New York Stories #7 – The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

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This is my review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK Airport in New York.

I tried to fly Virgin Atlantic on one leg of my New York trip but availability wasn’t there on the days I needed it.  It is now far too long since I flew with them long-haul and I sometimes feel a little guilty writing about Virgin Upper Class without recent experience.

When I realised that Singapore Airlines First Class passengers get to use the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK, I perked up.  The London Heathrow Clubhouse lounge is regarded as one of the best airline lounges in the world with a range of features rarely seen.  I still remember getting my hair cut and sitting in a soundproofed room testing out a very high-end piece of hi-fi on my last visit!

I assumed that New York, as Virgin’s ‘2nd home’, would be as good.  Sadly, I was mistaken.

There is nothing wrong with the Clubhouse at New York JFK.  By the standards of 95% of US airline lounges it is outstanding.  It just doesn’t have anything special about it.  I ended up spending over two hours there which was far too much.

Here are a few photos.  This is a general overview shot:

Virgin Clubhouse JFK overview review

The funkiest part of it, which isn’t saying too much, is the pool table ….

Virgin Clubhouse JFK pool table review

…. and these odd seating pods built into one of the corners, which aren’t really comfy or convenient ….

Virgin Clubhouse JFK pod review

There is a tiny spa but it didn’t seem up to much.  I didn’t try to get an appointment.  I DID try to have a shower but every time I checked all three of the cubicles were locked.

Virgin Clubhouse JFK spa review

There is a decent sized dining area serving a full restaurant menu:

Virgin Clubhouse JFK dining area review

I didn’t want a full meal so I just ordered a chicken main dish.  It was acceptable but would not win any awards – there wasn’t much meat on the chicken and it was a little dry.  I would feel a bit aggrieved if I’d paid £15 for it in a London restaurant:

Virgin Clubhouse JFK restaurant food review

The dining area does offer a good view of departing Virgin aircraft through the windows.  There was no sign of my Singapore Airlines flight as it was on the other side of the building.

Virgin Clubhouse JFK view from dining review

Business facilities in the lounge were limited to three PC’s, one of which was out of order.  These were on a bar with bar stools for seating which is not hugely convenient.

The most interesting thing that happened to me in the lounge is that I was paged for the first time in my life!  When I got to the reception desk, it was Singapore Airlines on the phone.  There was a family of three checking in and Singapore wanted me to swap seats (moving forward a row) so that the family could have three in a line.  As the seats are identical and I still had a window, I didn’t mind.  It did make me wonder what other airlines would have gone to such trouble to track down a passenger before moving his seat forward a row ….

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see recent articles on Virgin Atlantic, Little Red and Flying Club, and click here for the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    Off topic but to do with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points.

    At what price in UK£ would you sell one million points for ??

    These would not be transferred, but kept in account and the bookings would be made for the buyer as and when needed, with buyer ultimately paying the taxes or fees for whatever they wish to redeem for.
    Just trying to gauge a worth, thanks….

    • £7,500-£10k for a ‘normal’ person, since an individual can buy sale tickets in J for roughly that level (ie 1p per point or less, so NYC would be £1300 inc tax etc). Market is slim since few people have that sort of cash to spare.

      Better is to use a mileage broker although your chance of getting ripped off is huge.

  2. Thunderbirds says:

    I’m off to Tokyo with Virgin in a couple of weeks. Is there a Virgin lounge at Narita? Do they share? Anyone been in their lounge recently and can comment..?

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