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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 11, 2022, 1:53 am
  #211  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Programs: AA
Posts: 370
Chelsea, Soho - December 10

Overall, a nice experience and no horror stories as seen upthread. However, Chelsea is missing the necessary premium feel. Soho has the right atmosphere but food is an issue.

Chelsea good:
  • Staffing seems to be resolved (3 bartenders, 3 dining staff, 2 roaming staff, 1 GM-looking type)
  • Free-flowing LPGS as the "rotating special selection"
  • Food quality and presentation solid, although variety (i.e., high-end options beyond fish & chips) needs work; Soho, meanwhile, needs a lot of help on food quality for the buffet
  • Cocktail selection inventive
  • Staff members were teaching each other how to do things (e.g., make drinks) which is great to see right now
  • Showers and toilets were clean but could have had more amenities alongside hand lotion
Chelsea improvement areas
  • Ventilation - Chelsea felt stuffy and the temperature was very inconsistent throughout the lounge space (20 C by the entrance but 25 C at the dining tables)
  • Branding - The space doesn't really seem designed for resting (very little seating variety / there are only three day beds hidden in the corner), and in its current form is basically a restaurant and cocktail bar; Soho is more truly a "lounge"
  • Soft touches - Think the CCR's luggage and coat check, Chelsea should have these
  • Staff still doesn't understand all the service offerings; for example, I tried to order afternoon tea and the staff brought me tea and nothing else
  • Ambience - There was no background music when I entered (was turned on 30 min later) and boarding announcements were still given



Cocktails were on reverse (No picture)

Odd that vintages aren't provided

Tomato bisque - Good, but also shared with Soho

Prawn cocktail - Not bad, interesting idea with the vanilla

Lamb tangine - Solid

Beets - Great

Coffee cocktail (really good), Toffee cheesecake (good), Lemon sorbet (good)

Soho buffet menu - The menu descriptions are much more appetizing than the food itself; e.g., the salmon is just a bunch of dry-looking fillets toppled on top of each other (Sorry, no photos here)

Soho QR menu - Note that almost all of Chelsea's mains are shared, I'd hope the premium food options will return once the lounges are running more smoothly
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 2:04 am
  #212  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: LHR / LAS
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This is promising, let's hope it continues to improve.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 2:10 am
  #213  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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I would be happy with non-veggie burger and fries, and the fish / mushy peas combo (although would want fries with that).

Would probably prefer russet potatoes and some veg though as healthier than most carb loaded stuff I eat when in lounges and flying

Like the line earlier "
  • Staff still doesn't understand all the service offerings; for example, I tried to order afternoon tea and the staff brought me tea and nothing else"
Well, BA seem to miss out the tea part of afternoon tea
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 2:42 am
  #214  
 
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Location: London, United Kingdom
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I was well impressed you brought a portable thermometer with you
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 7:31 am
  #215  
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I still can't believe that's the F Lounge menu that replaced CCR/FFD.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 8:52 am
  #216  
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Burger, fish and chips and curry is not first class. By all means offer them, but to essentially have only this plus the tagine at the most commercially important outstation for BA is quite simply ludicrous.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 9:35 am
  #217  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: LDN / NY
Programs: BA GGL, Marriott Amb, Hyatt Glob
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Originally Posted by BlooJoo
I still can't believe that's the F Lounge menu that replaced CCR/FFD.
Originally Posted by Genius1
Burger, fish and chips and curry is not first class. By all means offer them, but to essentially have only this plus the tagine at the most commercially important outstation for BA is quite simply ludicrous.
If anyone does visit today/tomorrow, can you ask these 2/3 questions to the BA rep:

"When is the Krug being added back to the regular menu?"
"When is the steak coming back to the regular menu?" follow-up "Do you think the menu here is up to the standard of the FFD/CCR?"

I appreciate some people don't care for Krug or steak, but those 2 items should be the standard they're looking to deliver because it's what they used to showcase the lounge. I think we're all just confused at this point as to what's going on..
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 12:04 pm
  #218  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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While dealing with the “frost/fog” delays today in LHR, I spoke with the CCR/First Lounge manager. I wanted to give the employees working at the CCR Guest Services desk a thank you as, per usual, BA is unable to deal with irrops.

He then asked about JFK/T7/Chelsea and said that “the BA team is flying back this week to evaluate the situation which we understand is very disappointing.” I reiterated my comments, and he remarked that some internally at BA have suggested swapping Chelsea/Soho as well (something I think we should all be suggesting). The food mess, lack of basic drinks, “champagne” selections and bright lights and are all well known by now.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 12:18 pm
  #219  
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I haven't seen a floor plan of this area yet, but is there some way that the Soho lounge could be split, so that Soho gets about half the glass edge, plus the existing Chelsea bar becomes the centre piece of Soho? Then the new Chelsea would be the other half of Soho? I guess this would be quite a small area for Chelsea and this implies quite a small bar somewhere (maybe the bar on the partition, going both sides to share staff resources) but Soho is on hand at busy times.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 12:24 pm
  #220  
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
I haven't seen a floor plan of this area yet, but is there some way that the Soho lounge could be split, so that Soho gets about half the glass edge, plus the existing Chelsea bar becomes the centre piece of Soho? Then the new Chelsea would be the other half of Soho? I guess this would be quite a small area for Chelsea and this implies quite a small bar somewhere (maybe the bar on the partition, going both sides to share staff resources) but Soho is on hand at busy times.
One question I have is whether they could add windows to Chelsea. The staff seemed to think the long wall on the right as you walk in, is the outside of the terminal and so perhaps a bit of 'knocking through' could solve the light issue.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 12:46 pm
  #221  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
I haven't seen a floor plan of this area yet, but is there some way that the Soho lounge could be split, so that Soho gets about half the glass edge, plus the existing Chelsea bar becomes the centre piece of Soho? Then the new Chelsea would be the other half of Soho? I guess this would be quite a small area for Chelsea and this implies quite a small bar somewhere (maybe the bar on the partition, going both sides to share staff resources) but Soho is on hand at busy times.
One of my earlier suggestions, I'm a big fan of floor plans so had a think of solutions. Specifically to your point, the shared(?) kitchen runs parallel between the Chelsea and the Soho so it's unlikely. And there isn't anywhere to do a Concorde Terrace type set-up given the volume of pax in the Soho / Greenwich in the interim. Furthermore given this would shut down the Soho, there's definitely no where to put both Soho and Chelsea pax. They checkmated themselves by moving everything over without a few lower volume test-runs, any F/GGL/CK(maybe?) pax could have given them this feedback with a single visit. Complete shambles.

Originally Posted by jjLDNY
Any other ideas as to how they can get out of this predicament? Unless they can push through the ceiling and find windows (which surely they would have though of? But I guess given the state of ops maybe not). The only things I could suggest (unless they have an unused space somewhere nearby?) is that perhaps the remaining Admirals lounge could be directed to the greenwich and they refurb that, or the Soho and Chelsea rotate so that they both have windows at the long-end or what they should have done, which was put it where the Flagship lounge was which has great views, high ceilings/windows and with the FFD and reception area has plenty of space. I actually though the Chelsea was going on the bridge above the old logo and to the right of the FL reception..!
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 1:28 pm
  #222  
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I think they just need to live with the fact that it’s an interior space, fix the catering and turn down the lights.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 2:23 pm
  #223  
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Originally Posted by BlooJoo
I think they just need to live with the fact that it’s an interior space, fix the catering and turn down the lights.
If the current Chelsea had good food, drink, comfortable seats, a good Maître d', and in particular good staffing then frankly that solves most of the issue, in my view. It's the staff side which will take a few weeks, the rest could be done very quickly.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 2:32 pm
  #224  
 
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I know this is apples and oranges but I really enjoyed my FFD experience at Miami on Thursday. Free-flowing LPGS and very good wines per my brother who is a broker (avg. retail for the two he recommended is $65/bottle), attentive staff, fast service, quiet, refined, and very good food (I had the lobster ravioli, the bao buns and the gem lettuce salad). Plus the cornbread is heavenly. What the Chelsea lounge should be, at least as far as food and drink is concerned. Can't believe how far BA and AA have fallen.
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Old Dec 11, 2022, 2:32 pm
  #225  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Would it be possible to give the illusion of windows by having a video wall that projects a live stream view of the apron or runways? Some inside cabins on cruise ships do this and it works quite well.

I am very unlikely to ever visit this lounge but the problems that this thread has highlighted are really bad for whaf is the premier BA/AA lounge at JFK. The Soho lounge sounds more successful and a more pleasant place overall..
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