Review: British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK

Review: British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK

After spending the night in New York during my Qatar Airways Mileage Run I woke up early and took the subway back to JFK airport for my next Qatar Airways flight back to Doha. Once at JFK and through security I found myself in the duty-free area within JFK’s Terminal 7. As I had about an hour before my scheduled boarding time I decided to visit the British Airways Galleries Lounge in New York’s JFK Terminal 7.

 

British Airways Galleries New York JFK Eligibility Policy

Although I’ve only been a OneWorld Sapphire elite for a few years now, as far as I can tell the British Airways Galleries lounges have among the most generous access policies in the OneWorld network.

For starters, anyone flying in First or Club World (business class) on a transatlantic British Airways flight has access to the British Airways Galleries lounge. Additionally, British Airways Silver or Gold elite members have access. OneWorld Sapphire and Emerald elites also have access when traveling internationally on a OneWorld alliance airline. Lastly, those traveling in a premium cabin on a OneWorld Partner airline have access to the British Airways Galleries lounges.

If you can’t tell by now, that’s potentially a huge guest list. On this particular day I had access to the lounge since I was traveling in Business Class on Qatar Airways. I could have also accessed the lounge had I been flying in Economy Class thanks to my OneWorld Sapphire status.

New York JFK British Airways Galleries Lounge Location

Currently, JFK Terminal 7 is under construction. As a result, the British Airways Galleries lounge wasn’t exactly easy to find. Although the terminal has directional signs which guide passengers to the lounge, it still took me a few minutes to find the entrance.

British Airways Galleries Signage
British Airways Galleries Signage

The above sign lead to me to believe the entrance was through the Duty-Free shop as was the case with the Apricot Lounge in Ho Chi Minh airport. Instead, the entrance is well before this sign. Instead, this sign directs you to loop through the shops to arrive back at the main security checkpoint in Terminal 7. From there the Galleries lounge entrance is immediately to your left.

British Airways Galleries Lounge Escalator
British Airways Galleries Lounge Escalator

To reach the entrance of the British Airways Galleries lounge you must first go up one of the shortest escalators I’ve ever seen. In total it’s about 8 steps to reach the top. When I visited this lounge the area was under construction so the left escalator was closed and the right wasn’t moving. The escalator is narrow which made passing departing guests particularly interesting.

British Airways Galleries Lounge Entrance
British Airways Galleries Lounge Entrance

Once at the peak of the escalator you’ll find a hallway which leads you to the Galleries Lounge entrance. When I reached the check-in desk I presented my Qatar Airways boarding card. The lounge agent then directed me toward the Business Class Galleries lounge.

British Airways Galleries New York JFK Lounge Reception Area

Immediately beyond the check-in desk is a hallway which ends within the first large sitting area. On the left of this hallway is a luggage storage room (does anyone use these anymore?) and to the right is the business center.

British Airways Galleries New York Entrance Hall
British Airways Galleries New York Entrance Hall

The business center is rather large and offers guests fairly generous workstations.

British Airways Galleries New York Business Center
British Airways Galleries New York Business Center

Just beyond the business center you’ll find the first of many sitting areas. One of the first things I noticed is how many seats there are in this lounge. It’s clear that this lounge receives a lot of traffic during the evening international departure rush!

British Airways Galleries New York Sitting Room
British Airways Galleries New York Sitting Room

To the left of this first room is a secondary sitting area which is a little more exposed.

British Airways Galleries New York Open Sitting Area
British Airways Galleries New York Open Sitting Area

Toward the rear of this area is the Elemis Spa and toward the left is the food/beverage area of the lounge. More on both of these areas to come.

British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK Dining Area

After passing through the buffet area, you reach the second half of the lounge which is much more spacious than the first half.

British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK Fountain
British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK Fountain

The first thing you see as you enter this area of the lounge you’ll notice the central faux grass-lined and rock fountain. The fountain sits under a large skylight which helps makes this entire area of the lounge seem much larger.

British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK Satellite Bar
British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK Satellite Bar

To the left of the fountain is a large sitting area with a rather odd seating arrangement. This area would be perfect for a group traveling together and I guess you could put the kids at the small table by the pole?

Just beyond the awkward sitting area is a small satellite bar. This bar serves alcohol in the evening, but during my visit (in the morning) the bar only offered juices.

To the right of the fountain you’ll find an even larger room with several sitting areas and a fully stocked bar.

British Airways Galleries Bar and Sitting Area New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Bar and Sitting Area New York JFK

This area is fairly wide and quite deep. Seats are much less dense in this “back-room” of the lounge than in the first room you pass as you enter the lounge.

British Airways Galleries Bar and Sitting Area New York JFK 2
British Airways Galleries Bar and Sitting Area New York JFK 2

British Airways Galleries Lounge Bar New York JFK

One thing I really appreciate about airline lounges are self-service bar areas. I don’t mind if a bartender is there to make and serve drinks, but I find having a bar tender takes much longer than grabbing your own drink. The British Airways Galleries Lounge at JFK features a large self-service bar with a fairly decent selection of beverages.

British Airways Galleries Bar New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Bar New York JFK

As I mentioned the bar is self-service so guests can pour their own mixed drinks as they wish from the rather diverse selection of liquor found behind the bar.

British Airways Galleries Cocktail Bar New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Cocktail Bar New York JFK

Canned soft drinks, tonic, and soda water are found beneath this section of the bar. Otherwise, fresh juices are just off to the right of this area if you’d prefer that.

British Airways Galleries Beer Selection New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Beer Selection New York JFK

The refrigerators beneath the bar also offered guests a nice selection of bottled beers. I especially liked that this lounge offered Brooklyn Lager as an homage to the location of the lounge.

Lastly, the physical bar featured recessed beverage chillers which housed bottled water, but more importantly; champagne.

British Airways Galleries Champagne New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Champagne New York JFK

You don’t often find $40 bottles of champagne offered in an airline lounge, especially at 8 in the morning!

British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK Breakfast Options

As I visited this lounge so early in the morning only breakfast options were available to guests. The lounge does feature British Airways’ Pre-Flight Supper for the evening flights, but this section obviously wasn’t open for breakfast.

British Airways Galleries New York JFK Pre-Flight Supper
British Airways Galleries New York JFK Pre-Flight Supper

Instead of Pre-Flight Supper, guests could choose from the traditional breakfast buffet options located in the center of the lounge area.

British Airways Galleries New York JFK Breakfast Buffet
British Airways Galleries New York JFK Breakfast Buffet

The breakfast buffet offered exactly what you can expect from an airline lounge or a hotel lobby. There was a variety of breakfast pastries, cereals, and yogurt. Additional the buffet offered fresh fruits or you could grab an apple or banana to go from the table in the center of the large opening buffet area.

Overall, nothing in the breakfast area was appealing enough for me to get. Since I was flying Qatar Airways business class I decided to save room for the on-board dine on demand meal service.

British Airways Galleries New York JFK Elemis Spa

British Airways Galleries New York JFK Elemis Spa
British Airways Galleries New York JFK Elemis Spa

Well, the above picture essentially sums up my entire Elemis Spa experience… Sadly, when I visited this lounge at 8-9am the spa wasn’t open. I’m guessing the spa only operates in the evening during the peak international departures rush.

Had the spa been open, guests can enjoy a variety of spa treatments before their flights. Elemis does offer some services complimentary to British Airways Business and First class passengers. Apparently those same services are not complimentary for guests traveling on other OneWorld partners. As the spa wasn’t open during my visit I didn’t receive the full details of who received complimentary treatments and who did not.

Final Thoughts

The British Airways Galleries Lounge at New York’s JFK is exactly what you can expect from a British Airways Galleries lounge. You can enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks before a flight, but most importantly escape the crowded and noisy main terminal for a fairly quite place to relax before a flight. The lounge does offer complimentary WiFi which makes it a great place to get a few last-minute things done before boarding your flight.

While the lounge is plenty nice, there really isn’t anything about it that sets it apart from other airline lounges. I found the ceilings to be a bit low and the use of space a bit odd. Certain areas featured extremely dense seating arrangements while others were so spread out it felt isolating. Lastly, the breakfast options just weren’t that great. It was nice to grab a banana to eat while I waited for my flight, but that was the only thing I saw that seemed appealing when I visited.

Lastly, my real concern regarding this lounge is the evening crowd. Given how many people can access this lounge I’d bet it gets overwhelmingly busy in the evening hours. There are currently at least 10 BA or IB flights to Europe which depart after 5pm. That’s at least 300-400 business class seats a night! I hope to visit this lounge again in the evening to see just how crowded it gets.

Either way this is a fine lounge and a nice place to go before a long international flight. However, I wouldn’t make it a point to get to the airport early to visit this lounge. Rather I’d pop in for a pint before making the 6 or 7 hour journey across the pond.

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