The Etihad Lounge at JFK is just stunning. It is architecturally beautiful inside and out. The pre-flight dining service is a culinary delight and the attentive service is warm and friendly. This was my first time flying Etihad Airways and I’m so glad I routed through New York to try out this new lounge instead of the direct flight from LAX. At LAX, Etihad uses the LAX Star Alliance Lounge, which is a quality lounge as well but this new lounge is a fantastic upgrade for New York passengers. The Etihad Lounge JFK is Etihad’s second premium lounge in the United States, after Washington Dulles.
The Etihad Lounge JFK is located airside in Terminal 4. After security, make your immediately left and go all the way down the hall (do not go downstairs). You won’t be able to miss the grand entrance to your right.
On this trip, I was connecting from my American Airlines A321T business class flight from Los Angeles. I arrived into JFK fairly early in the morning and the Etihad Lounge was not open yet. To kill some time, I walked over to the Wingtips Lounge down the hall using my Priority Pass card. It amazes me that Etihad used to contract with the Wingtips Lounge for their premium cabin passengers. That must have been such a disappointment to be flying a Skytrax 5-star airline and be forced to use a mediocre contract lounge.
The Etihad Lounge JFK opens up 4 hours before each flight and is for first and business class passengers departing on Etihad Airways flights only. There are two daily flights from JFK to Abu Dhabi so at the time of this posting, the lounge is open from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and then from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM daily. The lounge closes one hour before departure time and the lounge attendants will notify passengers when the aircraft is ready for boarding.
Unveiled last year, the Etihad Lounge JFK is just stunning. Using geometric design concepts and a color palette that matches the landscape of Abu Dhabi, the Etihad Lounge embodies everything about their new “Facets of Abu Dhabi” branding. The central focal point of the lounge is the beautiful bar overlooking the ramp and runway below. There are floor to ceiling windows that let in a lot of natural lighting and make the medium-size lounge feel very bright and airy. And not just for decoration, the hosted bar mixes up a large selection of top shelf spirits, beers, wines and champagnes for waiting passengers. Even during Ramadan, alcohol was served inside the lounge at all hours of the day.
I really love Etihad’s new design aesthetic. The contrast between the soft Italian leather armchairs and the hard elements of wood and metal created an edgy and modern yet still elegant and sophisticated atmosphere. The main seating area is open and spacious and is conducive for travelers flying with others or by themselves. US standard electrical outlets are plentiful and can be found by most of the seats in the sitting area. Because this lounge is only open for a few hours before each flight, there are no day rooms or other places to lay down and rest. However, those traveling in the first class do get a private room within the lounge for additional privacy and exclusivity.
There is a small TV room in the back of the lounge adjacent to the prayer rooms. This was the quietest part of the lounge as the majority of the passengers stayed in the main seating and dining areas of the lounge.
Because I had arrived from an overnight flight, I was in desperate need of a shower and shave. I asked to take a shower and was immediately escorted to a shower suite located inside the men’s restroom. Towels, robes and unbranded bath and body products were provided in the restrooms and other items such as disposable shaving and dental hygiene kits can be requested from the restroom attendant. There is another shower suite inside the women’s restroom as well.
After my shower, I asked to have some food and was escorted to the dining room. There is a dining area located at the front of the lounge with tables and chairs but you can order anything from the bar or the a la carte menu from anywhere in the lounge.
If you don’t have much time or an a la carte dining is not your style, you can partake in the hot and cold dishes of the buffet located in the center of the lounge. But no matter where you sit, the lounge attendants will come to you and offer to bring you anything you want. The service here was amazingly attentive.
In the dining room, I was presented with a menu and hot towel and my beverage selection was taken.
I ordered the Arabic Mezze starter and the rack of lamb for my main course.
For dessert, I skipped the cheese plate and went with the Arabic coffee ice cream and bread pudding.
As you can see, not only were the dishes beautifully presented, they were absolutely delicious. It was like eating at a fine New York restaurant. The dishes were flavorful and cooked perfectly. The Arabic Mezze was good and the rack of lamb was delicious but the Arabic coffee ice cream and bread pudding was to die for. This was one of the best meals I have ever had in an airport lounge. I literally had to restrain myself from ordering more.
After my plates were cleared, I looked for a place to get some work done on my laptop. But oddly, there was no dedicated workspace area in the lounge. There were lots of seating areas but no place to sit down and work. So I just stayed at my dining room table after my meal. The lounge did fill up with people closer to boarding time but luckily, there were still plenty tables available so I didn’t feel so bad. Password protected WiFi was provided throughout the lounge but there were no electrical outlets by the dining room tables.
Overall, this lounge was a pleasure to visit and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience it. With access for first and business class passengers, the space did fill up closer to boarding time but at no time was I unable to find a chair to sit or space to work. The service was friendly and attentive and the a la carte menu was a culinary treat. Even without a spa service, outdoor deck or Porsche ride to my plane, I still enjoyed my experience here and hope to visit again soon.
The other trip reports in this series include:
- Qantas oneworld Business Class Lounge
- American Airlines A321T Business Class, Los Angeles to New York
- Etihad Lounge at New York JFK
- Etihad A380 Business Class, New York to Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Arrivals Lounge at Abu Dhabi
- Hilton Abu Dhabi
- Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa
- Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, Abu Dhabi to Melbourne
- Qantas A330 Business Class, Melbourne to Perth to Sydney
- Qantas Business Class Lounge at Perth
- Qantas First Class Lounge and Spa at Sydney
- Qantas A380 First Class, Sydney to Los Angeles