublin to Boston on Aer Lingus is only 75,000 Avios return and £75 of tax, as it is under 3,000 miles and falls into the cheaper Avios pricing band. Need to ring BA to book that though.

      Also remember that Iberia has more availability long-haul on its own planes if you move your Avios to Iberia Plus and book via

  16. My wife got moved from BA to AA for a flight from JFK in November. Is this the lounge she will be using? She is travelling in Y but has BA Silver so she would not have got pre flight dining in the BA lounge but from memory at least it was a relaxing place to wait with drink. This temporary AA lounge does not look great.

  17. We’re at JFK now travelling to dusseldorf and have to say very dissapointed in the lounge we stayed 5 mins and left horrible feel to it, if I had paid standard prices would be jumping up and down. Poor show indeed

  18. dicksbits says:

    I was in the temporary Flagship American JFK lounge two weeks ago, and the situation was only marginally better. Food offering was much more substantial than shown above, and the showers were fully operational, which was much appreciated after flying overnight from HNL – LAX and all day LAX – JFK!

  19. dicksbits says:

    HNL is a very poor lounge. There was only soup on offer when I was in there recently.

  20. That’s a real shame, the admirals club at ORD was pretty decent when I was there a couple of weeks ago.

    The best U.S. lounge I’ve been in is the centurion lounge at LAS, no showers but everything else was pretty decent.

  21. LondonAndy says:

    I was in the flagship lounge at JFK yesterday morning and it was pretty empty – from what the staff said it’s already been refurbished.