British Airways JFK First Lounge
Credit: Courtesy of British Airways

Appropriately posh, but not too stuffy, the remodeled and expanded British Airways First lounge in Terminal 7 at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is complete and now welcoming eligible fliers.

Part of the British flag carrier’s $65-million terminal-wide refurbishment that also brings a refreshed concourse area and redesigned check-in zones, the First lounge is 60 percent larger than before and includes well-appointed seating zones and separate work spaces, a roving gourmet gin and tonic cart and a cozy bar area with both self-serve and tended drink-making.

A new perk is a separate wine room featuring a glass-fronted enomatic wine preservation unit dispensing one-ounce tasting pours of themed wines kept at exactly the right sipping temperature. The debut selection in October highlighted eight tasty “Chardonnays of the World” and the steward on duty during our visit was equally charming, enthusiastic and knowledgeable — but not at all snooty — while guiding visitors through the selections. For November, the featured wines are Cabernet Sauvignons.

Many British Airways flights from New York to London travel overnight and many passengers prefer to eat dinner on the ground, then snooze on the plane. For those evening and late-night fliers, the First lounge offers a nice variety of preflight buffet dining options with seasonal menus. Through November, for example, the menu entrees include seared Heartland filet mignon and “Sweetheart” turkey roulade.

British Airways’ First lounge at JFK is open daily between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. and is accessible to passengers traveling in the First cabin and to those with BA Gold and oneworld Emerald status.

Keep in mind that while it is called the “First” lounge, passengers who have purchased tickets to travel in the first class cabins of British Airways’ flights and upper tier British Airways customers in possession of a Concorde Card have access to another, much swankier, lounge option at JFK T7: the Concorde Room, located by Gate 1. This hideaway has that sought-after hushed club atmosphere, table-service dining and was given a refresh not long ago as well.

But here’s a tip for making the most of your First lounge access: First lounge passengers may access the Elemis Travel Spa located in the adjacent Club business lounge (hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily). The spa offers a menu of complimentary 15-minute treatments, including skin-reviving facials and tension-freeing foot, neck, and back massages, but because it’s a first-come, first-served system, the slots fill up quickly. British Airways is working on some special spa “opportunities” for First lounge customers to be announced in the next few weeks (we hope that means reservations), but in the meantime, head to the spa desk to schedule an appointment the moment you arrive.