Etihad Opening New York JFK Lounge By End Of 2015

The Middle Eastern carriers are largely focused on controlling as many aspects of the customer experience as they can, probably largely because they can afford to do so.

For example, Emirates operates their own lounge at LAX, despite the fact that they only have one daily flight. Emirates could contract the lounge out to other airlines, but to maintain the quality of the lounge, they open it exclusively for their own passengers, so it’s only open a few hours a day. That’s not a cheap investment, given how expensive real estate is at Tom Bradley International Terminal.

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While walking through Terminal 4 at JFK on Tuesday I noticed something I wasn’t aware of. There was wallpaper indicating that an Etihad Lounge was being built. I forgot to snap a picture, though it seems to concretely be under construction, even if it’s not all that far along. It was just past the security checkpoint on the left, on the upper level.

As it stands, Etihad uses The Wingtips Lounge JFK, which is an okay contract lounge, though hardly something a top airline would be proud of.

I followed up regarding the new lounge, and apparently Etihad is hoping to open their new JFK lounge before the end of the year, to coincide with the new Airbus A380 service to New York, which launches December 1, 2015. I wouldn’t necessarily count on that opening timeline being accurate, given that Etihad still hasn’t opened their new first class lounge in Abu Dhabi.

Presently Etihad operates their own lounges in eight cities, including Abu Dhabi, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Paris, Sydney, and Washington.

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Much like most of their outstation lounges, I would guess the New York JFK lounge will be a shared first & business class space, probably very similar to the Etihad Lounge London Heathrow.

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The food at Etihad lounges is typically quite good, I’d say better than the average business class lounge but not quite as good as the top first class lounges.

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My guess is that they’ll have a Six Senses Spa… I do love a spa treatment before a longhaul flight!

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Bottom line

Color me very excited about Etihad opening their own lounge in New York. It should be a huge improvement over The Wingtips Lounge. Here’s to hoping it actually opens anywhere reasonably close to on time.

Comments

  1. Hopefully this will reduce the alleged congestion at the two Wingtips lounges in the evening to some degree. Wingtips is not allowing anyone with Priority Pass into their lounges between 6pm and 10pm. Apparently Wingtips was able to get an exception from Priority Pass for this policy. I have complained to American Express as well.

  2. On the food at the lounge — yesterday I flew EY F on the A380 from AUH. I was seated in the first class roped-off section in the AUH lounge and the server asked me if I would like any special food. I responded, somewhat in disbelief: “what kind of special food?” And then he said: “how would you like a delightful prawn curry? I’ll bring it to your seat” And he did, and it was divine! Yes, it’s no balik salmon, but still: it was really, really good and made fresh, as opposed to sitting on the buffet.

    Side note — the fit and finish of the EY lounge is absolutely brilliant. I love the combination of the desert tones with the light blue and orange splashes. The furniture is gorgeous as well. To me, it seems more fresh (and visually inspiring) than the vast emptiness of the EK F “concourse”.

  3. That is exciting but I’m surprised there is still space for a new lounge at JFK Terminal 4! Do you remember whereabouts it was? On the same floor as the VS Clubhouse/EK Lounge/Air India lounge? Or right by the McDonald’s on the left side?
    When I was EK Gold, I visited over 10 of their EK lounges around the world and I recall each of them being almost the same! The brand was certainly consistent in each of them though I wished they put a local flair in each of their lounges.
    Do you think the new EY lounge will have direct access to the upper deck of the EY A380 (similar to the way JFK EK lounge is setup?)

  4. How kind of them to open a new lounge, just as they killed off all A380 GuestFirst availability in 2016….

  5. Slightly off topic, but we’ll be flying AUH-JFK on EY in F, then connecting onward on American Eagle (you’ve heard of them, right, Ben?) 🙂 So arriving into Terminal 4 and departing Terminal 8. Flagship Lounge access?? We are just Platinum, not EXP. I’ve been told that if we were arriving on an F ticket of a OW partner we would, but we won’t since it’s an AA non-OW partner.

  6. It looks like Wingtips has moved to where the old “The Lounge” was (between Swiss and El Al, above the entrance to Concourse B). By Ben’s description (to the left of security) I assume this is going in where the old Wingtips was (above the entrance to Concourse A, across from the chapels). Unlikely to offer upper level boarding straight from the lounge in this case…

  7. @ Mike — You unfortunately wouldn’t, since Etihad isn’t in oneworld. So no lounge access based on your status or your inbound class of service, unfortunately.

  8. @ Joey — It’s the same level as the Clubhouse in the sense that it’s one level up from the main concourse. But literally when you go through security it’s immediately on the left. Due to the location I don’t think they’ll offer direct boarding from the lounge.

  9. @ILDC

    you can always book a biz award and upgrade with cash at the airport… tho i am not sure how it will work on the A380, it may be pricey… does anyone know if they allow cash upgrades on the LHR and SYD routes A380? Thanks.

  10. Since JFK-bound customers clear US customs in Abu Dhabi would they allow arriving F and J passengers at JFK access to the lounge? What is the policy at LAX?

  11. @Adam I was in the Etihad AUH T3 Premium Lounge the other day too, and totally agree with you on the niceness of the Lounge.

    If you are lucky, you might even be offered The Residence À la Carte Menu in the roped off First section of the Premium Lounge (I was travelling First on the 777-300ER). Had a minor hiccup, and lounge staff were going above and beyond. Had a great Aussie steak off the menu, and noticed quite a few nice dishes on offer in that menu (was tempted to order the sliders but ultimately the steak won out). I wrote/added a short report onto Lucky’s review of the T3 Premium lounge about the special menu and the roped off section for those interested.

  12. Any updates on this? It’s now Oct and 2 months left in 2015
    I don’t think it’ll happen by my JFK-AUH flights in Nov anyway…

  13. Thanks !

    The Eithiad website still says that Wingtips is the lounge at JFK

    Can you please share pics of the new lounge

  14. Thanks !

    The Eithiad website still says that Wingtips is the lounge at JFK

    Can you please share pics of the new lounge when you get time

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