Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

Lounge-hopping in a Pandemic: DL Y JFK - BOS feat. the new JFK T4 Centurion Lounge

Lounge-hopping in a Pandemic: DL Y JFK - BOS feat. the new JFK T4 Centurion Lounge

Old Oct 12, 20, 6:06 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: BOS/SIN
Programs: OZ Diamond Plus
Posts: 998
Lounge-hopping in a Pandemic: DL Y JFK - BOS feat. the new JFK T4 Centurion Lounge

Background
Was going a little stir-crazy stuck in Boston for the past 7 months or so — probably the longest stretch I've gone without flying anywhere in the past 5 years or so, so decided to take a quick trip to NYC over the Columbus Day weekend to catch up with some friends in the city. Plus NY is one of the few states still remaining on the MA safe list (and vice versa, although given the current situation in Mass I think we're going to be removed soon) so didn't have to worry about testing / quarantine requirements and all that. Perhaps more importantly since MA and NY both have Covid mostly under control there was much less of an ethical issue around travel during a pandemic (vs. say going to/from the West Coast or really anywhere outside New England).

So in September I booked a basic economy ticket on DL JFK-BOS for $98.10 — I'd typically take Amtrak, particularly given the unreliability of any afternoon/evening departure NYC-BOS (in the pre-corona era), but given how schedules have been massively thinned out ATC/weather delays aren't really a thing now a 40-minute flight beats out a 4-hour train ride any day. Although I did take the train down from Boston since I was stopping in New Haven for a night to catch up with other friends. And picked JFK over LGA because really IMHO it's easier to get to on public transport (LIRR to Jamaica and then the Airtrain is way less painful / prone to traffic than the subway/bus), and I wasn't going to pay for a Lyft/Uber/Taxi. Also because the JFK Sky Club is open and the skydeck is great (and yes lounge selection often does figure into my choice of airports).

Of course then a week before my trip Amex updated their website to indicate the JFK Centurion would be opening "in the next few days", and it eventually did open on Friday (10/9), and so by a happy coincidence I'd have a brand new lounge to check out on my way back as well. And also since it seems like there hasn't been anything written about this new lounge on FT (which I guess is understandable, given how new it is) I decided to take a ton of pictures and write something up for here.

Getting to JFK and Check-in
So after a great Friday/Saturday in NYC (and way too much good food/drink) checked out of my hotel in SoHo and decided to make the ~30 minute walk to Penn Station — it was unseasonably warm and fairly nice out, plus I travel pretty light so only had an overnight bag and a backpack with me. And in general I'm very much a fan of walking through cities and people-watching, plus now that everything's outdoors the streets themselves are pretty busy and vaguely interesting. So got to Penn eventually and hopped on the LIRR to Jamaica. And then off to the AirTrain (which was running at ~15 minute intervals due to "maintenance", ugh) and then into JFK T4.

Time for a short rant but I don't quite get why more people don't take this route to JFK more often / insist it's so hard to get to — it only took me ~25 minutes on the LIRR to get to Jamaica (and since it was a Sunday it was only $4.50), with plenty of seats/room for luggage, and unlike taking NJT to/from EWR the trains are frequent and there aren't ridiculous gaps in the schedule at off-peak hours. Of course $7.75 for the AirTrain is daylight robbery, but again if your alternatives are EWR or LGA the Airtrain JFK is the best of the three. But I digress.

Anyway reached JFK around 3pm (for an 8pm flight, I know, but I was tired of NYC and which at least gave me plenty of time to check out the lounges), and what struck me immediately was how empty the terminal was — entire rows of check-in counters were empty:



The DL side of things were busier at least:

Not sure why they needed a separate check-in lane for Santiago:


Today's flights from T4 — a far cry from the typical evening rush:


Had already checked-in online and made it through security in no time at all — was the only person in the PreCheck line and out airside in minutes (this is one thing I could get used to). And of course instinctively took the escalator down to head to the skyclub (having forgotten that the Centurion is on the same level as security, next to the EY lounge — i.e. turn left after security, while LX/LY/wingtips are to the right). Also no signs to the centurion in the terminal just yet, so that didn't help either. So doubled back and went back up.

Escalator to shops post-security:

The Centurion is on the left after security, before the EY lounge:


Of course if you were reading this post thoroughly you'd have noticed that I was way too early for my flight, and Amex does have a 3 hour prior to departure rule for their lounges, but given how empty JFK was (and how this was only the third day the lounge was in operation) I decided to chance things and see if they'd let me in, but no dice, so back down the escalator and off to the Skyclub instead...

Almost all the shops still closed and this part of the terminal was fairly deserted:



Although the B concourse was fairly busy (of course this is relative) with a fair number of DL flights going out


Also saw an interesting scene at a gate where there were 2 NYS health officials(?) intercepting arriving passengers to collect/verify travel declarations and stopping people who hadn't filled them out, and making them complete them on the spot (one of them yelled at and ran after a passenger after he tried to walk away, so that was fun) — and IMHO Massachusetts / Massport / Boston really needs something like this — I know too many people who return from outside the Northeast but just don't fill them in


Delta Sky Club JFK T4
So anyway made it into the skyclub with no issue, and it's basically unchanged compared to pre-pandemic times, just that half the seats have been blocked off with those ubiquitous "reserved for social distancing" stickers. The club was ~30 – 40% full, but didn't feel that crowded, and mask-wearing was good throughout. Pretty sure most people are familiar with the layout of the club but here are some pictures from when I was there in July (had to take a day trip to visit a consulate in NYC, and was the only person in the lounge for a good hour, which was spooky but did make for great pictures)









It's also a little hard to see but I was very amused by one of the luggage tags on this wall — it's the only destination that DL doesn't fly to (I think), and the choice is certainly quite ironic for 2020


Anyway this time around again headed immediately to the Sky deck for some planespotting (although the pickings are fairly meagre now) — fairly overcast day but warm outside, and there were several other people sitting around as well:


DL 752 at gate, Cargolux Italia 747F which just landed from MXP, and a DL 319 taking off

KL 77W arriving from AMS and EI 333 from DUB:

LX 77W inbound from ZRH:


Also headed back indoors to check out the food selection (although was planning on saving most of my appetite for the Centurion) — the buffet is mostly packaged items which you can grab yourself (largely unchanged from this post in July) but they've also added hot items which are served to you.

Mac and cheese (with assorted toppings) and chicken strips, which I tried for science:


Also there were cinnamon rolls which were stale:


Overall food selection was still good, and also miles ahead of anything you'd find in a United Club pre- / post-Covid, so really I'd have had no issue with spending an extended layover in here (particularly with the skydeck open).

However of course there was the Centurion lounge to check out, so after a very pleasant hour and a half it was time to head back through the terminal...
DCFlyIAD, cmd320 and solewalker like this.

Last edited by truncated; Oct 12, 20 at 7:41 pm
truncated is offline  
Old Oct 12, 20, 6:07 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: BOS/SIN
Programs: OZ Diamond Plus
Posts: 998
So at 4.45pm made the long trek back to the main terminal building and to the promised land:

The front desk checked my boarding pass again (and this time did let me in), and on top of that was also presented with a welcome gift of a luggage tag:



N.B. also had to get my temperature taken by standing in front of some ipad-like contraption before entering the lounge. (On a side note I'm pretty sure I had my temperature taken at least 10 times during this trip, and was somewhat amused by the fact that if you're dining outdoors you don't need to have your temperature measured, but if you need to walk inside to the bathroom you do)

Centurion Lounge JFK T4 Layout

(If you have a sharp eye you might notice that the lighting is all over the place in these (since I did spend a good 2h30min or so in here and it got dark halfway) was really just taking things when I could and trying to avoid the staff (since I'm self-conscious in that way), and then rearranging them after the fact to get them in some semi-coherent order lol)

So past the entrance is a narrow hallway with some seating:


And the Equinox body lab is on the left (although as I have a healthy aversion to gyms and working out I never stepped inside)


And there is a multi-purpose room behind you at the other end of the hallway



However the main lounge building itself is to the right, across the bridge (which I guess is the part that Amex had to build out / expand the terminal for)

And looking back across the bridge-thing


There are also these alcove-like things scattered throughout the lounge, and what's fairly cool is they all have a year ascribed to them and I'm guessing they aim to match a particular period/style? Although I have no idea about the significance of each specific year / what each corresponds to. This is the one on the connector:


And here are some others:




Anyway once past the connector/bridge-thing the elevator and stairs to the lower level are on your left, and bathrooms on the right, but keep walking and you get to a long hallway with lots of seating and pretty decent tarmac views (well, the same views you'd see past TSA, so):

Left side / southeast / side closer to the A gates:

Right side / southwest corner / side closer to the control tower and B gates, with the buffet, dining area and bar to the right as well


So on the left side of the hallway (i.e. toward the A gates) you come to a boardroom of sorts (with every other chair blocked off):

And all the chairs there are facing this wall:


And a phone room in the back:


While turning right and walking down (i.e. toward the tower/B gates) brings you to the main buffet and bar area (additional commentary on food/drink in its own section below):

Food spread (note that there's a server, and you can't serve yourself at the moment), and bar in background



Back view of buffet, looking toward the tarmac


Additional dining area behind the buffet


Bar on the upper level pretty similar to the one in PHL IIRC



And behind the bar are the shower rooms:


And that's basically the whole upper level now time to head downstairs:



So again another long corridor with seating facing the tarmac to the right / toward the B gates and tower you have a smaller buffet and then a second bar beyond it

Same thing looking the other way


And more comfortable seating to the left side of the lounge, as well as one of those TV rooms that wouldn't look out of place in any other centurion lounge:




And around the left/southeast corner of the lounge past the TV room there's even more seating (I love how these couches look, but they don't seem very practical, and the views are not great):




Back on the right / southeast side of the lounge past the smaller buffet you have a second bar on the right, and what appears to be a metallic wall with a strip of light on it:




But of course if you push gently you find that it's actually a door! So in we go...


Wow this is cool:




And that folks is basically your tour of the lounge. Overall very impressed the lounge is huge and everything is new and shiny, and plenty of seating options and whatnot. However of course I have no idea how packed it'll be once things get back to normal when I was there there were at most 5 8 visitors in the lounge at any one time, but I've seen how much of a zoo the LX and DL lounges get every evening during the TATL rush, so wonder how crowded this will be, and I think someone has pointed out the lounge is fairly narrow in most places as well. But that's a long way from now anyway so who knows. And regardless of all the T4 lounges I've been in (LX/LY/DL, unfortunately haven't been to VS/EK) this clearly blows them out of the water (except maybe for the skydeck)

Centurion Lounge JFK T4 Food and Drink

So of course the first thing I did was to make a beeline for the speakeasy and get a drink the speakeasy has its own cocktail list separate from the other 2 bars in the lounge:


Started off with a Boulevardier, which tasted like one (i.e., delicious):

Also the ice cube is stamped with the 1850 logo (and apparently the lemon peels are supposed to be branded as such as well):


Next wanted to get a Blue Door, but apparently the speakeasy doesn't have as extensive a liquor selection available as the other bars and so had to get it from outside instead. So stepped across the bar to look at the cocktail list there:


And actually the other cocktails looked pretty intriguing, so I got a Port in a Storm instead (rye, vermouth, port, bitters): also pretty good but not as strong as I would have liked:


Was also chatting with the bartenders one of them told me he used to be the bar director at a restaurant in Manhattan, and this was his first airport job, while the others came from / were poached from various other lounges in JFK (VS, LY, DL, etc). Also learnt that the lounge was supposed to open 10/1 but got delayed. Anyway the bar staff (and all the other staff in the lounge) were great and friendly and really excited to be there one told me that my drink order was the first time they were making said cocktail, which was kinda cool as well.

Anyway following that I felt a little peckish and so decided to check out the food options I did not realize the lower level buffet only had a partial selection and so I went there first:







So got a thing of almonds and sat down to watch the tarmac for a bit (featuring EK 77W):


One pet peeve is they blocked all the seats facing west / the tower / the B gates and most of the tarmac, and pier A at T4 is much less interesting to watch lol

Then made my way up to the upper level for some actual food:

Full menu and wine list:


Farro soup with butternut squash crostini, steak, and a Cosmonot (gin, lemon juice, cointreau, raspberry preserves)

Steak close-up with romesco, taleggio sauce, and potatoes

Food was ok soup was unremarkable and the steak was nicely medium rare but room temperature, and the cocktail was decent although I remembered too late that I'm not really a gin drinker.

Portions were also fairly small and I was hungry, so next tried the mushroom burger which was much better:


And then fruit and chocolate cake for dessert this was easily the highlight of the meal


(The cake is actually below all the whipped cream)


And then grabbed a blue door to finish things off; which was as good as ever:


So overall thoughts drinks were uniformly great, and I really wanted to drink my way through the cocktail list but did not, while food was pretty decent and definitely a step up over anything DL/LX offer in JFK (and better than the other Centurions I've been in as well looking at you PHL). One small complaint though is they announced last call for drinks at 7.15 which was a little early for an 8pm closing, although by then I already had my fill.

Altogether that was probably the best way to spend 2 and a half hours in JFK that I can think of (except maybe when I had the whole DL skyclub to myself) the Centurion had excellent drink and decent food options, and the space is pretty well laid out with lots of variety and (hopefully) sufficient seating capacity for when things return to normal. And the speakeasy is a really cool addition / concept as well.

But anyway back to reality before I knew it it was 7.30pm and my flight was departing at 7.55 from B42 (although there were plenty of other closer gates) and if you're familiar with JFK you probably know where this is going...

Last edited by truncated; Oct 12, 20 at 7:40 pm
truncated is offline  
Old Oct 12, 20, 8:19 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: BOS/SIN
Programs: OZ Diamond Plus
Posts: 998
DL5740 BOS - JFK
E175 (N246JQ)
Scheduled: 7.55pm 9.25pm
Actual: 7.48pm 8.53pm
Seat 5A (Comfort+)


So I keep forgetting how long the B concourse was at T4 (although I once had a flight out of B55, which is as far as it gets), and leaving the lounge at 7.30pm for a 7.55pm departure from B42 might not have been the best idea... but I do walk pretty quickly and so made it to the gate at 7.40pm (although did get the "immediate and final boarding" announcement when I was at B37)... and was of course the last person on board the flight. Haha.

Very empty JFK:


Very empty boarding gate:


Very empty jetbridge:


Plane, which unfortunately was not very empty:


So I was initially booked in basic economy (and figured that I had a 2 in 3 chance or maybe higher of getting a window seat, since DL is blocking the B seats on the 175), but when I checked the app at T-24 they had assigned me an aisle next to a stranger so instead of paying $15 for seat selection (since there were other windows open) I figured I'd do a change to regular economy (hooray for travel waivers) and get seat selection with it, but C+ wasn't that much more expensive so I ended up there instead, in row 5 which really is the best row on this plane (particularly with no one next to you):


The flight was fuller than I expected (particularly for an 8pm JFK-BOS on a Sunday night before a holiday) everything that wasn't blocked in F was taken, and C+ was probably 60% full and Y like 50%?

Also got handed one of these packs while boarding (pretty sure they're not meant for C+, but I was last on the plane so maybe they had leftovers?). Although no biscoffs in here sadly.


Pushback from JFK, in front of an A333 to DUB (I guess that's one advantage of being at a further gate?):


Quick taxi to 4L for takeoff interestingly our E175 was put between a CX B748F to ANC (sadly no good pictures of that) and the company A333 to DUB, when really ATC should just have let us gone first :P but again with so little traffic it didn't matter and we were soon on our way

Same A333 waiting for takeoff behind us


Was a very quick 37 minutes of flying time to Boston arrivals were from the south on 4R (which cuts things down just a little bit more), and provides a pretty good view of downtown as well. No service (as expected / is the norm on DL even pre-Covid) and cabin lights were kept dimmed throughout the flight, which explains the lack of any other pictures. And time for another small rant I've flown BOS-NYC plenty of times, and it's somewhat annoying how DL doesn't have any service on BOS-JFK/EWR but does so on the BOS-LGA shuttle AA at least has a water / OJ run on BOS-JFK, and UA is just inconsistent I've had nothing, water only, water/juice/coffee (most common, with stroopwafel/pretzels), and one time a crew tried to do a full drink service on BOS-EWR and only made it halfway through the cabin before landing. But for a 40 minute flight I guess it really doesn't matter.

Anyway arrival into A10 and a very empty Terminal A (with seats blocked off for social distancing):


BOS is great for how easy it is to get out of the airport out in 2 minutes and thankfully didn't have to wait for the Silver Line:

But they used the wrong type of bus this time (missing the luggage racks) although we were the only 3 people for the entire ride from Logan to South Station:


And then off to the Red Line and got home 10 minutes after when my flight was scheduled to arrive. Which is a decent time by Logan standards.

Anyway so that concludes this report thanks for reading, and feel free to ask any questions below about the centurion / anything else in here, and hopefully I'll be back there again sometime (am tempted to do more weekend trips to JFK just for the lounge, which kinda tells you where my priorities are)
truncated is offline  
Old Oct 12, 20, 11:36 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF/KL Gold, AA LT PLT 2mm, TP Gold *G
Posts: 19,586
Great report truncated on your fun day at JFK. And thanks for all the pics of the new Centurion Lounge. Looking forward to my first visit there next month.
roadwarrier and henrus like this.

Last edited by NWIFlyer; Oct 13, 20 at 6:53 am Reason: To comply with rule 12
SFO777 is offline  
Old Oct 13, 20, 2:55 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 27
Really fantastic report - thanks for sharing. Looking forward to kicking the tires at the Centurion but I don't have any travel planned until the Spring. It sounds weird to say but I hope things are back to normal and it is packed by then!
imnotalawyer is offline  
Old Oct 19, 20, 2:03 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Dallas
Programs: HHonors Diamond, Marriott Titanium, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, UA Silver
Posts: 329
Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Great report truncated on your fun day at JFK. And thanks for all the pics of the new Centurion Lounge. Looking forward to my first visit there next month.
Another SFO777 trip report coming soon?
wakesetter93 is offline  
Old Oct 25, 20, 11:28 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 10,207
Very detailed report of the lounges, I really enjoyed that. I'll be visiting the Centurion Lounge at JFK in about two weeks time so I look forward to that experience.
cmd320 is online now  
Old Oct 26, 20, 8:17 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: LAX
Programs: AA Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by truncated View Post



When I saw this had to do a double take... Indeed, says "America Expres", missing last letters of each word. Wonder why?

Not that I would complain if it was a gift.
phranktzi is offline  
Old Nov 21, 20, 10:08 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 6
lounge is not bad at all.
MileHighMati is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: