Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

Introduction
Hyatt Herald Square New York
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK
Singapore Airlines Suites Class A380 New York To Frankfurt
Element Frankfurt Airport
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt Airport FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt Airport FRA
Singapore Airlines Suites Class A380 Frankfurt To New York


I had a commitment in New York City until around 5:30PM, so only made it to JFK at around 6:30PM, less than two hours before departure.

Singapore Airlines flies out of Terminal 4, and by the time I checked in I seemed to be the only person at the counter, as everyone else had already checked in.

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New York JFK Terminal 4 check-in

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New York JFK Terminal 4 check-in

The agent was friendly and issued my boarding pass in less than a minute, and also issued me an invitation to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, which is the lounge that Singapore Airlines uses for Suites Class passengers at JFK (they use the Wingtips Lounge for business class passengers).

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Singapore Airlines Suites Class check-in

The worst part about Kennedy has to be the security lines. As a Suites Class passenger I could just use the “standard” priority security line, where there was about a 20 minute queue. Add in the fact that I couldn’t use Pre-Check, and it wasn’t my most enjoyable security experience of the year.

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New York JFK Terminal 4 security

Once past security I took the escalator down a level to the main concourse level, and turned left towards the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

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New York JFK Terminal 4 airside

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New York JFK Terminal 4 airside

From the security checkpoint it’s about a five minute walk to the Clubhouse, which is located up a level from the concourse, between gates A4 and A5.

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New York JFK Terminal 4 lounges

The Clubhouse is located across from the Emirates and Air India lounges.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse entrance New York JFK

As I said above, Singapore Airlines uses the Clubhouse for their Suites Class passenger, which might seem a bit strange, since it’s “only” a business class lounge. That being said, I just love, love, love Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses. As far as I’m concerned, they’re on par with some of the best first class lounges out there.

For example, I’d choose Singapore Airlines out of JFK over Lufthansa, as I prefer the Clubhouse to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge JFK. I also far prefer the Clubhouse to the British Airways Concorde Room JFK, which British Airways uses for their first class passengers.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse signage New York JFK

As some of you may recall, I reviewed the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK last year, before my Virgin Atlantic flight to London. I had a long and awesome layover in it. The layover was so much fun that I ended up taking a “nap” and almost missing my flight.

So I was thrilled to return to the lounge, and visit the “friends” I made last year (or perhaps more accurately, people that I made a fool of myself in front of).

The lounge is beautifully designed, with lots of cute little seating areas based on whether you want to lounge, work, dine, or what not.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

There’s the “main” central seating area.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

There’s a pretty cool billiard table (which gets progressively more fun with each cocktail).

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

Then along the side of the lounge are several “private” couches and more traditional lounge chairs.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

Then there’s a large dining area near the bar.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

The lounge has an a la carte menu, and you can order food from any part of the lounge — there’s no need to actually sit in the dining room if you want to eat, for example.

The menu read as follows:

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Since it was after 7PM when I made it to the lounge and boarding was scheduled for 7:55PM, I did what I could to maximize my time.

Aris was working the bar, who is beyond awesome. I don’t even have to order with him, he just makes me drinks that are sweet and sassy, and I’m happy.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse bar New York JFK

First I had one of his specialties, a lemon drop.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse cocktail New York JFK

Then I had an espresso martini.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse cocktail New York JFK

Per Aris’ recommendation, I nibbled on some hummus and the three cheese and jalapeno flatbread.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse snacks New York JFK

Then he made me another cocktail, though I’m not sure what exactly it was.

I went to say hi to Janet in the Bumble & Bumble salon, who cuts some mean hair. Go figure I got my hairs did just a couple of days prior, so had no need for her services. She’s awesome, though, and you sure can’t beat getting your hair cut while looking at the tarmac sipping on a glass of champagne.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse hair salon New York JFK

I did however take them up on an offer for a back rub, which was lovely.

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse massage New York JFK

By the time my back rub was done I looked at my watch and saw it was 8:10PM — 15 minutes before the scheduled departure. Whoops!

Fortunately Singapore departs from gate A6, which is just a two minute walk away. As I approached the gate they said “Mr. Schlappig?” I was the last passenger aboard.

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Singapore Airlines A380

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York bottom line

I love this lounge. It’s a physically gorgeous space, it has such a fun vibe, and the staff are amazing. Aris at the bar and Janet in the spa are especially awesome. This lounge is a reason to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class or Singapore Airlines Suites Class out of New York, in my opinion. My only regret was that I didn’t have more time to enjoy the lounge.

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Comments

  1. “Then he made me another cocktail, though I’m not sure what exactly it was.”

    Just be glad the bartender wasn’t Bill Cosby, Ben.

  2. what time does Singapore check-in open? i would like to get there as soon as it’s open to maximize the time in the lounge, get a haircut (how much do you tip for free haircut?), and eat.
    thanks.

  3. Great review Ben – Personally, I think one of the coolest things about this lounge is the hair salon, I love that feature they offer. This is indeed a beautiful well designed lounge and up to par to some of my favorite like The Wing.

  4. No charge for haircut, massage, dinner ??? Wow, do they sell memberships??
    Anyway, yeah, good question by Lantean. What do you tip for a free massage or haircut? I guess $5 or $10? Would they even take it?

  5. Hi lucky, does VS have any other nice lounges in the US? As good as this one seems, I prefer longer flights to enjoy the flat bed.

  6. I must have ordered 15 dishes in this lounge! also i thought it was pretty cheap that complimentary massage was not included for Singapore first class passengers but was included for virgin Atlantic’s business passengers.

  7. this was one of the first airline lounges I ever experienced. Suffice to say it has spoiled me for all others since I travel mostly domestically, mostly on AA.

  8. @ Shannon — I usually do. I don’t think it’s required, but I tip the amount I’d tip at a restaurant or hair salon for similarly priced services, based on how awesome they are.

  9. @ italdesign — They do have several other Clubhouses. The only other one I’ve been to is in San Francisco, which is also quite nice, though doesn’t have a spa.

  10. @ Larry D — Hah, no memberships. I usually tip $10-20 for a haircut or massage. They do take tips, though they’re not required.

  11. How do you usually get from Manhattan to JFK and how much time do you budget for the trip? I’ll be flying Singapore from JFK to Frankfurt next year and staying in Manhattan the night before, like you, so this information will help me plan. Thank you.

  12. Whenever I fly out of T4 on a non-U.S. carrier, I just buy a refundable ticket on Delta to any destination, get my Pre Check, and use that to clear security. Then I cancel the ticket once I am airside. With a little creativity, there is no reason not to use Pre Check at T4.

  13. I have a question. I am flying Singapore Suites from JFK to FRA next week. I understand i gave access to the Virgin Clubhouse at JFK. Does this access entitle me to bring 1 guest as well?

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