Around the World on 90k Part I: Warsaw and Beijing with Nothing But a Passport and a Dream(liner)
Around the World on 90k Part II: Blowing Through the Horn of Africa
Korean Air Lounge New York JFK
LOT Polish Business Class 787 New York To Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class ERJ-170 Warsaw To Zurich
Swiss Panorama Lounge Zurich
Swiss Business Class A330 Zurich To Beijing
Grand Hyatt Beijing
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing To Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class 747-8 Frankfurt to Washington
Park Hyatt Washington DC
I had spent the week prior to this trip in New York City (staying at the Grand Hyatt and St. Regis). Rather than going straight to JFK, I actually had dinner with Andrew and his mom. She’s quite a fascinating character, and as much a fan of Neil Diamond as I’m a fan of One Direction.
Anyway, we made it to JFK Terminal 1 shortly after 8PM, plenty early for our 10:55PM flight to Warsaw. While I think JFK is a horrible airport, there’s something that makes me so excited every time I pull up to it as the sun begins to set, knowing just how many different places in the world people are jetting off to.
LOT’s check-in counter was located in the middle of the terminal, and to my surprise there weren’t many people at check-in. There was no wait at all for business class check-in.
LOT has two flights a day from New York to Warsaw, and I had noticed the earlier of the two flights was canceled that day, so I was fully expecting the check-in counter to be a total cluster. I asked the agent what happened to the earlier flight, and she explained that they had an issue with one of the Dreamliners, and that it was still sitting in Chicago from the previous day — ouch!
She quickly printed our boarding passes to Warsaw and issued us invitations to the Korean Air Lounge.
Security was reasonably civil for JFK, and we were through in maybe 15 minutes, which is about as good as it gets at Terminal 1, in my experience. They do have a premium queue, so that helps a bit.
Just past security is the Lufthansa Lounge, which to my surprise LOT doesn’t use, even though the signage specifically mentions LOT Polish.
Before heading to the Korean Air Lounge, we briefly walked through the terminal to take a look at all the traffic.
There was an Air France 777-300ER.
Then there was a Saudia 777-300ER.
We noticed our flight to Warsaw hadn’t yet arrived, so we headed over to the Korean Air Lounge, which is located in the area of the terminal where Gates 1-3 are (separate from the main “corridor” of gates).
The lounge has signage welcoming customers from Aeroflot, Saudia, and LOT. It’s also available to Priority Pass members. Clearly this is the premium lounge in Terminal 1.
There were both stairs and an elevator leading to the second floor, where the lounge is located.
Our lounge invitations were accepted at the entrance, and we were directed left towards the business class lounge.
Physically I was at first impressed by the lounge. Not that the lounge was anything special, but I had heard really bad things about the lounge, and it didn’t look that bad.
There’s plenty of seating, the furniture was in decent shape, and the lounge featured views of the tarmac.
There was a business center with several desks.
And even a couple of “quiet rooms.”
Near the entrance was the food spread, which was abysmal. It made the US domestic airline lounges look premium by comparison.
The extent of the spread was:
- Packaged Planters Nuts
- Packaged Fig Newtons
- Packaged cookies
- Packaged crackers and cheese
Not even any fresh veggies or anything else. That was literally it.
Then there was an open bar with one red and white, and a few bottles of hard liquor.
Below that were coolers with soft drinks and pouches of water.
Seriously, unless you’re doing military rations, why on earth would anyone serve water like this?!
To go along quite nicely with the style of water they served, there was a mall food court style trash bin by the buffet.
Korean Air has a flight that leaves shortly after midnight, so later in the evening they rolled out the “premium snacks,” which included muffins, danishes, and ramen noodles.
Beyond the crappy buffet spread:
- The lounge was as hot as an oven
- There was a complete lack of power outlets — I truly didn’t see a single outlet by a seat
And while I won’t get into it again, the lounge also had a rather ridiculous web filter, though fortunately they have fixed it since, so kudos to Korean Air for that.
The best part of the lounge? A Lufthansa 747-400 was parked right outside!
Anyway, boarding was scheduled for 10:25PM, so at around 10:10PM we left the lounge and headed to our departure gate, which was about a five minute walk away.
Our flight was departing from Gate 10, right next to the gate for the EVA Air flight to Taipei a couple of hours later.
While boarding was only called at 10:25PM, everyone was lined up at the gate by 10:15PM, which kind of matches my experience flying LOT out of Warsaw.
At 10:25PM boarding finally started for business class and Star Gold passengers.
It’s not worth arriving early to visit the Korean Air Lounge JFK. Admittedly they probably don’t have much of an incentive to provide decent snacks and drinks when a lounge is full of passengers from other airlines, but it was still an embarrassing spread, in my opinion.