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LOUNGES: British Airways & American Airlines to build 3 new lounges at JFK, New York

LOUNGES: British Airways & American Airlines to build 3 new lounges at JFK, New York

Terminal 8 at JFK is the home of American Airlines, and, by the end of 2022, also the home of British Airlines, currently at Terminal 7. It’s also where you check-in for Qantas flights, and presumably will be the home for Sunrise Project direct flights to New York starting around 2023.

British Airways on the move

BA will give up its Concord Room at T7 before the end of this year, and move to Terminal 8, which it will share with its OneWorld partner, American Airlines, and both airlines will share lounge facilities. We don’t have an exact date for the change, but it will occur in 2022 before December.

I will spare you some of the treakly language of the press release. But just so you know, here is a taste:

Once through security, three distinctive custom lounges combining the best of both brands will provide a refined, welcoming preflight experience for select guests based on cabin of travel and loyalty program status. The expanded premium lounge offerings will incorporate seating for approximately 1,000 of American and British Airways’ most loyal customers.  Each lounge has been designed with original high-end finishes — evoking a unique sense of space while elevating the experience and service offered to every guest.

Feel sufficiently ‘elevated’ now?

Champagne Bar at the new ‘concord lounge’ at T8

New Lounges x 3

You read right. There will be 3 new lounges, the most exclusive will have a champagne bar and fireside lounge with a la carte dining based on the established American Flagship First Dining. This lounge promises a ‘fully immersive experience’ according to the release, which probably just means you can see into the kitchen.

There will be a Premium Lounge with airside views, wine bar, cocktail lounge, library and a buffet. The third lounge will see the current Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge combined as a business class lounge. The lounges in combination will have space to cater for around a 1,000 passengers.

Who can get in to which lounge?

The current information does not spell this out, but here is the breakdown expected for these lounges:

  • BA / AA ‘Concord Lounge’ – for First class ticket holders, and invitation only type members like AA’s Concierge Key, BA Executive Club Premier and Qantas Chairman’s Lounge. Maybe Qantas Platinum One’s migh get a go
  • Premium Lounge – this will be for One World Emerald status passengers, or Qantas Platinums
  • Flagship / Admirals Club – will be the business lounge – so business class passengers, OneWorld Saphire and equivalents

American Airlines is planning to retain its Admirals Club in T7 Concourse C, and this will effectively become the lounge for Qantas Club members.

Dividing to tier frequent flyers and those who forked out the money for First Class is an increasing trend. T5 at Heathrow already has that for BA passengers, with the Concord Room reserved for actual first class passengere, and another for OneWorld Emerald and equivalents. At Doha, Qatar Airways does the same thing too with the Al Safwa first lounge, and the Al Mourjan lounge for the rest.

Premium Lounge

Premium Check In

BA / AA are promising 2 new premium checkin areas in T8, a concierge like facility for First Class passnegers and high status Frequent Flyers – think Qantas Platinum / OneWorld Emerald, and the other for Business Class passenger and mid-range premium flyers, think Qantas Gold and OneWorld Saphire.

T8 US$400 million makeover

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

So they have under a year to sort this out and complete the refurb, presuming the BA move doesn’t get delayed from its 1 December deadline. That’s possible, but my bet is it will ge staged, and may well extend beyond that 1 December date.

I’m hesitant at the moment to travel to or in the pandemic ridden USA, but by the end of the year, maybe my view and the nature of the plague might have changed. Lets hope so, and for the better.

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