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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 Jan 24, 2023, 7:20 pm
  #796  
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: SFO
Programs: AA sPLAT, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 202
Originally Posted by Gastrocnemius
Perhaps they are Elvis Costello fans?
Now that's funny!
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madmanshoney is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 7:42 pm
  #797  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: So Cal
Programs: AA Platinum, DL Silver
Posts: 2,906
Little confused on this but can I visit Soho if I have Chelsea access? I know I can go to Greenwich with Chelsea access but Soho seems status based or for F on Iberia/JAL (once they move to T8).

I'm simply arriving on AA Transcon F so I'm not seeing that as allowing me into Soho but being Chelsea is the best/top tier of the 3 maybe I get in to Soho by default?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 24, 2023, 8:27 pm
  #798  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Diego
Posts: 2,754
Originally Posted by happiest_at_40000
Little confused on this but can I visit Soho if I have Chelsea access? I know I can go to Greenwich with Chelsea access but Soho seems status based or for F on Iberia/JAL (once they move to T8).

I'm simply arriving on AA Transcon F so I'm not seeing that as allowing me into Soho but being Chelsea is the best/top tier of the 3 maybe I get in to Soho by default?

Thanks.
Yes you can
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Old Jan 25, 2023, 11:47 am
  #799  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Programs: BAEC GGL
Posts: 350
Someone will be happy

revorgap is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 11:59 am
  #800  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: London, UK
Programs: BA GGL, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 914
I was through JFK at the weekend and thought Id give my views on the Chelsea and Soho lounges. Ill post thoughts on Soho in the other thread and focus on Chelsea in this one.

I suspect some will think I'm being picky but sorry to say neither lounge is up to scratch.

Ive been through JFK quite a few times over the years. Last year I had several great visits to the Flagship Lounge and loved the views over the apron, the extensive good quality buffet selection and the great design of Flagship lounges which is effectively replicated at other locations like LAX and DFW.

I tried to go in with an open mind, but left feeling very confused about this entire space. There is so much that is wrong, and it feels like the Soho and Chelsea lounges were designed by totally different sets of people.

Anyway, back to Chelsea..

First impressions - its not a welcoming space at all. Brightly lit and just feels like a big white box with seats around the edges. It doesnt feel like theres separate areas with distinct character - contrast with the LHR CCR which has the high tables, the bar, the dining booths, the terrace etc. Chelsea feels like an unfinished space.

I had food first. Mushroom and truffle on toast followed by fish and chips.




Both were pleasant enough, but you feel very self conscious when eating due to the tables being so close to one another. Plus you can hear everyone elses conversation in the dining area. In good news the LPGS was pulled out from somewhere, but generally not a nice dining experience at all. My 1st choice of dessert wasnt available so had the olive oil cake instead which is supposed to be a chefs speciality. I didnt get a picture unfortunately but it was a very basic flat slice of cake with some creme fraiche on top. At a neighbouring table a lady sent her fish and chips back 3 times, and a guy at another table with a Caesar salad was questioning why the poached egg was undercooked, to be told Thats how its meant to be. He left most of it.

Onto the loungers at the very back for a little rest. This space is quiet but the loungers are poorly specified and uncomfortable. Theres no cushions to provide any support so you either lay out completely flat with legs dangling over the end or sit upright. It feels like someone saw them in a shop and liked the price but didnt try them out at all.

I then walked around to see the seating around the edge. My key standout - nearly all the power sockets have USB-A and USB-C connections which is great, but all the AC outputs are US type only. This is really poor - this is supposed to be the premium lounge for flagship routes between New York and London and you cater just to US travellers? I can't remember what the old Flagship had but come on. Go to the LHR F lounge and you have support for multiple plug types, and its not that hard to get a single socket that can accommodate any type of plug. It feels - again - like poor design and execution.



I tried to connect to the WiFi, took an age and eventually connected and I get this welcome screen. Worked fine though.



Time for the bathroom, which sadly hasnt got sufficient storage for the cleaning equipment. It might have been just about to be cleaned when I visited though.



I used the facilities and again Im wondering what on earth the contractor was thinking.

The baby change facility is right by the urinals, when it could easily have been at the opposite wall (where the mirror and bin are). The construction of the privacy screens is just weird - they dont extend from the wall enough to do the job theyre intended to do, and there is some half-arsed brackets not holding up a shelf. First Class.?





The sinks look like they were designed by several committees working independently.



The seal at the back where the splashback meets the counter is an unattractive inflating foam that wont keep any water out.



I could go on. A few little things I can overlook, but when theyre all combined it leaves you feeling pretty jaded. I just dont get how premium lounges hyped as much as these new lounges are can have been so poorly designed and implemented. Looking around at the few people in Chelsea no-one seemed to be enjoying their time there.

In contrast to this, my 2 visits to the CCR over a long weekend left me utterly delighted - good food, amazing service from an outstanding member of staff, and was a lovely comfortable place to spend time.

Basically - and I think as others have mentioned, this needs to go back to the drawing board. I would not like to be a regular JFK passenger......
David_Doyle is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 1:54 pm
  #801  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Programs: BA GGL, Gold for Life
Posts: 599
Thanks for posting such a well-written critique. Most of the reviews that I've read about the Chelsea lounge has focussed largely on the vast array of champagnes available, including - drum roll please - Krug! To be fair most of these reviews did also comment that it seemed a bit weird that the premier BA/AA lounge in the U.S. had no natural light.

I'd clocked that the non-sparkling wine offering was nothing to shout about, but after reading your review, and another that focussed on the food choice being a bit rubbish, I really can't understand how BA and AA have got this so wrong. Surely they could have put together a panel of actual premium lounge users of to review their plans, and save them from some of the crass errors they seem to have made.

I had been looking forward to visiting the Chelsea lounge in September, but not any more. I will of course visit, but it's no longer an experience I'm eagerly anticipating.
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GGLwannabe is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 2:35 pm
  #802  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: London
Programs: BA GGL & CCR, GFL
Posts: 495
Originally Posted by revorgap
Someone will be happy

Ouch.
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AdBoy is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 2:37 pm
  #803  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: BAEC Silver, IHG Diamond
Posts: 7,862
I think most reviews seem to be based on the fact there are few champagnes available

I'm betting that, if Krug, LPGS etc. were generally available, then there would be less negativity about the food and lack of natural light.

I personally like the fish, chips / fries, mushy peas, and the dish isn't too dissimilar to what CX F in LHR T3 serves. The little dish of BA champagne went nicely onto my fries as well

I preferred the normal lounges in T7 to the CCR when I visited back in Nov. Nice and quiet in the CCR, food not too bad, but things such as the pumpkin pie edged it for me in the other lounges.
I'm happy in the Flagship / Greenwich if they're serving Russet potatoes and veg. Sometimes a simpler dish hits the spot rather than some fancy concoction that doesn't work half the time (also can make a change from In N Out burgers, American cheese loaded dishes on most flights etc.). Better for people watching, and they come across as far less pretentious than some boasting about "I have so-and-so" in the Chelsea.

It's easy enough to float between Chelsea and SoHo. Both have their relative merits and failings, but you'll probably find a lot of people will still go to the Chelsea lounge as it's the "first class lounge" and they can't go elsewhere as that's a step down.

Last edited by xenole; Jan 25, 2023 at 2:55 pm
xenole is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 2:41 pm
  #804  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: TPA/ABZ
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold. GGL/CCR.
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by revorgap
Someone will be happy

That seems fairly conclusive.
golfmad is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 2:46 pm
  #805  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: BCT. Formerly known as attorney28
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Posts: 6,858

Looks like a life goal has been achieved here
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Football Fan is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 2:53 pm
  #806  
Moderator: Qatar Airways
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: LHR/NCE/MIA
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Posts: 9,034
Originally Posted by golfmad
That seems fairly conclusive.
Are we saying then that Chelsea can now only be accessed for TransCons opposed to general domestics?

M
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msm2000uk is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 2:58 pm
  #807  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: TPA/ABZ
Programs: BA Lifetime Gold. GGL/CCR.
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by msm2000uk
Are we saying then that Chelsea can now only be accessed for TransCons opposed to general domestics?

M
It seems that the BA website has been updated to reflect just that. Yes.
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golfmad is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 3:02 pm
  #808  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: FRA, JFK
Programs: BAEC GGL, A3*S, Bonvoy Gold, HH Gold
Posts: 1,029
Originally Posted by golfmad
It seems that the BA website has been updated to reflect just that. Yes.
Sucks.
While not a huge fan of Chelsea, I don't see how that'll have any meaningful effect on crowdedness, while being a bummer for all GGLs.
I don't like the wording either, since it says "flight" rather than itinerary, which could be used to preclude connecting passengers from accessing the lounge (think JFK-ORD-LHR).
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Chiller3333 is online now  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 3:02 pm
  #809  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Programs: BA GGL, GfL, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Lifetime Globalist, AllAccor Diamond, Marriott Ambassador Elite
Posts: 1,066
Originally Posted by David_Doyle
I was through JFK at the weekend and thought I’d give my views on the Chelsea and Soho lounges. I’ll post thoughts on Soho in the other thread and focus on Chelsea in this one.

I suspect some will think I'm being picky but sorry to say neither lounge is up to scratch.

I’ve been through JFK quite a few times over the years. Last year I had several great visits to the Flagship Lounge and loved the views over the apron, the extensive good quality buffet selection and the great design of ‘Flagship’ lounges which is effectively replicated at other locations like LAX and DFW.

I tried to go in with an open mind, but left feeling very confused about this entire space. There is so much that is wrong, and it feels like the Soho and Chelsea lounges were designed by totally different sets of people.

Anyway, back to Chelsea…..

First impressions - it’s not a welcoming space at all. Brightly lit and just feels like a big white box with seats around the edges. It doesn’t feel like there’s separate areas with distinct character - contrast with the LHR CCR which has the high tables, the bar, the dining booths, the terrace etc. Chelsea feels like an unfinished space.

I had food first. Mushroom and truffle on toast followed by fish and chips

Both were pleasant enough, but you feel very self conscious when eating due to the tables being so close to one another. Plus you can hear everyone else’s conversation in the dining area. In good news the LPGS was pulled out from somewhere, but generally not a nice dining experience at all. My 1st choice of dessert wasn’t available so had the olive oil cake instead which is supposed to be a ‘chefs speciality’. I didn’t get a picture unfortunately but it was a very basic flat slice of cake with some creme fraiche on top. At a neighbouring table a lady sent her fish and chips back 3 times, and a guy at another table with a Caesar salad was questioning why the poached egg was undercooked, to be told “That’s how it’s meant to be”. He left most of it.

Onto the loungers at the very back for a little rest. This space is quiet but the loungers are poorly specified and uncomfortable. There’s no cushions to provide any support so you either lay out completely flat with legs dangling over the end or sit upright. It feels like someone saw them in a shop and liked the price but didn’t try them out at all.

I then walked around to see the seating around the edge. My key standout - nearly all the power sockets have USB-A and USB-C connections which is great, but all the AC outputs are US type only. This is really poor - this is supposed to be the premium lounge for flagship routes between New York and London and you cater just to US travellers? I can't remember what the old Flagship had but come on. Go to the LHR F lounge and you have support for multiple plug types, and it’s not that hard to get a single socket that can accommodate any type of plug. It feels - again - like poor design and execution.

I tried to connect to the WiFi, took an age and eventually connected and I get this welcome screen. Worked fine though.

Time for the bathroom, which sadly hasn’t got sufficient storage for the cleaning equipment. It might have been just about to be cleaned when I visited though.

I used the facilities and again I’m wondering what on earth the contractor was thinking.

The baby change facility is right by the urinals, when it could easily have been at the opposite wall (where the mirror and bin are). The construction of the privacy screens is just weird - they don’t extend from the wall enough to do the job they’re intended to do, and there is some half-arsed brackets not holding up a shelf. First Class….?

The sinks look like they were designed by several committees working independently.

The seal at the back where the splashback meets the counter is an unattractive inflating foam that won’t keep any water out.

I could go on. A few little things I can overlook, but when they’re all combined it leaves you feeling pretty jaded. I just don’t get how premium lounges hyped as much as these new lounges are can have been so poorly designed and implemented. Looking around at the few people in Chelsea no-one seemed to be enjoying their time there.

In contrast to this, my 2 visits to the CCR over a long weekend left me utterly delighted - good food, amazing service from an outstanding member of staff, and was a lovely comfortable place to spend time.

Basically - and I think as others have mentioned, this needs to go back to the drawing board. I would not like to be a regular JFK passenger......
Thank you for this very articulate and erudite review. You have an excellent eye for detail and a very practical common sense. I concur with all of your observations.

Last edited by HFHFFlyer; Jan 25, 2023 at 5:19 pm
HFHFFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 25, 2023, 3:04 pm
  #810  
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Programs: British Airways GGL/CCR, Hilton Diamond & Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,644
Originally Posted by xenole
I think most reviews seem to be based on the fact there are few champagnes available

I'm betting that, if Krug, LPGS etc. were generally available, then there would be less negativity about the food and lack of natural light.

I personally like the fish, chips / fries, mushy peas, and the dish isn't too dissimilar to what CX F in LHR T3 serves. The little dish of BA champagne went nicely onto my fries as well

I preferred the normal lounges in T7 to the CCR when I visited back in Nov. Nice and quiet in the CCR, food not too bad, but things such as the pumpkin pie edged it for me in the other lounges.
I'm happy in the Flagship / Greenwich if they're serving Russet potatoes and veg. Sometimes a simpler dish hits the spot rather than some fancy concoction that doesn't work half the time (also can make a change from In N Out burgers, American cheese loaded dishes on most flights etc.). Better for people watching, and they come across as far less pretentious than some boasting about "I have so-and-so" in the Chelsea.

It's easy enough to float between Chelsea and SoHo. Both have their relative merits and failings, but you'll probably find a lot of people will still go to the Chelsea lounge as it's the "first class lounge" and they can't go elsewhere as that's a step down.
TBF, the CCR should be above T3 CX F (Gold Lounge) not on par with
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