Review: Etihad Airways Lounge New York JFK

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Review: Etihad Airways Lounge New York JFK
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Our flight from Miami landed at JFK at around 10AM, while our connection to Abu Dhabi was departing at 2:30PM. This required switching terminals, as we landed in American’s Terminal 8, while Etihad operates out of Terminal 4. Taking the train system between terminals was pretty quick, though then we found ourselves in the mess which is the security screening checkpoint at Terminal 4.

While there is a premium line, it tends to be really long, and I also find the passengers at this terminal to be the least familiar with the security screening process. So it’s not just that there are a ton of people trying to get through the checkpoint, but every second bag seems to require a secondary inspection, etc. I wish they made airside connections between terminals possible at JFK.

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JFK Airport Terminal 4 security checkpoint

About 45 minutes after landing from Miami we found ourselves airside in Terminal 4, excited to check out the brand new Etihad Lounge, which had opened just a few weeks prior.

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JFK Airport Terminal 4

While other lounges are deeper into the terminal, Etihad’s lounge is just past the security checkpoint, before you even take the escalator down to the concours level. The exterior of the lounge is gorgeous. You don’t often see airline lounge exteriors which are this unique.

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Etihad Lounge exterior New York

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Etihad Lounge signage New York

Once inside the lounge we were welcomed by a friendly associate dressed in Etihad’s stunning uniform, who informed us that boarding would be called when the flight was ready.

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Etihad Lounge entrance New York

We were the very first guests in the lounge. I would note that Etihad doesn’t contract this lounge out to any other airlines, so it’s only open for a few hours a day leading up to the departure of the Etihad flight. That’s quite an investment they’re making in their product, as I imagine the lounge isn’t cheap to operate.

The lounge itself is even more beautiful on the inside than on the outside. The general layout of the lounge is that there’s a bar area, then traditional leather seats for lounging near the entrance and along the window, and then a separate dining area with a buffet.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK

The centerpiece of the lounge was the bar, which had a distinctive design, with great tarmac views in the background.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK bar

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK bar

Past the bar was tons more seating, including some individual leather chairs facing the windows, and then sets of four seats along the opposite wall.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK dining area

Then back towards the entrance was the dining area, where there were plenty of dining tables each seating two to four people. There were a few tables in the main part of the lounge.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK dining area

Then there was a partitioned off dining area in a long and narrow room, with about a dozen tables.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK dining area

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK dining area

The lounge had great views of Terminal 4 (which is home to a nice variety of airlines), and of the taxiways in the distance, so there was no shortage of plane spotting.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK view

In the far corner of the lounge were the bathrooms and prayer rooms.

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Etihad Lounge JFK prayer room

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Etihad Lounge JFK prayer room

The bathroom was nice, though I’d note that the shower room is located inside the main bathroom, which I found a bit odd. Fortunately it was still completely private, and it was plenty spacious.

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Etihad Lounge JFK shower room

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Etihad Lounge JFK shower room

After finishing exploring the lounge we decided to settle into one of the sets of four seats. Our friend Matt was joining us for the flight to Abu Dhabi, though he only made it to the lounge about an hour after we did.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK seating

As soon as we settled in we were welcomed by the friendly servers, who offered us beverages and warm towels. It’s not often you get that kind of service in an airline lounge in the US! We stuck with ice water for the time being, as we figured we’d wait until Matt arrived before having a drink.

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Etihad Airways Lounge JFK ice water and hot towel

The buffet finished being set up shortly after we arrived in the lounge, and the food looked great.

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Etihad Lounge JFK buffet

There was a selection of soft drinks, water (including Pellegrino, yay!), an espresso machine, tea, Arabic coffee, etc.

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Etihad Lounge JFK buffet

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Etihad Lounge JFK sweets

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Etihad Lounge JFK espresso machine

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Etihad Lounge JFK tea selection

In that same area there were delicious looking cookies and brownies.

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Etihad Lounge JFK sweets

The food spread itself looked great, and featured salad, cheese, fresh fruit, hummus, etc.

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch buffet

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch buffet

There were also a few hot dishes.

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch buffet

However, the above selection was only intended to supplement the lounge’s incredible menu. The lounge had both an a la carte dining menu, as well as one of the most impressive (and travel themed) cocktail lists I’ve ever seen.

The menu read as follows:

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Here was the description of the buffet items:

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The beverage list read as follows:

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Once Matt arrived we ordered our first round of cocktails. They were simply incredible — they tasted great, the presentation was gorgeous, and I loved that each cocktail was named after a city.

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Etihad Lounge JFK cocktails

We asked if they had some mixed nuts to snack on, and sure enough we were quickly brought out a ramekin with nuts.

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Etihad Lounge JFK mixed nuts

We then decided to order food off the menu. They gladly served it to us where we were seated, so we didn’t have to go the dining area. Ford had the vegetable chorba, which he enjoyed.

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch — vegetable chorba soup

Matt and I split the Arabic mezze, which was simple but excellent.

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch — Arabic mezze

For the main, Matt had the lamb biryani.

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch — lamb biryani

I had the Indian spiced pan seared salmon, which was incredible.

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Etihad Lounge JFK lunch — Indian spiced pan seared salmon

We ordered another round of drinks…

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Etihad Lounge JFK cocktails

And then another round of drinks…

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Etihad Lounge JFK champagne

Then we split the chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream, which was also tasty.

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Etihad Lounge JFK dessert — chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream

By around 1PM the lounge was a bit more full, though by no means crowded. I overheard that there were a total of 67 premium passengers on the flight (out of a total of 79 first & business class seats), so that’s a pretty good load.

Around 1PM the lounge staff came around with Arabic coffee & dates, which was a nice, authentic touch.

We headed to our departure gate at around 1:45PM. It was a five minute walk away, and boarding finally started at around 2:05PM, just 25 minutes before departure.

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Etihad A380 New York JFK

Etihad Lounge JFK bottom line

I was very pleasantly surprised by the Etihad Lounge New York. It’s physically a beautiful space with attentive service, creative cocktails, and a delicious menu off of which you can order. This lounge would easily rank on my list of the top five airline lounges in the US.

If you’ve visited the Etihad Lounge in New York, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. You know, I pass through JFK Terminal 4 several times a month but I never see the Etihad lounge after the security screening. Do you go to the right or to the left? Then again, I’ve never been there yet though hopefully someday I will. Did you guys see the ‘private room’ dedicated to the Residence passenger? I heard it was within a wall?
    I’m normally in JFK Terminal 4 because I fly Delta fairly frequently. If I am going during the busy period of Terminal 4 and flying Delta, I always do my security screening in Terminal 2 which is significantly shorter and then take the JFK Jitney bus to Terminal 4. I think only Delta passengers can do that though.
    Anyway, that Etihad lounge looks great and I highly doubt that lounge ever runs out of food. 😉 Hopefully they didn’t run out of your food choices up in the air. Two friends recently flew AUH-JFK on EY apartments and both told me their first and second food choices were gone by the time they ordered.
    By the way, from your description it seems like you can’t board from the EY lounge directly to the A380? I know JFK Emirates lounge you can do that.

  2. @patrick smith- lucky flew on Etihad Christmas Day. They had the decorations up. I lived in Abu Dhabi for a long time and come December you’d see Christmas trees everywhere. Malls, hotels, etc. it was always amusing.

    I’ve enjoyed the Etihad JFK lounge. Beautiful and excellent service. Highly recommend

  3. Wow, the lounge does sound great for a US lounge! What was the Champagne that was on offer? What other wines did they have? I drink wine and not liquor so was wondering what the options were. Thank you!

  4. Is it possible or realistic to use this as an arrivals lounge from the inbound AUH-JFK flight in F? Our connecting flight departs at 12pm to CLT, not sure from which terminal….

  5. You kept saying “our” and “we” but didn’t say who this additional person was until nearly the end of the post (i.e., Ford). Strange.

  6. Joey – the Etihad lounge is on the left after security, you just have to keep going all the way to the end and its on the right hand side. But the lounge isn’t really visible from the security area.

    Lucky – the lounge has added another item to the a la carte menu – the Baharat spiced rack of lamb. That was possibly the best lamb dish I have ever tried. The lounge, the service (including the staff taking incredible care of the 3 kids of a family that was seated near me), the food – everything was just amazing.

  7. @patrick smith

    I know this might blow your mind, but…they have churches in the UAE. For real!

  8. I had the biryani in the lounge as l thought l might not get it onboard. I loved almost everything about the lounge. Only downside was it was packed to the rafters when I flew.

  9. Hello, FWIW, all the cocktails named after locations have been discontinued. Am actually posting this from the lounge at JFK right now. Sad but true. Food a bit limited as well but service top notch.

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