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British Airways and American Airlines unveil new home at New York JFK

29 Nov 2022 by Tom Otley
AA and BA Chelsea Lounge New York JFK

British Airways and American Airlines have unveiled their new home at Terminal 8 at JFK New York.

There are two new lounges  – Chelsea and Soho – which have been designed by Gensler, and which have Sodexo Magic providing the food and drink.

Click the link below to have a tour and listen to the comments of some of those responsible for these new lounges.

In the video, first up is a tour of the Soho lounge, and then the Chelsea lounge.

AA BA Greenwich Lounge JFK

The Greenwich Lounge (pictured above) is for business class passengers and is the rebranded Flagship Lounge.

The Soho lounge is for BA Executive Club Gold and AAdvantage Executive Platinum and AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Conciergekey.

The Chelsea lounge is for British Airways First class passengers and American Airlines Flagship First and Business Plus passengers and Conciergekey. It is also available for Gold Guest List members.

The graphic below describes the access in more detail.

BA and AA Terminal 8 Lounges

Operational improvements in Terminal 8 include five new widebody gates, four new widebody parking positions, and an expanded and upgraded baggage handling system that will together support additional transatlantic flights. The terminal has also been expanded with approximately 130,000 square feet of additional and refurbished space.

Oneworld alliance carriers Iberia will move into Terminal 8 on December 1, and Japan Airlines expects to move its operations to Terminal 8 in May 2023.

Soho Lounge

This lounge is for Gold card members (and others – see above).

It’s a large and attractive room, helped by the natural light.

On entering there are some low chairs and a bar, and then to the right is the main dining area and the buffet food stations. You can also order food using the QR codes.

AA and BA Soho Lounge, JFK New York

There is also a wine dispenser, though with slightly less expensive wines than the one in the Chelsea Lounge (see picture, below).

Wine-dispenser-Soho-Lounge

You can see the apron and one of the gates from here.

Soho lounge-view

Towards the back of the room there is another quieter area with another long table.

Seating-area-Soho

We were told that the room will change from day to night in terms of atmosphere, and I can believe it with some very attractive lighting including a glass display above the main dining area from a Czech Republic glass specialist, and the floor to ceiling windows along one side of the whole lounge.

Soho-Lounge-dining-area

There are also some work booths looking out onto the apron at the far end – I didn’t get a photo of those but I have them on the video I will be posting.

By this time next year the lounge will be used by American Airlines and British Airways. My understanding is that Iberia and JAL won’t be allowed to use the Chelsea lounge and so the top tier flyers with these airlines will be in this one, which might make it quite crowded at times, though I imagine the flight times will be spread out throughout the day.

Soho-Lounge

Chelsea Lounge

This is the lounge for those flying First and Gold Guest List. It is a replacement for the Concorde Room, though no one is putting it that way.

The space is modern, stylish and elegant, and to cut to the chase, they are serving Krug, Moet et Chandon Nectar Imperial and a rose (Paul Laurent).

Chelsea-Lounge BA JFK entrance

The entrance is to the right as you exit the elevators. There is a desk where your credentials will be checked, and then you can walk straight through to the circular bar.

Champagne-bar

The glass chandelier above the bar is by the same Czech glass design house. It is a poured glass ceiling feature consisting of 150 suspended glass leaves sourced from the Czech Republic created from molds from botanic samples. On the back wall there is ‘living wallpaper’ – otherwise known as video screens which move and create quite an effect.

This sort of design effect is necessary because the lounge has no natural light. Depending on the time of day (or night), this might not bother you, but if it does, I suppose you could always have something to eat and drink here and then wander through reception and go into the Soho Lounge.

Chelsea-sitting-area-missing-fireplace

The main area of the Chelsea Lounge looks pretty dull here, but what is missing is a central fireplace which will hang from the ceiling – I can’t really imagine what this will look like, but it will certainly add a centrepiece to the room.

While I am trying to think what that will look like, here are some menus – they open as pdfs.

Breakfast 

All Day

Tea menu

Cocktail menu

The cocktail list was created by Richard Boccato.

The menus were created with Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka restaurant in New York.

Chelsea-dining-area-1

Then there is the dining area. Beyond this on the right are some work booths and also a quiet area, while on the left are the restrooms (toilets) and showers.

ba.com

Wine-dispenser-Chelsea
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