Introduction: A Quick Jaunt On Saudia, Jet, And Tunisair
Review: Korean Air First Class Lounge New York JFK Airport
Review: Saudia First Class 777-300ER New York To Riyadh
Review: Saudia First Class Lounge Riyadh Airport
Review: Saudia First Class 777-300ER Riyadh To Dubai
Review: Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights
Review: Marhaba Lounge Dubai Airport
Review: SkyTeam Lounge Dubai Airport
Review: Jet Airways Business Class 737 Dubai To Mumbai
Review: GVK Lounge Mumbai Airport
Review: Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER Mumbai To London
Review: Yotel London Heathrow Terminal 4
Review: SkyTeam Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Tunisair A320 Business Class London To Tunis
Review: Sheraton Tunis
Review: Tunis Airport Lounge
Review: Tunisair Business Class A330 Tunis To Montreal
My flight from New York to Riyadh was departing at 5PM, so I arrived at JFK’s Terminal 1 at around 2PM. Saudia’s check-in counter was in Zone A, at the very right of the terminal, near Air France’s first class check-in counter. There was quite a crowd waiting in the economy line, though the First Suite counter was empty.
Saudia seems to use contract workers at JFK, and the lady checking me in was very friendly, and issued my boarding passes all the way to Dubai within a minute.
She also put some beautiful “First Suite” cabin baggage tags on my carry-ons (without weighing them, fortunately). Those are some of the cooler cabin baggage tags I’ve seen.
She gave me an invitation to the Korean Air Lounge, which Saudia uses for their premium passengers at JFK. JFK’s Terminal 1 is an absolute zoo in the afternoons, given that it’s where most international airlines depart from. So not only do you have huge lines, but you have a lot of foreigners not familiar with TSA screening policies.
The queues at security were massive. There’s also a priority lane, though in the past it usually hasn’t moved faster than the others, in my experience. That wasn’t the case this time around, however, and I was through within maybe 15 minutes.
While this is nothing new, the TSA’s disrespect for passengers never ceases to amaze me. The lady working the lane I was using was literally throwing peoples’ stuff around. If people put their shoes in bins, she’d take them out and throw them on the belt. Not place them on the belt, but literally drop them from a couple of feet up with force. The same was true when people put laptops in bins with other things. It’s not often I’m tempted to file a complaint with the TSA (since I’ve become use to this kind of stuff), but her behavior was ridiculous.
Once airside I decided to first check out the Saudia departure gate, which was Gate 6.
Sure enough, the Saudia 777-300ER had already arrived a couple of hours prior.
I then headed to the Korean Air Lounge, located in the other wing, near Gate 1.
The lounge is on the second level, so can be accessed either by stairs or elevator. As you can see, in addition to handling Korean Air passengers, the lounge is also open to Aeroflot and Saudia customers, as well as Priority Pass members.
At the reception desk I presented my lounge invitation and was welcomed into the lounge. The associate didn’t indicate which side of the lounge I could use, so I said “I can use the first class lounge, right?” She said yes, so I turned left to the first class section. I’ve reviewed the Korean Air business class lounge before (which is pretty disappointing), when I flew LOT Polish from New York to Warsaw a few years back, so I won’t be reviewing that this time around.
The Korean Air first class lounge is just a decent size room with maybe a couple of dozen seats.
On the plus side, the lounge has floor to ceiling windows, so there’s lots of natural light in the lounge. There are also some nice views of the tarmac, though they’re a bit obstructed by the terminal.
Near the entrance to the lounge was a rack with some magazines and newspapers, and next to that was a Korean Air A380 model airplane.
The buffet was located along the interior wall of the lounge, and was pretty sad for an international first class lounge.
In terms of food there was snack mix, whole fruit, baklava, muffins, pastries, packaged cookies, chips, and instant noodles.
On top of that there was a fridge with packaged cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit, and sandwiches.
Then there were soft drinks, juice, beer, coffee, an espresso machine, a very basic selection of liquor, and a single bottle of white wine.
I’ve never quite understood why all Korean Air lounges have packaged water to drink out of, rather than bottles. I can get how that might be practical sometimes, but in an international first class lounge? Really?
I spent most of the time in the lounge getting caught up on work (the wifi was fast, at least), and then had a bathroom incident in the lounge, which I’ve already written about. I can’t seem to go into this lounge without having issues, since I also had problems the last time I was here.
One interesting thing is that I believe Saudia uses the Korean Air first class lounge for all their premium passengers. At least I assume that’s the case, since there were about a dozen people using the lounge, while there was only one other passenger in first class. That’s not exactly a huge expense, given that the spread in the first class lounge isn’t much better than in the business class section.
Boarding was scheduled to start at 4PM, so I headed to the gate at around 3:45PM, and once again snapped a couple of pictures of the plane.
It’s not often you see “God Bless You” written near the nose of a plane.
Finally at 4:10PM priority boarding started. I couldn’t wait to see what the onboard experience would be like!
Korean Air First Lounge JFK bottom line
The Korean Air First Class Lounge JFK is reasonably comfortable and has lots of natural light, but that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. While Korean Air has a fantastic onboard product, their lounges across the world are among the worst out there. Absolutely embarrassing, in my opinion.