Over the past weekend, I visited the First Class Chelsea Lounge at New York’s JFK Airport. Since I also visited about a month ago and wrote a comprehensive review, I decided to make a quick “Takeoff Points” posting with highlights from my most recent visit. You can check out my more detailed reviews here from March 2023, and November 2023.

The First Class Chelsea Lounge is a lounge collaboration between American Airlines and British Airways. The lounge opened in December of 2022 and replaced the Flagship First Dining concept for the American & British Airways Concorde Room.

Overall, I had a solid visit, and they definitely improved compared to my last visit. All the dining items that I wanted were available, and the service was very friendly.

Takeoff Point 1: Lunch was great.

On this visit, there was a new menu with dishes that I didn’t see on my visit last month.

First Class Chelsea Lounge December 2023 Menu

December 2023 Menu

I decided to start with a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, have Roasted Salmon for my main, and end with the Autumn “Trifle”.

a plate of food on a table

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

a plate of food on a table

Roasted Salmon

a bowl of ice cream and bread

Autumn “Trifle”

a white cup with foam in it


I found the crab cake quite good, with a perfect balance of the crab-to-stuffing ratio. Additionally, while the Salmon was presented in a way that made it look small and hidden, it was quite a large piece and was cooked well.

But, I didn’t enjoy the Autumn “Trifle”, as the individual elements weren’t cohesive. So, I mainly just enjoyed the vanilla ice cream by itself. On the plus side, the Cappuccino I had with my dessert was quite good.

Overall, I found the appetizer and main course to be of good quality, and they provided a nice meal that I would have at an upscale restaurant outside of an airport.

Takeoff Point 2: Fancy champagne was available.

On this trip, I made sure to ask for the Chelsea Signature Series to see what premium champagnes they offered. My hostess informed me that the Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne was available (which retails for approx. $200 a bottle). I had this particular champagne at the former Flagship First facility. While I didn’t love the taste back then, I decided to give it another try and found it much more enjoyable. Perhaps it paired better with the meal I had this time around.

a glass of champagne next to a glass of water

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne

Takeoff Point 3: Service was stellar.

I got great service in the dining area, and the lounge associate was very friendly and attentive.

Additionally, the lounge agent at the front desk was amazing. I was trying to standby on an earlier flight and the agent who checked me in pre-security seemed to not add me correctly. So, I asked the lounge agent at the front desk to confirm. She took care of everything and made sure I was on the right list. She also found me when I was finishing up my meal to alert me that an extra seat opened up and to see her in 10 minutes for an update. When I got to her, instead of having to go to the gate and check in with the gate agent, she called the gate, processed the standby, and handed me a new boarding pass.

Takeoff Point 4: The lounge was very peaceful.

During my early afternoon visit, the lounge was quite empty, which contributed to a relaxing environment. The restrooms were empty and clean, and there was plenty of space to lounge around without needing to sit next to someone. I would assume the lounge to be more crowded during the night aligned with evening departures, but with the exclusive nature of the lounge, I doubt it ever gets too packed.

And, the Champagne Bar is always a delight to look at.

First Class Chelsea Lounge Champagne Bar

Champagne Bar

Chelsea Lounge

Chelsea Lounge Seating

The Verdict:

Overall, I enjoyed my most recent visit to the First Class Chelsea Lounge by American and British Airways. The lounge provided a solid a la carte dining experience, and the service was excellent. My recommendation is to have a nice meal at the Chelsea Lounge, then head over next door to the Soho Lounge for some natural light.


Have you visited the First Class Chelsea Lounge at New York JFK recently? How was your experience? Comment below!




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