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British Airways and American Airlines Chelsea Lounge - JFK Terminal 8

Old Jan 5, 2024, 11:41 am
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British Airways and American Airlines Chelsea Lounge - JFK Terminal 8

Old Dec 5, 2022, 1:01 pm
  #151  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: West Sussex
Programs: BA Gold, VS Gold
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Originally Posted by HFHFFlyer
I lasted twenty minutes in here. No privacy, no natural light, rubbish acoustics, half the drinks and food advertised were missing and chaotic service. A total waste of time and money,
Got it.
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Old Dec 5, 2022, 5:30 pm
  #152  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Originally Posted by lost_in_translation
Itís incredible just how much the interior designers have managed to make the sofa / soft seating area look like a mediocre hotel lobby rather than anything remotely cosyÖ
In fairness to the desigmers, I expect they were constrained by their brief. All the materials (tile flooring, leather (pleather?) uphostelry etc) are easy to clean and have a longer shelf life, but come at the expense of something that feels more luxurious. These materials don't absorb noise well either, contributing to a level of ambient noise that weighs against any feeling of exclusivity. The pale pink/beige colour scheme is underwhelming if not insipid.

I expect it will improve, but a lot of moans this evening.
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Old Dec 5, 2022, 8:14 pm
  #153  
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I was hoping to come here with some good news of things falling into place after 5 days, but to be honest, the good news is few and far between.

Positivre:

- The check in experience was great. No wait, and the person checking me in was fantastic, escorting me all the way (ie not just to the place where BP is scanned but to cut the queue, through security, and again all the way to the lounge. He was wonderful.

I don't have Pre-check/Global Entry but for people who do, I'm afraid it was closed though so I don't think they would be very happy

- The beetroot starter is nice

- The marble bar is very pretty (full disclosure, I love marble)... though rather impractical because when there is only one bar tender he doesn't seem to see what's happening on one side when he is on the other. I had to wait several minutes before he saw me for a sparkling water top up. Other customers had the same issue

- The staff are really trying to be nice, and it was great to recognise some faces from T7 and the CCR both at check in and in the lounge.

Negatives:

Well, everything else pretty much:

- Not only is the menu the replacement rubbish menu with burgers etc, but they have even run out of things on that menu too! -- not least of buns so burgers were made on normal bread. When they told me, I was going to change my order (though not much else) so the nice lady was able to find me a lobster roll bread (not sure why since they don't do lobster roll!) which I found a bit nicer

- No Krug, no Jacquesson, and I got one remaining bit of Ruinart but that was about a quarter glass. By the way, the cocktail menu has melted just as the Champagne menu has

- Staff are not happy. At aall.

- Apart from the beetroot, the rest of the food was really poor. Even the sparkling water is in cans.

- Internet is not working most of the time. Just incredible.

- Toilets are actually really dirty, and there aren't enough of them either

- Total chaos. I mean really total, and that's with the lounge less than 20% full. Only two people to serve and a couple of "people in suits" not doing much, orders mixed up or forgotten, Again, as everyone has said, none of us thinks it's the staff's fault but it is, honestly, shambolic, and the sort of organisation you would expect in a minor country airport airport-run lounge, not in an airline's hub one, let alone a flagship first class lounge of two major airlines.

[removed staff names to avoid causing trouble for anyone]

Last edited by orbitmic; Dec 6, 2022 at 7:02 am
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Old Dec 5, 2022, 10:20 pm
  #154  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by danmushman
Sounds like they've got the representation of London's Chelsea exactly right (for area and football team)
Hey! I resemble that remark
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Old Dec 5, 2022, 10:49 pm
  #155  
 
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Originally Posted by orbitmic
I was hoping to come here with some good news of things falling into place after 5 days, but to be honest, the good news is few and far between.

Positivre:

- The check in experience was great. No wait, and the person checking me in was fantastic, escorting me all the way (ie not just to the place where BP is scanned but to cut the queue, through security, and again all the way to the lounge. He was wonderful.

I don't have Pre-check/Global Entry but for people who do, I'm afraid it was closed though so I don't think they would be very happy

- The beetroot starter is nice

- The staff are really trying to be nice, and it was great to recognise some faces from T7 and the CCR both at check in and in the lounge.

Negatives:

Well, everything else pretty much:

- Not only is the menu the replacement rubbish menu with burgers etc, but they have even run out of things on that menu too! -- not least of buns so burgers were made on normal bread. When they told me, I was going to change my order (though not much else) so the nice lady was able to find me a lobster roll bread (not sure why since they don't do lobster roll!) which I found a bit nicer

- No Krug, no Jacquesson, and I got one remaining bit of Ruinart but that was about a quarter glass. By the way, the cocktail menu has melted just as the Champagne menu has

- Staff are not happy. At aall.

- Apart from the beetroot, the rest of the food was really poor. Even the sparkling water is in cans.

- Internet is not working most of the time. Just incredible.

- Toilets are actually really dirty, and there aren't enough of them either

- Total chaos. I mean really total, and that's with the lounge less than 20% full. Only two people to serve and a couple of "people in suits" not doing much, orders mixed up or forgotten, Again, as everyone has said, none of us thinks it's the staff's fault but it is, honestly, shambolic, and the sort of organisation you would expect in a minor country airport airport-run lounge, not in an airline's hub one, let alone a flagship first class lounge of two major airlines.

[removed staff names to avoid causing trouble for anyone]
Thatís really a bit depressing to be honest. Some things, like the WiFi and the food supply, are pretty basic.

If you are drowning your sorrows in the CCR later let me know!
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 3:02 am
  #156  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Oh dear. doesn't sound good for AA/BA top lounge.

I do hope the champagne (Krug) situation is fixed for next Tuesday!
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 4:52 am
  #157  
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Originally Posted by Football Fan
There's a group of BA folks in the lounge now who came over from London to have a look at the lounge. Very friendly. Like a tourist group. Had a quick chat with one of them. He said they cannot promise to always have Krug, but they will always have "some Premium champagne". Apparently really difficult to source enough Krug in the state of New York!
Then perhaps promoting it as an in-house champagne was a silly thing to do?
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 7:06 am
  #158  
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Originally Posted by crazy8534

If you are drowning your sorrows in the CCR later let me know!
Later this week but not today!

I don't know if any of you remember how, in the CCR, people would usually stay as late as possible to enjoy? Well, I should say that one of the things that shocked me yesterday was that by the time I left which was well before the last flight of the day boarded, every other passenger had left too. Some I heard wanted to go to Soho others just to wander in the terminal. That to me speaks volume about the current failure. A successful lounge is one where passengers enjoy statying and want to stay.

Sadly, before that, my worst fear about several people having loud/speaker phone conversations as is usual in many AA lounges and much rarer in my expereince in the CCR was verified and noone told them anything (and I had other things to do than play amateur rule maker). It was annoying when it lasted though thankfully they all left with the two AA flights that boarded.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that two different staff members who recognised me discretely asked me to write and complain about the situation. I heard one of them asking the same of another person who must have been a CCR regular. I also recognised one of the FFD regular staff who didn't tell me anything (I am less frequent there) but looked overwhelmed too. They were angry about both the staffing (the two people there when I was were really struggling to manage on their own) and the food and drinks shortages which they see as chronic (the bartender - who was not one of the people asking me to complain but seemed unhappy too told me that they get so little Krug that when they get a shipment, it basically disappears within an hour or so and then there isn't any for several days after that).

So in case anyone worries about putting the staff in a tricky situation if they complain you should know that from what they told me this is what they actually want us to do as they seem to blame staffing, purchases, and management/organisation on the bad state of things and it affects them arguably even more than it affects us. I mean don't take me wrong, as a passengers, this was a rubbish experience - I had bad food with almost no choice, didn't get the drinks I wanted, and got stressful service. But that was one visit and a disappointment in part due to high expectations and habit. For them, it is their every day life, and if they keep facing overwork, ridiculous shifts, lack of supplies preventing them from doing their job and scores of unhappy customers who won't all be as reasonable as you and I (a proportion will undoubtedly take it on staff even though they shouldn't), it will soon be unbearable for them to work there.

Last edited by orbitmic; Dec 6, 2022 at 7:14 am
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 10:59 am
  #159  
 
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For me, it would all be fixed by just buying a ton more Krug
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 11:03 am
  #160  
 
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Perhaps the only way to accelerate the neccessary changes is to post real life experiences on all of those travel blogger sites that raved about the new lounges when they visited pre-opening. Better if those actual reviewers. especially from HFP or TPG made a 2nd visit and review.
My JFK-SFO trip in 10 days is starting to look like a mistake.
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 11:16 am
  #161  
 
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Originally Posted by headinclouds
Perhaps the only way to accelerate the neccessary changes is to post real life experiences on all of those travel blogger sites that raved about the new lounges when they visited pre-opening. Better if those actual reviewers. especially from HFP or TPG made a 2nd visit and review.
My JFK-SFO trip in 10 days is starting to look like a mistake.
I don't think the group of BA people who were looking at the lounge is in any way aware that their target group isn't happy. They seemed to be rather pleased with themselves. Spoke a lot about the lights from Czech Republic and stuff.
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 11:36 am
  #162  
 
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Originally Posted by headinclouds
Perhaps the only way to accelerate the neccessary changes is to post real life experiences on all of those travel blogger sites that raved about the new lounges when they visited pre-opening. Better if those actual reviewers. especially from HFP or TPG made a 2nd visit and review.
My JFK-SFO trip in 10 days is starting to look like a mistake.
I wish travel bloggers would refuse to review empty lounges. Whether a space works for a reception for a few carefully invited people is entirely irrelevant as to whether it is a good airport lounge.
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 11:45 am
  #163  
 
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Originally Posted by headinclouds
My JFK-SFO trip in 10 days is starting to look like a mistake.
We will be there 7 days. if there is Krug, we'll try leave you some.
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 11:52 am
  #164  
 
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Originally Posted by Never Stansted
I wish travel bloggers would refuse to review empty lounges. Whether a space works for a reception for a few carefully invited people is entirely irrelevant as to whether it is a good airport lounge.
Sadly, the objective of most successful travel bloggers is not actually to ascertain whether the lounge is any good or not, it's to generate the most page views and/or click-throughs possible...

I don't even read "reviews" on the major travel blogs any more, I just look at the photos.
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Old Dec 6, 2022, 12:02 pm
  #165  
 
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I'll transit JFK in two weeks and I think I'll try to visit all 3 lounges. From what I am reading about the Chelsea, however, I think I'll stop there for more than just a tour only if I want dinner.
Honestly I was happy with the "old" AA Flagship lounge, I would be sorry if in the end the Chelsea and Soho lounge were not even at the same level... and the ex-flagship ended up worse than before.

For full disclosure I'm not really interested in champagnes and I don't drink spirits
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