The Chelsea Lounge is a first class lounge collaboration between American Airlines and British Airways. It is the first time AA and BA have worked together to launch a lounge together. The Chelsea Lounge replaces BA’s Concorde Room at Terminal 7, and replaces the Flagship First Dining concept for AA.

There are a total of 3 lounges with this collaboration, the Chelsea Lounge, Soho Lounge and Greenwich Lounge. The Soho Lounge is the new mid-tier lounge (which I reviewed here), and the Greenwich Lounge is the business class lounge that took over the existing American Flagship Lounge space.

TL;DR: Sad to say, I was quite disappointed at the Chelsea Lounge at New York. I think perhaps they are still getting through their opening struggles, so maybe give them a few weeks (or months) to polish up as it was quite a disappointing first class lounge experience.

Location and Details:

The Chelsea lounge is located above Gate 14, just past the security checkpoint at JFK’s Terminal 8. It is open daily from 4:30am to 12:30am. It’s co-located with the Soho Lounge (the “mid-tier” lounge), which I also took a look at. I actually thought the Soho Lounge was more airy with windows (yay!), and they have a sit down dining option too with identical main courses (but less fancy desserts). Plus they have a buffet, so honestly I’d probably recommend you to relax at the Chelsea Lounge, grab your restaurant style dining meal, and pop on over to the Soho Lounge to look outside and watch some planes.

Access the Chelsea Lounge is available for those who are:

an elevator with signs and a sign on the wall

Elevators to Lounge

a christmas tree in a room

Upstairs Lobby

Visiting the Chelsea Lounge:

I entered the Chelsea Lounge after arriving off my American Airlines Flagship First flight from Los Angeles. This was around 9pm on a Tuesday. After you get up to the lobby area, you’ll turn right for the Chelsea Lounge. There was a friendly agent that checked my boarding pass, and off I was into the lounge.

First, you’ll pass a few service desks to help you with any ticketing.

Chelsea Lounge

Then, you’ll get to the beautiful Champagne Bar. I think the decor of the lounge is great, and probably the best part of the lounge.

Chelsea Lounge

Champagne Bar

Then you’ll pass some seating between the Champagne Bar and the dining area for a la carte dining. Since it was dinner time, I was excited to grab a meal and compare it to my (old) Flagship First Dining experience from a few weeks ago.

Chelsea Lounge

Chelsea Lounge Seating

A la carte Dining:

I got to the dining area, and a representative told me to take any seat I liked. It wasn’t too crowded, perhaps only 6-7 people eating in the dining area with me. The other parts of the lounge maybe had 10 people. It made for a very quiet (maybe a bit too quiet) dining experience. I was then given a menu for food, and one for their drink list.

Chelsea Lounge

Chelsea Lounge Dining Area

Chelsea Lounge

Champagne List

Chelsea Lounge

All Day Menu


For my champagne, I wanted to try the premium selection they have here, the Krug (retails $150 per bottle), but when I went to order they said they didn’t have it in stock yet. Okay, how about the Ruinart (retails $90 per bottle) I asked? Also not stocked yet. 🙁 That was sad.

So, the two top shelf options haven’t been stocked yet; hopefully they will have it soon. The lounge associates recommended a much much cheaper sparkling wine that they actually had in stock (the Roederer, retails $25 per bottle) so I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t to my liking, oh well.


As for my meal, for a first class lounge I was expecting a bit more than just 5 main dishes (with 2 of them being burgers). I was debating between the Battered Cod and the Beef Burger, but I opted for the Beef Burger (which I kind of regretted). I also got the Prawn Cocktail as my appetizer, and the Chocolate Praline Dome as my dessert. What is a bit disappointing is that 4 of the 5 main dishes are also served at the less exclusive, Soho Lounge across the hall (which I enjoyed more, and reviewed here). So really the only differentiation is the alcohol.

a bowl of shrimp and salad

Prawn Cocktail

Chelsea Lounge

Beef Burger

Chelsea Lounge

Chocolate Praline Dome

The prawn appetizer came out after my burger ironically, but it was meh. The shrimp itself didn’t taste that great, so the sauce didn’t really help much. As for the burger, while the beef patty was juicy, the “bacon jam” was quite overpowering and kind of ruined the burger for me. On the bright side, I enjoyed the Chocolate Dome, but it was missing the chocolate ice cream?

I definitely had a much better meal at the Flagship First Lounge a few weeks ago. You can check out that review here if you’d like.

Other Seating Areas + Bathrooms/Shower Rooms:

Near the dining area, there is a darker area that I suppose you could take a nap at, and there are some booths you could work a bit more privately in.

Chelsea Lounge

Nap Area

There are 3 shower rooms that you can just pop into if they are available. They are also equipped with the nice Dyson Hairdryers which is a cool touch.

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The bathroom is large, and I liked the decor, but the faucet at the angle splashed a lot and served more style than function lol.

a bathroom with sinks and mirrors

Bathroom Sinks

I also noticed the lounge as a whole was quite stuffy/warm. I’m not sure if I just visited on an off day, but it was a bit uncomfortable temperature wise. And, that probably did not help the fact that this lounge as absolutely no windows which made it even feel more like a dungeon sadly. Having no windows is kind of a big drawback, especially if I was visiting in the morning hours. Not to fret- the SoHo lounge next door does have windows, so you can hop over there to spot some planes!

As perhaps a confirmation of my feelings about the lounge, when I headed out I did overhear another guest saying to the staff “To be honest this is the worst first class lounge I’ve been to.” Personally, I didn’t think my experience was that bad, and I didn’t make any mention to any staff on my feelings, but it was interesting to overhear that I wasn’t the only one disappointed.

The Verdict:

The Chelsea Lounge at New York JFK is supposed to be a top tier premium first class lounge. While the furnishings look ritzy, the current dining experience falls flat when they are missing the signature champagnes, the main courses are weak and it lacks windows. Overall, I had high hopes but am left more disappointed. I think the food at the American Flagship First Dining concept at JFK was much better. Hopefully I get a chance to visit the Chelsea Lounge again and I hope they will improve the experience.


Have you visited the Chelsea Lounge at JFK yet? How was your experience? Comment below!




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