In a nutshell: I’ve been to a number of United Clubs and only a handful of Delta Sky Clubs, but the latter seem to be a notch above the competition. The Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4 is no exception. The lounge offers a large space with a variety of seating and work spaces, good breakfast and lunch food options, a friendly bar, and great views. The only blemish was some seriously bad coffee.
It had been years since I’d passed through New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. The last I recall visiting JFK was when my wife arrived in NYC on our honeymoon back in 2012. While I’ve been to New York since then, all flights passed through Newark. I even flew to Newark for fun last year on the best deal you can find for a premium transcontinental United cabin. But JFK? Untouched.
Which was why it was cool to plan an itinerary through there late last year. It’d also be the first opportunity to try out the Delta Sky Club access offered by my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card. I’ve been primarily flying them for work, and the increased card offer plus the other perks of the card finally seemed worth it to me, even at a cost of $450 (now $550) per year.
Accessing The Delta Sky Club
My arriving flight parked a short distance from the Sky Club. I nearly walked right by it. I pulled out my Delta Reserve card and my boarding pass on my phone at the check-in desk. In order to receive access as a Delta Reserve cardholder, you must be flying a same-day Delta itinerary. Turns out that they only need to scan the boarding pass and not the physical card. All the information the check-in agent needs is contained in it.
If you aren’t a Reserve cardholder, there are still other options for visiting the lounge. American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders have complimentary access when flying a same-day Delta ticket. You can also choose a Sky Club membership as a Choice benefit upon qualifying for Platinum Medallion or Diamond Medallion which will grant you (and possibly companions) access when flying Delta. If you’re flying DeltaOne, a SkyTeam or other partner premium cabin, or are a SkyTeam Elite Plus member flying a qualifying itinerary, you will also have Sky Club access. Finally, if you’re a Delta Platinum American Express cardholder, you can buy access for $39 per person for yourself and up to 2 guests. Delta no longer sells single visit passes.
After entering you head up the escalators to the upper level where the lounge is located. The Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4 is open from 5:00 AM to midnight daily. It is located near Gate 31 in Concourse B.
Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4: General Space
The Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4 is on the larger side for domestic airline lounges with a great variety of seating areas. I also love how much of the lounge is lined by windows with a great amount of natural light. I wandered the lounge for the first several minutes, curious to see all that it has to offer.
The majority of the seating has easily accessible power outlets and often USB outlets. One of my main pet peeves with lounges is when there are barely any seats with power. In this day and age when everyone is working on the go, it is a vital feature. Luckily, the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal has you well covered in this regard.
One of my favorite spots in the lounge is the far corner area with bar-style seating facing the windows. It was quite enjoyable to set up and work here for an hour while enjoying the views of the airport. While I enjoy seeing a great variety of aircraft and airlines at San Francisco International Airport, I was able to spot a couple airlines I don’t see often, including a Kenya Airways 787.
In the other corner of the lounge are individual desk-like areas with partitions. These have nearly as nice of a view but also provide a bit of privacy. I moved over here since there were few people in the area when I had to take a call.
What surprised me most was that there was ongoing construction at the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4, but it was hardly noticeable. There would be some occasional noise, but they had the work areas contained well.
As you can see from the general layout of the lounge, the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4 offers a great variety of seating. I tend to prefer tables and high bar-style seating like the areas near the windows, but there are also plenty of armchairs, dining tables, and even some couches. These individual pod chairs are some of the more interesting I observed.
I always find seats like the ones in the photo below quite odd. They remind me of one of the types you can find at the KAL Lounge LAX, which I’ve never found comfortable. But hey. Variety is the spice of life, and some people may really like these.
The desk areas were one of my favorites. As you can see, they have plenty of power in case you carry a half dozen devices. 😉
Food and Beverage
One thing I appreciated about the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4 is that they had much better breakfast options than any United Club I’ve ever visited. Admittedly, I’ve only been to a half dozen United Club locations, but the quality and variety of food seems head and shoulders above what they offer.
There were multiple hot options, including a potato-quinoa hash, a vegetable frittata, sausage tortillas, oatmeal and grits (I think..it may have been farina).
There was also a nice selection of pastries and donuts, as well as bread and a toaster.
My only gripe about the food was the horribly bitter coffee. Delta serves Starbucks, and what they had was downright awful and basically undrinkable. This included what was offered in the carafe and also the cup I made from a machine. I do like a cup of quality coffee, but I’m also willing to bear with a run-of-the-mill brew. This wasn’t even that.
At least the coffee machine area is very presentable? There is also a nice tea selection.
The main dining area has a variety of seating as well and is located near the bar and kitchen. I sat here for a little while to enjoy breakfast.
It was only about 9:00 AM, but the bar was already open. I believe NYC law allows alcohol to be served between 8:00 AM and 4:00 AM the following morning, with only a 4-hour window where places have to close.
There was a sign at the bar advertising a berry bellini. I thought that sounded swell and decided to give it a try.
Overall, I was quite happy with the variety of food and beverage options at the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4. Compared to other clubs operated by any of the U.S. “Big 3” carriers, I’ve now found the Delta Sky Clubs at SFO and here at JFK to be among the best. The brand new one in New Orleans is small, but also excellent. It might be the most stylish Sky Club I’ve seen.
As with any large lounge, there are staff available to help you with flight changes and any other needs while in the lounge. I’ve never needed assistance flying with Delta, but I have to say that the United Club agents have been far more helpful that the agents out at the terminal help desk both times I needed assistance. Plus, look how festive it was before Christmas!
The Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4 offers printing service if you need. The printer is located near the desk areas in the quiet corner of the lounge, sorta facing the SkyDeck.
Speaking of the SkyDeck, it was unfortunately closed while I was there. With cold temperatures and a small amount of snow, it’s not the most inviting place in December. But I still would have loved to step outside for a little while.
The views of the airport and runway are probably the best feature of the lounge. I loved watching planes come and go.
This is my favorite shot of the morning. Captured the Emirates A380 arriving with the El Al 787 in the background.
Finally, if you’re a newspaper reader, the Sky Club has copies of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal available.
I did poke my head into one of the shower stalls. If you want to reserve one, you need to check in with the agent at the desk. There are several at the Terminal 4 Sky Club, and there didn’t seem to be a wait that morning from how un-busy they seemed. I told the agent I’d literally be in it for 1 minute, which seemed to confuse her.
There is a bench next to the door where you can set your luggage.
The rest of the stall contains a toilet, sink, and shower. All the amenities are MALIN+GOETZ, and the staff have some other essentials on had if you’ve forgotten toiletry items.
The normal bathroom is in the same style with red and white tiles. The lounge staff kept the facilities very clean.
The Verdict: Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4
On the whole, I spent an enjoyable few hours at the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4. It’s one of the nicest domestic lounges I’ve ever visited. With thoughtful design, an excellent variety of seating, good food and beverage options (except for the coffee), and wonderful views, I sincerely hope my travel plans will take me through John F. Kennedy International Airport sometime again in the near future. I’d happily spent some more hours enjoying this lounge.
Have you visited the Delta Sky Club JFK Terminal 4? How do you think it compares to other domestic lounges, Delta or otherwise?