I reviewed the American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK shortly after it opened in 2017. And I recently reviewed the incredible Flagship First Dining inside the Flagship lounge there. But it’s the business class Flagship lounge that more customers will have access to, and I hadn’t been since before the pandemic. An update is in order.
Finding The American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK
Once you pass through the security checkpoint in New York JFK’s terminal 8, veer to the left and walk forward to the elevator. That’s how you go up a floor to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK. This space also used to house the main Admirals Club in the terminal, but that space was converted to expand Flagship. Now there’s only one Admirals Club, on the midfield concourse.
Currently the lounge is open 4 a.m. – 11:15 p.m. but that will be extended come June with the launch of the airline’s Doha flight which leaves after midnight.
When you enter the lounge there’s a set of check-in desks where you’ll show your credentials (usually boarding pass) for access to the lounge. Then you can turn either right or left – left is where most of the food is, right is quieter space.
When I entered the hallway to the left there was an unstaffed champagne display. I walked past it into the lounge.
The Main Lounge
The lounge is large with plenty of seating – it was busy but not crowded when I visited at around 5 p.m. (though likely gets even busier as some of the later international flights approach).
I do find the overhead lighting to be too bright and institutional, but other design elements offset this far better than they do in redesigned Admirals Clubs.
You’re going to find numerous seating zones for work and relaxation, whether it’s views of the tarmac, stools with power ports, work booths, or comfortable chairs.
You’ll also find a large enclosed ‘quiet area’ which didn’t have very many people at all in it, even when the rest of the lounge was fairly busy.
This is the most attractive area from a design perspective, and also in some ways the most functional, and it what gets photographed most:
And of course the lounge has showers on offer, even more valuable now that it’s open to eligible passengers on arrival and not just departure.
Food and Beverage
The key to the value proposition of this lounge is the buffet. They’re no longer offering a limited menu to order off of, like they did when the lounge first opened (‘Bridge Dining’), but the self-serve options are extensive and high quality.
The food was attractively presented, and dishes are refilled constantly. It looked genuinely good – this isn’t your Admirals Club Snack Tower of Sadness, and it wasn’t Golden Corral. These are quality dishes that make a meal with plenty of variety and choice.
There’s even a selection of desserts that looked delicious.
Beyond the food there’s also a nice and extensive self-service bar as well as refrigerators with beer and soft drinks (plus the requisite soda and coffee machines).
In addition to finding drinks in the main kitchen area there’s also drinks offered elsewhere in the lounge for convenience.
Finally, in the middle of the lounge and just beyond the buffet is the lounge’s centerpiece, the wine and champagne bar:
The ‘Quiet Space’ No One Uses Inside The American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK
Instead of walking left into the Flagship lounge, where the buffet is located, consider turning to your right. That’s where the old ‘Bridge Dining’ space inside the lounge used to be (where Flagship lounge guests could order off of a menu) and also where the Admirals Club on the main concourse was located.
The Flagship lounge was expanded into the old Admirals Club space, leaving the club on the midfield concourse as the only space at JFK for Admirals Club members.
Very few people use this rather large space. It has its own bar and snack area, though it isn’t catered as extensively as the main lounge. Visit the main area for food, or even bring the food back with you into this quiet area of the lounge.
Accessing Flagship Lounges
American Airlines Flagship lounges are generally a little bit less impressive than United Polaris lounges, but many more customers have access. Entrance isn’t restricted just to same day business class passengers. Mid-tier elites flying international coach can use them, and mid-tier oneworld partner elites can even use them when traveling domestically. The broad access to an elevated lounges makes me a span.
Specifically access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK and other Flagship lounges is available to:
- Business and first class passengers flying on a oneworld airline to Asia; Australia or New Zealand; Europe; South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela) as well as business and first class passengers flying premium transcon routes (New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco and certain Miami and Boston – Los Angeles flights as well as New York JFK – Orange County).
- Business class passengers on long haul Hawaii flights
- American Platinum members and above and Alaska MVP Gold members and above who are flying to one of these eligible destinations on a oneworld airline.
- oneworld sapphire and emerald members in programs other than American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan who are flying on any oneworld flight (including American and Alaska domestic flights)
- ConciergeKey members flying on a oneworld airline, including American and Alaska domestic
Access was recently expanded to include not just prior to departure of a qualifying flight, or a departure connecting to a qualifying flight, but also after arrival of a qualifying flight. Treating it as an arrivals lounge can be great for after a redeye from the West Coast landing in New York. And now oneworld sapphire members flying domestically to cities with Flagship lounges can have a meal on arrival.