British Airways and American Airlines unveil new Terminal 8 lounges at New York’s JFK Airport


Last week, American Airlines and its Oneworld Alliance partner, British Airways welcomed passengers into the newly renovated Terminal 8 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

One highlight of the new facility are the lounges on offer to premium passengers and those with Elite status.  So far, these have received glowing reviews from the media and frequent flier websites.

All images from British Airways

The refurbished Terminal 8 investment marks the completion of the first phase of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s redevelopment of the airport.  This is part of the JFK Vision Plan designed to transform the international airport into a world-class global hub. 

Commenting on the new Terminal 8 development, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said:

“The completion of Terminal 8 is the latest milestone in our historic efforts to build a whole new JFK worthy of New York.”

“I congratulate American Airlines, British Airways and the Port Authority for the first of what will be many milestones to come. We will continue our close partnerships as we transform JFK into a magnificent global gateway that will help to keep New York at the center of the world stage.”

Operational enhancements of 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.

Premium customers traveling on both airlines are able to enjoy an elevated travel journey.

Upon arrival at JFK, premium customers are now greeted at the brand new co-branded premium check-in area providing personalized, concierge-style service. 

Once through security, three distinctive custom lounges have been designed to combine the best of the British Airways and American Airlines brands.

These are the Chelsea, Soho and Greenwich lounges.  Access to each depends on class of travel and status. 

Chelsea is for the highest tier and those traveling first class, Soho is accessible to Oneworld Emerald members while you can gain access to the Greenwich lounge if traveling business class / Club World or with Oneworld Sapphire status.

Since opening, the reviews of these lounges have been almost uniformly positive, with British Airways and American Airlines being praised for the excellent experience on offer to premium passengers.

The Points Guy for example published a preview of the lounges prior to their opening.

Commenting on the Chelsea Lounge he said that the bar “is one of the snazziest I’ve ever seen in an airport lounge.”  Meanwhile he called the Soho lounge “one of the most stylish and beautifully designed spaces at the airport.”

Luxury travel blogger Michelle Robson wrote a piece for Forbes, praising the Soho lounge for  its “floor-to-ceiling windows” affording “fantastic views of the aircraft, which are parked right outside. There is a large bar area with seating as well as a separate dining room with a stunning glass centerpiece chandelier that appears like leaves falling or tiny clouds.”

Meanwhile, Head for Points concluded that “taken together, the new British Airways and American Airlines lounges at Terminal 8 have got to be with the best, if not the best lounges at New York’s JFK Airport.”

Architecture firm Gensler designed both the premium check-in area and the lounges.  Sodexo Magic has been brought on board to deliver food and drinks to lounge customers.

British Airways and American are being joined by Iberia in Terminal 8, while Japan Airlines expects to move its operations there in May 2023.