My review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

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This is my review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge at New York’s JFK airport.

As part of the Virgin Atlantic press trip I had attended earlier in the week, I was given a pass for the New York JFK Airport Clubhouse before my return flight. Whilst I have been lucky enough to sample quite a few airline and commercial lounges in the past, I had never experienced a Virgin Atlantic one before. That was until this trip when I found myself in the glorious Clubhouse at Heathrow T3 at the start of the week and then in the JFK Clubhouse on Friday evening.

You can read Rob’s 2016 review of the London Heathrow Clubhouse here

Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse location

Once through security I headed to the Clubhouse which is above gate A5. This was convenient as my flight was also leaving from gate A5, although this was probably not a coincidence.

It didn’t take long to walk there and at the entrance I was greeted by a friendly and enthusiastic lady. I was made to feel like they were expecting me, all very pleasant so far.

As I walked through to the Clubhouse, there was an unmanned hand luggage store room to the right where you could place your bag.

On entering the Clubhouse itself I was greeted by a row of architectural metal bars behind which I could see the drinks bar. These decorative bars were present throughout the building.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

Looking around you have the option of turning left or right. In both directions I could see that there was plenty of seating available. Both sides of the room had windows running the whole length allowing lots of natural light in and close views of the airport runways.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

There was a good selection of British newspapers on the back wall.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

There was also a familiar selection of magazines which was disappointing as I thought Virgin would be doing something different here.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

Walking around to the left, the pool table caught my eye. Shame I was travelling alone otherwise I would have made full use of that.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

Further round there was a small business centre with a couple of Apple Macs.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

There seemed to be many different types of seating so you could choose whether you wanted to kick back and relax by yourself on a soft reclining chair or find something more upright and sturdy for working.

Food and drinks

As I was hungry I headed over to the restaurant area which was very nicely appointed. It had a formal look but was actually very relaxed.  The waiting staff were very warm and calm and that definitely helped to create a more laid back environment. They were very attentive and I was impressed with the high level of customer service throughout.

I’d been told the food was very good and was looking forward to trying it. Main courses on offer included chicken or vegetable curry, panko crusted catfish and ‘Employees Only’ ricotta gnocchi. Employees Only is the name of a hip little restaurant in SoHo that had created this dish. If you get a chance to visit them, I recommend it.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

In the end I decided on the Clubhouse burger as I’d heard good things about it from the Virgin Atlantic PR team during the trip. It was delicious and filling and I knew I was going to sleep well on the flight. So much so that I didn’t have room for one of the desserts such as salted scotch pretzel pudding or black forest trifle. I’m kind of regretting that now as I type.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

There is a young flyers menu for any children lucky enough to be in the Clubhouse. There is also a good selection of bar snacks which can be chosen as starters or served together as a main.

The champagne on offer was Lanson Black Label NV. Wines included a Californian Château Souvrain Chardonnay, 2013 and a Washington Merf Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015.

Next to the restaurant was a large bar where you could have a cocktail in relatively peaceful surroundings. The spirit choices were all pretty standard brands.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

If you needed to freshen up, showers are available. Cowshed shower gels and Bumble and Bumble shampoo/conditioner are provided.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

As in London there is also a spa and hairdressing salon. Most of the services are charged, although Virgin and Delta customers can receive a complimentary 15 minute treatment such as a fringe trim, beard tidy, head massage or nail manicure. These services are always busy so I recommend booking a treatment as soon as you arrive or even in advance. I didn’t get to see inside the spa area as someone was having a treatment.

One nice thing about the Clubhouse is, you do not need to worry about when you are boarding. An announcement will be made regarding your flight followed by a second announcement, so don’t rush that gin and tonic after the first! It took me less than two minutes to leave the Clubhouse and board the aircraft which was appreciated.

 review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York JFK

Conclusion

Whilst not as big and impressive as the Clubhouse at Heathrow, the New York Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is still a very good lounge.  An hour or two in here before your flight is guaranteed to relax you and make the time pass quickly. The food is far better than most standard lounges and the service is excellent. A better class of champagne would be nice, as would a selection of more artisan spirits but these are only minor disappointments.

I was concerned the Clubhouse would be busy as I was travelling at 7pm on a Friday evening but it was quite the opposite and there was plenty of choice for seating.

I do like that Virgin are able to make their services feel different. Whether it’s the relaxed design or enthusiastic and down to earth staff, I find the experience very enjoyable. Even though the standard of care is high and makes you feel part of something special, the atmosphere created is quite informal and easy going. If you have a chance to visit this lounge one day then – as long as you don’t expected all the bells and whistles of Heathrow – you won’t be disappointed.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

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

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Comments

  1. I really appreciate the design and more relaxed atmosphere with VS in the Clubhouse and in PE/UC, in contrast to BA WTP/CW & lounges where it can feel a little stiff and formal at times.

    Great review Jamie, anyone know how far away Delta departure gates are from the JFK VS clubhouse, fancy the JFK – DUB DeltaONE bargain redemption at some point..

    • from memory it was about a 15 minute walk.

    • Matt b says:

      What is the redemption cost for that flight?

      • Lumma says:

        Looks like 50000 miles and $5.60.

        I think I’ve spotted my redemption plan for later in the year

        • Matt b says:

          Not bad when you compare it to 47500 miles and $500 to LHR instead (offpeak)

        • Lumma says:

          Definitely. Could have a nice couple of days in Dublin with the money you save

        • Felix Flyer says:

          Is that VS miles or Delta miles?

        • Lumma says:

          Vs miles. Seems to be decent availability in the autumn too

        • Felix Flyer says:

          Thanks. Looks like my clubcard points will migrate to Virgin!

        • Matt b says:

          Is that bookable on the VS website or over phone? Cant seem to be able to price it online.

          • You won’t get $5.60 via Virgin!

            If you want that price you need to use Virgin miles to book a Delta flight to Dublin or some other non UK destination. Fly to the UK and the fees match the Virgin ones.

        • Lumma says:

          Online. You need to use the drop-down menu to select Dublin for the destination as just typing in Dub only brings up Dubai. Select class as upper class and use the 5 week search option. Pretty much every day in October is open with limited days August and September. That’s all I checked this morning

    • As DTB says, it’s about 15 minutes; we did this just after New Year. Be aware of two things; the DL check in staff will direct you to the DL lounge, and, depending on the timing of the last VS flight of the day, the VS Club House may close well before you DL flight departs. Our DL flight to LHR was scheduled to depart at 22:20, the VS Club House closed at 21:30. In this instance we just made our way to the DL lounge, and so did a bit of compare and contrast. I’ll let you guess which of the two lounge is better…

      • Mr Dee says:

        Don’t seem to be able to select to pay by miles on the virgin site, is it the virgin site that you are saying I can book JFK to DUB on?

        • Mr Dee says:

          Found it now, as above have to select it from drop down for the miles option to show

      • Shame you don’t appear to be able to book outbound flights from Dublin. Great price for the return leg though.

  2. Andrew* says:

    I know Employees Only (EO on the napkins) as a fantastic (small chain of) cocktail bar(s); it was recommended to me by a well-informed friend and my wife and I were not disappointed. They do a great book if you want to try making the drinks at home too! Cheers…

  3. Frankie says:

    Great review Jamie. Really enjoyed reading it and I hope I get to experience this lounge sometime.

  4. Seeing the economist on the far right of that magazine rack, am I right in thinking the Economist has been removed from BA Galleries? Haven’t seen it in ages…

    • AspirationalFlyer says:

      I haven’t seen GQ for ages either.

      • Saw GQ a few weeks ago

        On a side note – why is having known magazine names an issue? Surely knowing the magazine is better than magazines you have never heard about ?

        • My guess is that something like Another Man would be more in keeping with the cooler Virgin vibe. But GQ is fine by me to be fair.

        • Do people actually read magazines in an airport lounge?

  5. Andy Morgan says:

    Is the Clubhouse available for PE?

  6. Who is Jamie?

    • Was explained in the two earlier parts of this series if you go back to last weekend.

      • Why wouldn’t you just add a line here to explain straight away – you do a lot of copy-paste about credit cards or even Allen and Jain, this would be much appreciated as well rather then sending people to archived entries

        • Because that comment was typed on my phone at 2.05pm on a Sunday afternoon and I was in the park with my kids, possibly?

  7. Janeyferr says:

    Just been to and from the US in Upper Class. First time flying anything non-economy so I have nothing to compare it to, but I was generally disappointed with the service. My partner was treated better than me, which was annoying when it was me who collected the points and paid the taxes and he didnt even want to go.

    The cherry on the cake was when I was delivered a coffee at breakfast and when I asked for the tea as I’d ticked on the card the cabin crew tried to argue with me about what I had ticked.

  8. David2910 says:

    In any JFK clubhouse review, you’ve got to mention the barman. Complete dude. I’ve only been in three times. Always remembers my name, somehow.

    • Peter K says:

      I worked with someone who would remember a customers name when they last came 1 -2 years previously! An amazing skill to have!

  9. Billy says:

    Much prefer the Newark Clubhouse (and airport!)

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