British Airways Galleries Lounge – John F. Kennedy International Airport
Hours: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Cost: Complimentary for First, Club World passengers, Gold and Silver Executive Club members, Business Class on select partner airlines
WiFi: Yes, free
Food: Yes, served buffet style. Alcohol available as part of buffet.
Table Service: No
Date of Visit: November 14, 2017
It’s no secret that I fly SkyTeam carriers almost exclusively, but I’m not naïve – I’m aware that not all SkyTeam partners are the cream of the crop when it comes to airlines. Even so, I’ve continued to stay loyal for a number of reasons (and trust me, it’s not because of Delta’s regularly devaluing SkyMiles program.
Brian and I were headed for Argentina when I checked to see my options for getting there. From New York, I had 2 options – Delta (with a layover in Atlanta), or Aerolineas Argentinas (AR), which was a nonstop flight. I’ve never flown Aerolineas Argentinas before and I am always game to try a new airline… despite the less than flattering comments about them online.
Even so, I booked it.
So there I was. A Tuesday afternoon, at JFK’s Terminal 7 – a terminal I haven’t flown out of in ages since most SkyTeam carriers depart out of Terminal 4 or Terminal 1. At the check-in counter, the agent let us know that we had access to the British Airways Galleries lounge.
Though she gave us directions on how to find the lounge, it wasn’t as straightforward as it sounded. After clearing security, you’ll walk a few feet before searching for the escalator – which may be located behind you. It was easy for us to miss since it was under construction and boarded up, but fortunately the elevator was working.
A few steps away from the elevator was the entrance to the lounge. Behind the sliding doors was the check in counter, where they would direct you either to the British Airways First Class lounge or the Galleries lounge. While Aerolineas Argentinas is not a partner airline of BA, they work with them to allow AR passengers to use the lounge, since our flight takes off at 3:30 PM when there aren’t any British Airways flights that depart from JFK at that time.
At first glance, the lounge looks pretty average sized – the main room has plenty of seating (though if you need an outlet you’ll have to sit by the walls if you want to plug in).
The first section of the lounge also included a sizable business center, which featured 10 workstations and a printer.
If you were in the market for a spa day, they do have the Elemis spa, but it appeared to be closed while I was there (disappointing, since I was a fan of the Elemis Spa products I used on my stay at the St. Regis Bangkok – would have been keen to try the spa!). Showers for the lounge were located right next to the spa.
The first room is connected to the larger lounge area through a dining area, which held the buffet and a few tables and chairs.
The buffet offerings were pretty meager, which isn’t surprising given the time of day (and lack of British Airways operating flights).
Just some fruit, biscotti, Oreos, oatmeal raisin, coffee, and plenty of soda.
Also up for grabs were potato chips and a few sandwiches – roasted vegetables on focaccia, smoked salmon with tzatziki sauce and baby spinach, and ham on mustard and provolone mayo.
Past the buffet section was the second half of the lounge. The larger room was filled with tons of seating, and more snacks and drinks.
First up – a bar area with tall tables and bar stools, lofty lounge chairs, and beer. On draft was a couple of Blue Point beers – Toasted Lager and a nondescript ale. There didn’t appear to be any bartenders working so I spotted a couple of people just going up to the bar and pouring themselves a beer.
The alcohol doesn’t stop there – not too far from this area was another bar, filled with hard liquor and wine.
A pretty solid variety of liquor offerings (nothing top shelf, but recognizable brands like Absolut, Bacardi, Jameson, Jack Daniels, and the like), plus a few different types of wine. Again, this was a self-serve situation, so guests were helping themselves to healthy pours. A small offering of bar snacks (M&Ms, peanuts, dried fruit and wasabi peas) were also available.
Since this side of the lounge was much larger, there were also far more seats. Most people didn’t seem to notice/be aware of the extra space, since most probably thought the lounge was just the first room. I still didn’t find built in outlets or USB ports near right by each chair, which I’m sure poses a problem when the lounge is actually full. Even so, the space felt spacious and relaxing, with plenty of nooks and seating areas – though I’m sure this space gets busy quickly during the peak BA departure time.
If you’re looking for a top of the line, luxurious lounge, this isn’t it (although maybe when the spa is open, it is a bit more). But if you like a self-serve bar situation, lots of seats, and wi-fi, it’s not a bad place to be. The food options leave something to be desired (though the lack of BA-operated departures definitely had a big impact on this), though I hear they offer hot options later at night. If you’re going to be spending time here – bring a laptop or iPad for entertainment, cozy up at one of their many seats, have a self-made drink and consider bringing your own snacks (unless pretzels and M&Ms are your absolute favorite, of course).