Review: Completely Renovated American Airlines Admirals Club New York JFK

The renovation of the main American Airlines Admirals Club at New York JFK is complete. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the new Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining at JFK. On this pass through the airport I spent about an hour in the main Admirals Club.

Upon taking the elevator up to the lounge check-in desk, you’re directed left if you have access to the Flagship Lounge and right if you only have access to the Admirals Club. But the new Admirals Club looks great.

There are work cubes similar to the ones in the Flagship lounge.

There’s a TV room.

And beside the TV room is a kids playroom.

The dining area is nice. It would be a great place to sit and work if there were power outlets at the tables, though power in the floor requires expensive core drilling so I’m not surprised they didn’t do that. On the other hand the food in the lounge isn’t substantive enough to really warrant sit down dining and so the space seems oversized for its intended use.

The lounge was provisioned with veggies, hummus, and soup.

And of course there’s the obligatory Snack Tower of Sadness.

There’s a great new coffee machine and a self serve soda dispenser so you don’t have to wait for (or tip) the bartender for a soft drink.

The bar itself is attractive with stools and power ports.

Between the dining tables and bar stools are high top chairs as well.

The lounge has tarmac views along one wall, which it shares with the Flagship lounge.

Tucked into the back corner of the lounge is a gorgeous table and high chair setup with power for working, with a mirror that gives you a view behind you onto airport operations. Clever.

The most crucial thing to know about this lounge is that it’s much less crowded than it used to be —
precisely because the Flagship Lounge is open and so many more people now have access there. Everyone flying international business class, American’s mid-tier elites flying international economy, and oneworld partner mid-tier elites used to all crowd into the Admirals Club. Now they’re granted access to the Flagship Lounge and the Admirals Club is used for a narrower passenger base.

The only complaint I have about the lounge is that densification apparently doesn’t just apply to aircraft, the seating isn’t just close together some of it feels close together and that’s an interior design issue — tall seating meant to give a sense of privacy but with seats facing directly at each other you’re forced to awkwardly gaze into the eyes of fellow passengers you’ve never met.

Well that and while the veggies look great, where’s the fresh guacamole? I had to go to the remote concourse lounge for that (in fact I didn’t change lounges for the guacamole but because a delay posted for my flight 21 minutes prior to departure after I had already left the lounge so I headed for the other lounge closer to my gate).

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, 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. Food leaves a lot to be desired. While the facilities look very nice, the food looks abysmal, even for a domestic lounge.

  2. Food is now the bottleneck. The Amex lounges show how to do food right, and I doubt it costs them that much more money. The soup quality is about the same (AA’s is possibly better), but it’s presented well. Amex gives you a salad bar instead of veggie pickins’, which should cost about the same but a salad feels more like a meal than celery. Amex offers an actual entree with a few vegetable-based sides while AA offers chips n’ dips; this is an area where AA simply can’t compete but if they could match the other areas it would at least narrow the gap.

  3. Unless you are there between long connections do you need more than a snack? Surprised you didn’t mention the Bollinger self serve bar or the cocktail stand.

  4. Why is AA so die-hard committed to those UGLY chair patterns and bright red colors? They have such a good color scheme in the livery… and the Flagship lounge style is so much more modern. Ugh.

    Otherwise, looks very nice!

  5. How many AA lounges are there at JFK right now? Chelsea Lounge, Soho Lounge, Greenwich Lounge, Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge – is that the full count? And if you go 1st class transcon or international, you can get into all of them? Or what is the deal? Or have there been name changes?

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