American’s New First Class Lounge in New York

In February 2016, American Airlines announced massive changes coming to its network of lounges.  Both American’s Admiral’s Clubs and Flagship Lounges would see massive improvements from added amenities to complete overhauls of the decor.  Today, just a handful of American’s lounges have been renovated and upgraded.  Up until a few days ago, it was only select Admiral’s Clubs that had been upgraded and renovated.

However recently, American Airlines re-opened it’s International First Class Lounge (previously known as the Flagship Lounge) at New York-JFK.  On a recent trip cross country, I stopped by the new lounge.  Here’s what the brand new American Airlines International First Class Lounge at New York-JFK looks like.

Location, Access

The lounge is just past security screening.  The location hasn’t actually changed. However, the new lounge does replace the pre-existing Admiral’s Club. Additionally, American’s access policy is the same too.  Only passengers traveling in international first class or transcontinental first class passengers between JFK-LAX/SFO have access.  You can read the full access policy here.

However, beginning in the near future, international business class passengers will also have access to the lounge.

Entrance, First Impressions

I’ve visited both the Admiral’s Club and First Class Lounge in New York-JFK before and immediately, I noticed a major difference.  The International First Class Lounge now takes up a nearly the entire Admiral’s Club space.  However, American has still managed to fit a small, temporary Admiral’s Club adjacent to the much larger First Class Lounge.

There’s still some work to be done on both the Admiral’s Club and First Class Lounge.  The check-in area was one section of the lounge that was still under renovation.  However, already, the check-in desks are much more modern, and the area is more inviting than before.

Another major change involving the First Class Lounge is the fairly long hallway you have to walk down to get to the actual lounge.  The check-in area and hallway leading to the lounge are both still under renovation, however, are a major improvement over the previous lounge.

A Brief Overview

The lounge is phenomenal.  From the moment I entered the massive lounge, I noticed just how bright and cozy the lounge felt.  It’s luxurious, sleek, modern, bright, and inviting.  If you’ve ever visited one of the new or renovated Admiral’s Clubs, you’ll notice the similarities between both the Admiral’s Clubs and the First Class Lounge.

Soft gray, beige, and red colors are used throughout the space adding to the cozy and warm feel of the lounge.  Additionally, modern wood paneling is found throughout the lounge.  Frosted and clear glass accents act as partitions for seating and dining areas.  I noticed how everything flowed.  This flowing nature of the space adds to the comfort and inviting nature of the lounge.  Additionally, everything flows around the focal point of the lounge, the beautiful and elegant dining space.

Gallery: American Airlines New First Class Lounge JFK

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The Dining Room

Though not officially branded as the dining room, that’s essentially what this space is.  The dining room sits at the center of the lounge.  In the center of the dining room stands a fairly large self-serve chilled bar.  Directly above that self-serve bar is a beautiful ensemble of spherical lighting I don’t think I ever expected to see in an American Airlines lounge.

Around the bar is a variety of restaurant style seating.  There’s a long padded booth along one side, some traditional seating, and on the opposite side of the booth, traditional tables and chairs raised on a platform.

Ufnortutnely, tableside dining doesn’t debut until next spring so guests were taking their snacks from the buffet to other parts of the lounge.

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The Quiet Room

One much-welcomed addition to the lounge is a quiet room.  The quiet room features private cubicle style seating as well as lounge chairs and ottomans. The quiet room is designed to be a place in which travelers can unwind and possibly take a brief nap.  Power outlets are found at each seat throughout the quiet room as well.  QI wireless charging was also available.

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New Seating

My favorite part of the new lounge is the unique private cubical seating along the wall in the lounge.  There are six or so,one to two seater cubicles embedded into the wall.  Each cubical futures a power outlet, light, table, and padded booth style seating.  I also noticed that the walls were soundproof which kept the noise made by other lounge goes out.

Other new seating included brand new cubical seating like those featured in the quiet room, full couches near the windows, new tables,  and chairs, and new traditional lounge style seating.  All the lounge furniture blended well together featuring gray, beige, olive, or red fabrics/material.  Power outlets weren’t in short supply either.

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Updated Buffet, Bar

Until tableside dining debuts in the spring, American has rolled out an updated and more premium buffet.  I visited the lounge during the late afternoon and evening.  During my time at the lounge, various snacks and plates were served.  In the afternoon hours, the buffet featured soups, salads, a hearty cheese and meat plate, sweets, and sandwiches.  Beginning around 4:00pm however, lamb chops and other entrees were brought out.

The bar is also much larger than what was found in the old Flagship Lounge.  I was amazed by how much liquor was in the lounge.  Wine, rum, vodka, whiskey, you name it, the First Class Lounge served it.  Additionally, the non-alcoholic beverage selection was also pretty substantial.

All of the plates and snacks I sampled during my visit were fantastic.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the lamb chops and by how often lounge attendants restocked the buffet.

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Shower Suites

Shower suites were also updated.  Additionally, shower suites will no longer be shared by the Admiral’s Club.  The showers are back in the far corner of the lounge partitioned off in a separate hallway.

The shower suites are a little larger than the older showers.  CO Bigelow amenities were also provided as were brand new much softer and luxurious towels.

The showers feature both a retractable sit down showerhead and traditional ceiling showerhead.  The shower suite I visited still smelled of fresh construction materials and was spotless.  The new dark and sleek colors used in the shower suites makes the showers seem cleaner and more premium.

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The new American Airlines First Class Lounge at JFK is fantastic.  From the new entrance to the depths of the lounge, this new innovative space is one of a kind.  It’s inviting, comfortable, and modern.  It’s what I expect from a first class lounge.  Additionally, this space is only set to get even better with the debut of tableside dining in the spring.  However, from the new shower suites to swanky new shower suites, the amenities are truly first class.  I look forward to visiting this space in the spring to get a taste of the brand new tableside dining options.

What do you think of the new International First Class Lounge? Will you be visiting the lounge any time soon?