While Norwegian may have recently taken the crown of flying more passengers across the Atlantic to New York area as a non-US carrier – a long-standing honour recently held by British Airways – the legacy carrier has just shown why sometimes its not just about size, but how you do it, that counts.
British Airways has now officially opened the doors to a luxurious new First lounge at New York’s JFK Terminal 7 part of the ongoing renovations to the terminal for the carriers most prestigious route.
Gone the days of flock wallpaper and chairs. The new modern space is the airline’s first long-haul lounge to replicate the new design direction that customers can already find in Rome and Aberdeen, and which will soon be rolled out across other destinations including Geneva, San Francisco and Johannesburg. The refurbishment forms part of a £52 million investment in the British Airways customer experience at JFK’s Terminal 7.
With white marble, wooden slatted veneers and leather seating, the lounge is closer in look and feel to oneworld’ers Cathay Pacific and Qantas, which is a certain step in the right direction.
The lounge will feel more spacious, not purely due to the paired-back aesthetic, but also due to a 60 per cent larger footprint compared to its predecessor. Covering more than 5,480 square feet the lounge has been designed with a zonal concept.
Technology takes the lounge to a new level for the carrier. A new wine room forms the centre piece boasting an enomatic dispenser, which enables customers to enjoy wines at exactly the right temperature that have been oxidized to the correct level. Customers will also be able to enjoy “Flights of Wine” – a selection of different wines linked to a theme. The current theme is “Chardonnays of the World”.
Other features includes an opulent First bar with a wide range of premium beverages and a quiet work area.
Customers can also dine in the airline’s upgraded dining room before they fly to maximise rest on their flight. A new boutique menu created by Executive chefs Gavin Mackenzie and Waylon Walker will include dishes influenced by the season, as well as a new ‘bowl food’ concept designed to offer customers a chance for a lighter option before they fly.
The opening of British Airways’ new First lounge at Terminal 7, is one of a number of changes the airline has already made to improve the customer experience this year. The Concorde Room at JFK, for First customers was refreshed earlier this year and customers flying in First and Club World now also enjoy an enhanced check-in experience at the exclusive new Premium Zone, with direct access to Fast Track security. The new First Wing and First check-in are also open to ensure a smooth start to the journey.
But these improvements aren’t only going to effect those who can afford the very front of the plane. The airline has also upgraded the main concourse for all customers adding extra seating in the gate areas and increasing access to power for customers to charge their electronic devices before flying. Other improvements can be seen at security and check-in, washrooms and a new customer service desk.
Our eyes are firmly set on New York next year, to see how British Airways will design its largest and most used Galleries lounge outside of the UK. This business class lounge will complete the airline’s refurbishment of Terminal 7 in 2019.
The First Class lounge is open to gold cardholders and customers travelling in the airline’s First cabin on the airline’s most coveted route across the Atlantic.