Review: Emirates Lounge JFK
In January I booked a trip for 2 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by using only miles and a very small amount of cash ($37-ish per person each direction). One of my travel goals for the year was to fly Etihad First Class. Read about my other goals here: http://themileaddict.com/2016/01/04/my-2016-travel-goals/. Of course, after booking my Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi to JFK, I needed a way to get to the UAE…so I figured out a way to book a First Class trip from New York to Dubai on Emirates. I detail how I did both below:
Unfortunately, in March, Alaskan Airlines conducted a NO-NOTICE devaluation of their partner award chart, so now it costs 150,000 miles (instead of 90,000 when I booked) to fly first class one-way on Emirates. Similarly, American Airlines had a scheduled devaluation of their award chart in May, so now it will cost you 115,000 miles (instead of 90,000) to fly one-way on Etihad first class.
Join me as I discuss and review the first leg of the trip–the Emirates lounge at JFK.
The Emirates Lounge at JFK
The Emirates lounge is located in Terminal 4, above gate A5. After passing through TSA security, I made my way towards the lounge, anxious to get some lunch and a cold drink. The lounge is located above the Emirates departure gate, and patrons can either use a set of stairs or a well-used industrial style elevator to reach the second floor.
The lounge is well-marked and easy to find. The entrance is simple and a bit underwhelming.
Once inside, I was greeted by a woman at the reception area who scanned my ticket and welcomed me to the lounge. Behind the desk was a model of the Emirates A380 and a huge bouquet of fresh flowers was a nice touch.
Immediately past the reception area was a hallway leading towards the lounge. The hallway had a few chairs, and several different reading options. At the end of the hallway there is a large rock decoration.
In the hallway, there was a nice set of world time clocks and an interesting sculpture of horses.
The hallway opened up into a very spacious lounge. This lounge is reserved for Emirates First Class, Business Class, and Emirates Gold and Platinum members traveling on an Emirates flight. There are 4 daily Emirates flights from JFK. 3 of these flights are direct to Dubai, while the 10:20pm flight stops in Milan, Italy before continuing to Dubai. Since the lounge is only catering to passengers on a small number of flights, there appears to be plenty of room in the lounge.
Even as the lounge filled up closer to the 4:30pm departure time, there were still plenty of seats, although the noise level in the lounge had definitely increased.
There were 2 self-service bars in the lounge, one towards the back which had liquor, wine, champagne, and beer. Then another one in the front next to the food with only wine, beer, and champagne.
The bar included a very nice selection including Glenfiddich, Johnnie Walker Black, and Jack Daniels.
Wine and Champagne selections included Veuve Clicquot, some chilled whites, a Spanish Red and a Cabernet.
I had not eaten much before I arrived at the lounge, so I wanted something light to eat–I didn’t want to eat too much prior to boarding the flight. Had to make sure to save some room for caviar!
I ended up trying some shrimp cocktail, indian paneer curry, and some mixed veggies with basmati rice and a bowl of hummus with veggies.
Overall the food selection was decent, looked fresh, and tasted good.
Other choices included steak & mushroom pie, leg of lamb, crab cakes, mashed potatoes, cheeses, salads, and a roasted chicken dish.
In the center of the food service area was an enclosed case that displayed several of the cold options that were stored in the under counter refrigerators including cheeses, hummus, juices, desserts, etc.
One of the coolest things about sitting in the lounge right above the departure gate was watching our A380 arrive from Dubai, get serviced, catered, and loaded with bags. It was quite an impressive operation to turn such a large aircraft in about 1.5 hours. Watching the A380 taxi was pretty cool too–it absolutely dwarfed the other aircraft on the ramp!
Finally, it was time to board, and boarding was right from the lounge as well. The lounge jetway led directly to the top floor of the A380. First class passengers took a left and were shown to there seats by the friendly crew, while business class passengers turned right and found their seats.
This was certainly one of the nicest airline lounges that I have visited in a US domestic airport. Lots of space, good tasty food selection, plenty of drink options, and the most convenient boarding process. The internet was also fast and easy to access with passwords provided at each table throughout the lounge.
Although the Emirates lounge in Dubai is probably a bit nicer (from what I hear), I think they did an excellent job getting passengers in the mood to enjoy the almost 13 hour flight from New York.
Certainly a memorable experience, but not nearly as memorable as the flight itself. Stay tuned for my review of Emirates A380 First Class!
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