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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 3, 2022, 2:44 am
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by jjLDNY
[MENTION=746602]Foofighter69[/MENTION] Excellent and comprehensive review. The brightness and layout not being conducive to relaxing were my biggest concern, as I don't know how they can fix that without a full refurb. Glad to hear the Soho is a little more intimate and won't have the 'living wall' and bright lights - perhaps the move will be to grab dinner and a few glasses in Chelsea (menu and chilled drinks allowing) and then head over there.
Perhaps Im being a bit cynical, but maybe managements off-the-record goal is to make Chelsea a dining room / brief stop off of sorts, similar to how the JFK FFD did not have more than two lounge chairs as it was designed for just dining. Or, they just missed the mark. Ideally, feedback will lead to some adjustments to the extent feasible.

On the service front - it is not surprising as FFD was always understaffed and the legacy FL was typically overrun during peak times.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 4:32 am
  #77  
 
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I will be there tonight (GGL arriving on an AA operated/BA ticket F flight from LHR, connecting to a domestic AA flight in domestic F). Solely going there for Krug. Better not be warm.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 4:44 am
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by Foofighter69
I’m sorry to say that the Chelsea Lounge is not the least bit attractive when compared to the Soho Lounge next door.

I’m about to take off so my comments are rushed, but my summary is as follows (which is based on tonight only, perhaps it will be better in time though some comments are more than linked to ‘teething problems’):

1. We waited to be assigned a table for 10 minutes and three different members of staff (some who looked like management) said they would come back and seat us, but they never did. Eventually we just went and got ourselves a table.

2. the only hot food available was not even on the menu: a burger.

3. the staff were apologetic but they couldn’t even get the starter orders right. Several of the wrong starters were delivered to our table. They didn’t seem bothered that they got it wrong and didn’t bother asking us what we had ordered.

4. We ordered Krug and 3 waters. 15 minutes later another member of staff came back and said the Krug was warm. They suggested a different champagne and it was delivered in a mix of wine and champagne glasses, and this champagne was also warm. We never got our waters. So much for the lounge that prided itself in being champagne-focused!

5. another waitress came over and took over the service. She was worked off her feet, said she cried after the first night’s work because she was run ragged with no help. And she did a fantastic job. She said that they were severely understaffed and apologised when she didn’t need to for other’s failings. She did well to do her best given the circumstances, so credit to her.

6. The lounge space isn’t relaxing. It’s incredibly bright, with people running around. It lacks privacy, calmness and exclusivity. And it feels very cramped for an F-ticket lounge. In comparison the Soho lounge (OWE / BA Gold) was dimly lit - though busy - open and airy and most importantly it had a view of the tarmac. It really was quite a shocking contrast. Soho fit the Soho I know and love at home in London, it’s actually quite an authentic representation. From the lighting, to the colours and textures through to the music. Chelsea felt like a rich kid who doesn’t know how to be classy!

One of the guys who’s normally at the CCR reception recognised me (which was nice of course) and suggested that frequent visitors to CCR raise some constructive feedback with BA, and he was very embarrassed with the AA/Sodexo outfit, saying that this was several times less ‘premium’ than Flagship Dining in T8 and miles behind JFK CCR. Apparently some conversations are being had within BA..

Anyway, until this settles down AND the menus improve (I don’t think the menu is akin to CCR level and Soho next door has much much much more choice!!) I would recommend the Soho lounge for any GGLs / Prem / F considering Chelsea.

Soho was fantastic, easily BA’s best Gold lounge. Decent food (with quite a bit of choice on the buffet, though granted the QR code ordering doesn’t work), good cocktails and local beers on tap, lovely space and of course tarmac views!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review Foofighter69 .
Some of it definitely sounds like "teething difficulty", which is understandable to an extent I suppose, but there also seems to be a structural problem with the lack of natural lighting and therefore the contrast in ambience with the Soho next door.
It certainly matches the impression I had after watching the BT video review this morning.

Trying to see if I can re-arrange a connection next week to give it a try!
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 6:59 am
  #79  
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Hmm.... some of those first reports about chaos and menu pretty much gone by the time BA customers would reach the lounge are not reassuring... I hope they fix the issues quickly (basically in 48 hours!!)
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 7:46 am
  #80  
 
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Good and not so good experience this morning.

Landed from a redeye this morning from SFO Flagship First so no problem accessing Chelsea this morning before heading into the city. Arrived as BA flight boarding announcement so the only person there.

Good points, Krug was cold served from a personal sized bottle and topped up from a standard size. Bacon sandwich hit the spot but wasnt on the Kaiser roll as listed but a brioche bun which wasnt a problem. Staff were attentive once settled down at the bar.

Bad points, showers! No one was managing the showers, meaning I walked into an unoccupied room which hadnt been cleaned.1 of the 3 were available with the other 2 needing repair.

The one which did work, the overhead shower wasnt operational. Fine if youre under 6ft.
Same towels as Greenwich/FL and were pretty tatty. Shower space had only one hook for clothes, towel etc and without a bench the space didnt really work. The Greenwich/FL showers, while like a sauna from usage, have a better design.

Lots of weve just opened from the staff as mentioned previously.

Nice, but would be the overall impression.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 8:21 am
  #81  
 
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Originally Posted by Foofighter69

6. The lounge space isn’t relaxing. It’s incredibly bright, with people running around. It lacks privacy, calmness and exclusivity. And it feels very cramped for an F-ticket lounge. In comparison the Soho lounge (OWE / BA Gold) was dimly lit - though busy - open and airy and most importantly it had a view of the tarmac. It really was quite a shocking contrast. Soho fit the Soho I know and love at home in London, it’s actually quite an authentic representation. From the lighting, to the colours and textures through to the music. Chelsea felt like a rich kid who doesn’t know how to be classy!
Sounds like they've got the representation of London's Chelsea exactly right (for area and football team)
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 8:30 am
  #82  
 
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Originally Posted by Silly19
Good and not so good experience this morning.

Landed from a redeye this morning from SFO Flagship First so no problem accessing Chelsea this morning before heading into the city. Arrived as BA flight boarding announcement so the only person there.

This is good that it's being treated as a FL in terms of arrivals. I think we all assumed but you never know! Hopefully they bought enough steaks for today!
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 10:42 am
  #83  
 
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OK!

Reporting from the Chelsea Lounge as I went ahead with my 'scenic' domestic (non-flagship) flight.

A slight bit of confusion when I entered as obviously my boarding pass doesn't show any signs of GGL. However a quick flash of the app and I was taken straight in with lots of unnecessary apology about everything being new. Also offered a tour of the Soho which I said I'll take up later on.

At 12:37pm there are about 9 people in here, and I have my glass of chilled Krug. All day menu given out, everything available as of right now.

I will say I think they may have dimmed the lights a little which is great, it doesn't feel too bright. The lack of windows whilst not an issue initially given you're more focused on sitting down, getting a drink and ordering food does mean this will never (in my opinion) be a place I would want to spend an extended amount of time.

the layout I still don't like. It's a large rectangle with very little privacy. There are no hidden away areas meaning no matter where you sit you will be facing the room in some capacity with 20 other faces in your eye-line and people walking behind you if you're in the central areas.

Furniture I also am not too happy with. All of the seating is shallow so again, it's very difficult to get comfortable and stare off into the distance into the sky or at the tarmac.

F&B, obviously great assuming everything is chilled and in stock.

I will be here for another few hours, so any questions or requests do let me know!

Edit - They are out of the steak Frites. Considering it's 1pm the day after reports of the Steak Frites being out, no excuse to not have stocked back up.

Last edited by jjLDNY; Dec 3, 2022 at 11:29 am
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 11:02 am
  #84  
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Originally Posted by jjLDNY
I will be here for another few hours, so any questions or requests do let me know!
If you see a BA lounge agent (so don't bother if it's only AA, which is what I would expect at this time of day) could you say "I'm GGL and I'm planning on flying on BA to London in a few weeks in First. How many guests would I be allowed in Chelsea?".
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 11:10 am
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
If you see a BA lounge agent (so don't bother if it's only AA, which is what I would expect at this time of day) could you say "I'm GGL and I'm planning on flying on BA to London in a few weeks in First. How many guests would I be allowed in Chelsea?".
The answer to this question based on a printed lookup table that the checkin agent had at T8 suggested the answer is two. Lets see what they say elsewhere!
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 12:03 pm
  #86  
 
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Originally Posted by jjLDNY

I will say I think they may have dimmed the lights a little which is great, it doesn't feel too bright. The lack of windows whilst not an issue initially given you're more focused on sitting down, getting a drink and ordering food does mean this will never (in my opinion) be a place I would want to spend an extended amount of time.
Thanks for the real time update! Do you get the sense that the staff are okay with hopping back and forth between Chelsea and Soho to refresh drinks etc, or is not laid out that way? Im thinking if on a long layover, post up at Soho and source drinks / occasional food in the dining area from Chelsea.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 12:05 pm
  #87  
 
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Back to Chelsea this afternoon on a Flagship Business ticket. SoHo desk AA agent asked for some help and the AA team manually plugged in GGL to override the system. Pretty smooth.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 12:09 pm
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Originally Posted by ryanbriar
Thanks for the real time update! Do you get the sense that the staff are okay with hopping back and forth between Chelsea and Soho to refresh drinks etc, or is not laid out that way? Im thinking if on a long layover, post up at Soho and source drinks / occasional food in the dining area from Chelsea.
Yes. I think there is either a white wine they don't have in here or maybe they're out but a couple have popped over to the Soho twice now and walked back in here with a glass of white.
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 12:27 pm
  #89  
 
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Is there a place in the Chelsea or Soho lounge to safely leave a carry-on spinner bag, so as not to be encumbered whilst enjoying the lounge(s)?
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Old Dec 3, 2022, 1:09 pm
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by checkerboard
Is there a place in the Chelsea or Soho lounge to safely leave a carry-on spinner bag, so as not to be encumbered whilst enjoying the lounge(s)?
Probably depends on the time. Unless you're here during peak time (currently BA flight times) then you can probably leave your stuff at your table - I left my laptop and bag on a chair for about 20 minutes whilst checking out the Soho.

I probably wouldn't leave my things in the Soho as there are 3-4x more people and the same number of staff.

There is no dedicated storage space from what I can see.
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