Emirates Closed Their New York JFK Lounge for Several Months, Handing Out Food Vouchers

Emirates has closed its lounge at New York JFK for renovations and won’t re-open until “early 2018” though in my experience most airport construction projects delay. In the meantime anyone who would have received lounge access gets a voucher to use for food in the terminal. I haven’t seen reports yet on how much the voucher is for.

Emirates Airbus A380

Reader Steve S. shared an email with me that he received from Emirates in advance of a flight he’s taking from New York JFK to Dubai.

We’d like to let you know that we are refurbishing and upgrading our lounge in New York John F. Kennedy Airport, so that you can relax in a more inspiring space before you fly.

The lounge will be closed until early 2018 while we make these improvements. Customers who are eligible for lounge access will receive meal vouchers* that can be used in any restaurant or café across Terminal 4.

We apologise for any inconvenience while the lounge is being enhanced, and look forward to welcoming you there again soon.

Kind regards,

The Emirates Skywards team

Wandering Aramean points out that the current Emirates lounges offers boarding straight onto the upper deck of the aircraft. Boarding instead from the gate means “business class passengers are likely to walk up the forward “grand” staircase and through first to get to business class.”

Anyone with a Priority Pass card can access the Wingtips Lounge in the terminal. Honestly I’d rather have the voucher and use a restaurant, certainly the food in Wingtips isn’t appealing. I haven’t been there in some time but the internet at least used to be spotty and the place really filled up. (Update: The wingtips lounge may still be under renovation with limited capacity and turning away Priority Pass guests.)

Gate area seating in terminal 4 is nice enough but add Emirates A380 premium passengers and their gate is going to be packed.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. ive flown emirates a couple of times roundtrip to jfk-mxp.

    the food was slightly nicer than some other lounges, but only slightly.

    but, mostly, i want a lounge as a refuge from wandering round a chaotic terminal endlessly looking for a seat, and as an easy place to charge my gear and have reliable internet…
    … restaurant vouchers don’t address any of those requirements

  2. Fortunately, Terminal 4 at JFK Airport actually has some decent dining options, especially Shake Shack (whose breakfast was tried, and liked very much by myself and two others last month)!!!

    However, most of the good stuff is on the Delta, or “B” side of the terminal, with the Emirates, or the “A” pier, decidedly LESS exciting and more like the mediocre fare found at Terminals 1 (Air France, Japan Air Lines, Korean Air, Lufthansa); 7 (British Airways) and of course, 8 (American) which apart from the new Flagship dining, remains a culinary desert for most passengers.

  3. Wingtips was pretty crappy when I was there in Feb. It was quite crowded and food was passable at best. Agree that a (decent) voucher for in-terminal food would be a better option.

  4. Wingtips is not a great lounge; but it’s significantly better than sitting in the terminal. If you gave me a F&B voucher of reasonable size, I’m sure I’d go there before going to Wingtips.

    The Delta lounge at Terminal 4 is pretty darn impressive, though, especially for a USA lounge. I guess it wouldn’t be very close to the Emirates gates, though, and I suspect those 2 airlines would have a hard time working out a deal on lounge access. 🙂

  5. Wow, Emirates is in rough shape these days? Closing a lounge for half a year and the most you get are some vouchers for food? No temporary lounge access with another airline? No cordoned off area for premium passengers?

  6. I understand it is a $40 voucher, and from some reports I’ve read, boarding is now via a bus onto the tarmac.

    Not offering alternate lounge access an insult to premium customers. Food is only one thing people use a lounge for – extra space, peace and quiet, showers, business facilities, easier boarding (especially at JFK). None of those are going to get replaced by a food voucher, regardless of how good Shake Shack is.

    And the value offered just for food and drinks is appalling. $40 is not going to get you much in a terminal restaurant, especially if want something of similar quality to that which is on offer in the lounge – it’s certainly not going to get you many glasses of Veuve Cliquot which you could happily help yourself to otherwise!

    Refurbing the lounge is a good thing, and it has to happen at some point, but their alternate offering as compensation is a joke. I understand the problems with agreeing access to the Delta and Virgin lounges, and El Al is probably a no go for other reasons, but that still leaves Air India and Swiss, as well as Wingtips. Suck it up EK and do a deal with one of those and stop treating your premium customers so shabbily.

  7. Emirates bus ride to tarmac is horrific and too much for A380 load capacity. And no JFK lounge is a super disappointment. (Wingtips was closed to Priority Pass/credit card holders bc it was over capacity). I flew EK (JFK-MXP) about a week ago. No advanced notice Email was sent. $40 coupon doesn’t cover a salad and drink @most JFK restaurants. #emiratesnotjfk

  8. Shocking experience as the supervisor John someone tells me that it is unfortunate that I did not receive the email but as a seasoned traveller I should have checked the web before leaving for the airport. That wa outright rude and unbecoming if the EK service and courtesy I’ve been enjoying for over 7 years. Frustrating to be at the gates almost 3.5 hrs aheadbof achedule and add insult to injury the flight was delayed by over 45 minutes! So much for premium passenger treatment by EK…I guess it’s goodbye EK and hello other airlines who r willing to treat their passengers with courtesy!

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