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Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

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This is my review of the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, often used for flights to New York City.

This lounge is used by Aer Lingus as well as by British Airways passengers. This is the final part of my series on a trip to experience Business Class on the new Aer Lingus single-aisle A321LR fleet.

This lounge joined Priority Pass earlier in 2022, but you can only access it from 8am until 2pm. There are no British Airways or Aer Lingus flights during this period.

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

You will see that the lounge is very quiet in my pictures. After the 07.50 flight to Heathrow, the first British Airways evening flight is at 18.05. The daily Aer Lingus flight departs at 17.20 so there would have been no more than a handful of early birds for the 18.05 BA service when I arrived.

Security at Newark was impressively quick. I’d passed the lounge, up a lift on the first floor (2nd floor if you’re American!), on arrival four days earlier so I knew where I was going.

There is formal dining …. but it was closed

As with most British Airways lounges in the US, the lounge was set up for formal pre-flight dining. This allows you to eat and then board what is almost invariably an overnight flight and go to sleep without waiting for a dragged out meal service.

Pre-flight dining wasn’t open at 3pm, of course. I did get a photo of the Club World area:

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

…. and the First Class dining area:

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

As you can see, it is the typical Galleries lounge decor. It won’t set your heart ablaze but it’s certainly not as sterile as, say, a Lufthansa lounge.

Regular visitors to the UK lounges will instantly recognise this tea and coffee set-up:

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

The lounge contains three zones. You have the dining area pictured above, plus a seating area here (my photo only shows around half of it):

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

…. and, on the other side of the room, this space (again, this is only part of it):

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

This side is where you’ll find the bar. Whilst there is no-one to be seen in this picture, the bar is staffed and you are not encouraged to help yourself. Unlike most US airline lounges, drinks are free and there is no obligation to pay the semi-obligatory $1 tip per drink demanded elsewhere.

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

There is also a small work area tucked away:

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

…. and, whilst not pictured, shower facilities.

Newark has the QR code-based food ordering system that you will find in Heathrow and Gatwick. It worked well, as usual. My daughter had the BA burger:

Review: the British Airways lounge at Newark Liberty Airport

Other options included:

  • ‘Italian Wedding’ soup (meatballs)
  • pan seared salmon
  • penne ricotta pasta
  • vegetarian burger
  • garden salad
  • spring fennel salad
  • strawberry rhubarb shortcake
  • banana pudding

The burger was delivered promptly and I had no complaints from my teenage companion.

That’s about all I can say, given that pre-flight dining wasn’t open. It is a perfectly satisfactory lounge, with well above average food offerings via the QR-code ordering system. The decor isn’t the most modern but I’ve also seen a lot worse. It is definitely better than spending time in the main terminal.

Do note that, if you visit between 8am and 2pm using a Priority Pass, you will find a different food and drink system in operation in keeping with the modest sum that Priority Pass pays to use the lounge.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (47)

  • Track says:

    Next door to it is Virgin Clubhouse which one can access with PP during the daytime (before it’s used for Virgin flights).

  • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

    This is interesting. EI use a number of BA lounges in the US and my and others’ experience is that EI passengers are refused access to pre-flight table or a la carte dining. And must make do with the buffet. It’s been a flashpoint of contention for at least one EI passenger whenever I’ve used IAD.

    • ChrisC says:

      It’s the same at JFK.

      IB passengers don’t get access to the BA pre flight dining section of the club lounge either.

      • Tom says:

        Chris., no different from LHR T5. To use the Concorde Room you need to be flying First. If you are in CW then you have to make do with Galleries, or the First Lounge if you have gold status with BA. Only the Concorde Room has proper sit-down dining.

        And Aer Lingus only has a business cabin, and no first, so no pre-flight dining should be expected.

        • ChrisC says:

          I never mentioned the F or CCR lounges

          And LHR T5 club lounge doesn’t have pre flight dining the same way JFK does.

          As I said JFK club lounge has pre flight dining but only for BA club passengers. It’s a separate part of the lounge and access monitored by a staff member.

          And whilst silver will get you into the lounge it won’t get you pre flight dining part. It’s club pax only. For that part of the lounge.

          • Tom says:

            In general pre-flight dining is a perk of flying First with BA. The remodelled BA lounge at SFO is the same – you can only enter that section of the lounge if you are flying First.

            So if Aer Lingus passengers used that lounge (they can’t, as it happens) then they would not get pre-flight dining because the BA CW passengers don’t get it either!

    • Tom says:

      Presumably because BA has passenger in First and EI does not?

    • Catalan says:

      It’s because EI does not have pre-flight dining as part of their business class product whereas BA does for both its First and Club World.

      • Tom says:

        Catalan, can you tell me at which US airports BA CW passengers have proper sit-down pre-flight dining? Because it is not the case at SFO, LAX, SEA and ORD, based on my travels in the last 5 years. Nor is it true at LHR of course.

        Now there might be a special dispensation for JFK as I have not been there in a while. But in general BA CW flyers have to make do with a buffet or QR food service. And Aer Lingus of course has no First.

      • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

        EI does have pre flight dining in their JFK T5 lounge. Only for true J passengers. AerClub elites in Y get directed right to the buffet. J passengers may turn left for the dining room with laid tables.

      • Rhys says:

        FYI pre-flight dining is open to BA Gold and Silver cardholders now: https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/09/20/british-airways-improves-lounge-benefits/

  • Terry says:

    I am at Galleries lounge in Terminal 5B and thr QR codes are still very much working. I used it for a sausage sandwich at breakfast, and from 11:30 you could select Ham Hock Pie, amongst other options.

    I am here practically all day as shockingly there is only ONE flight today to Newcastle!

    • Tom says:

      My record for being in a lounge is 8 hours, at an American Airlines Flagship lounge at Chicago. Which, by the way, is surprisingly good for a US lounge.

      • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

        That’s a great lounge by US standards. Never as manic as New York lounges and especially if you like what the chef’s station is cooking that day.

        • Tom says:

          And the BA lounge at ORD is crap. So if you are flying ORD-LHR on BA, and you have the time, then use the AA Flagship lounge and then take the airside bus to the international terminal for your flight.

          • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

            I would be inclined to agree. ORD T5’s lounges are famously poor. The Swiss lounge is like being in someone’s living room it’s so small; with a toilet just off the single main room so everyone knows how long anyone was in there for.

          • ChrisC says:

            BA departures at ORD will soon be operating from T3 so access to flagship / admirals will be available to BA passengers.

            Don’t have a timeframe for that but will be relatively soon as BA canned their plans to refurb their T5 lounges.

  • Stian says:

    Minor comment, really, but I really like the Lufthansa LHR T2 lounge!

  • TrainDriverSparky says:

    What food is offered during the hours that priority pass members can access the lounge?

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