Review: Wingtips Lounge New York JFK Airport

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Our flight from New York to Tashkent was departing at 3PM. Matthew had taken a redeye to Newark, while I had spent the night at the Sheraton JFK (which I won’t be reviewing this time around, since I’ve reviewed it before).

I decided to head to the airport way early, at around 10:30AM. Uzbekistan Airways departs from JFK Terminal 4, which is used by Delta and many other international airlines. After Terminal 1, it’s probably my second least favorite terminal at JFK in terms of ease of use.


JFK Terminal 4 exterior

It always gets me excited to see the signs outside a terminal listing all kinds of exotic airlines (like Sun Country). 😉 In all honesty, too bad Arik Air suspended flights to New York, as I really wanted to fly them.


JFK Terminal 4 airlines

Uzbekistan Airways check-in counters weren’t open yet, though there was already a huge line of people waiting to check in.


Uzbekistan Airways check-in JFK Terminal 4


Uzbekistan Airways check-in JFK Terminal 4

Unfortunately there was a rather pushy contract worker “line manager” who kept raising his voice and yelling at everyone. I don’t think he realized that the issue with talking to some of the people wasn’t the volume, but rather that they didn’t speak English. He’d say something, they’d stare blankly at him, and then he’d just talk louder and more aggressively.

Finally at around 11AM check-in opened. There was no one in the business class line, so I was the first to check-in. There was an Uzbek station manager, and then the rest of the agents seemed to just be contract workers.

As I handed the contract worker my passport she gave me a weird look.

“You flying Uzbekistan?”
“Yep!”
“To Tasssh-kant?”
“Yep!”
“Okay, just making sure. We don’t see many people like you on this flight.”

Hah, alrighty then…


Uzbekistan Airways check-in JFK Terminal 4


Uzbekistan Airways check-in JFK Terminal 4

We weren’t able to assign seats in advance, so I asked them to assign us seats together, since Matthew would be checking in separately later. At this point the friendly station manager stood behind the lady helping me, and said “anything for business class.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not sure getting seats together quite qualifies as much of a special request.

The agent wrote me an invitation for the Wingtips Lounge, which Uzbekistan uses for their business class passengers.


Wingtips Lounge invitation JFK

Terminal 4 security can be a mess, though fortunately it was still pretty early in the day, so the whole process took only about 15 minutes. There’s a priority security lane at the very right of the checkpoint. Once through security I turned right, and then the Wingtips Lounge was located at the far end of the hall.


JFK Terminal 4 airside

It’s tough to miss the bright red exterior of the lounge.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport exterior

As you can see from the below sign, many international airlines use this as their contract lounge (though I’m not sure why Air Serbia is listed, since they use the Etihad Lounge, which is nearby).


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport exterior

My experience entering the lounge was a bit unusual.

“Hi.”
“Sorry, we’re closed.”
“Hmmm, is there another lounge I can use then?”
“No, there’s not another option.”
“But I have a lounge invitation for this lounge, so there’s not a replacement lounge I can use instead?”
“Oh, if you have an airline invitation we’re open.”

As it turned out, I guess they were referring to people trying to access the lounge through Priority Pass.

Once I was in the lounge, it quickly became apparent why they were turning people away. For that matter, I’m surprised they were open at all. The lounge was an active construction zone. The main part of the lounge was closed, with paper over the floors, chairs stacked, etc. I’ve never been in a lounge quite like this before…


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport construction


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport construction


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport construction

The only area of the lounge that wasn’t under construction was a small sitting area in the back corner of the lounge, which had a bit over a dozen chairs. There was a TV on the wall showing some sort of documentary about haunted places on high volume, which isn’t the best background noise when trying to work.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport seating


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport seating

On the plus side, the lounge has nice views of the gate area.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport view

The bathrooms were near the small seating area that was open, and were clean enough.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport bathroom


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport bathroom

It’s a bit odd that the buffet was open as usual, even though it was in the construction area. For a contract lounge I found the snack selection to be solid. There were cookies, fresh fruit, snack mix, etc.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport snacks

Then on the wall by the windows was the main buffet.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport buffet

There was even a sign describing much of the food selection.


Wingtips Lounge New York food selection

I’ll let the pictures of the food speak mostly for themselves.


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet


Wingtips Lounge New York buffet

There was also a fridge with soft drinks, wine, beer, juice, etc.


Wingtips Lounge New York drinks

The lounge had one of those cool fountains that can dispense either still or sparkling water. It was a bit odd using it given it was in the middle of a construction zone, but…


Wingtips Lounge New York water faucet

I was hoping to grab a coffee, though noticed that the coffee machine was totally covered up. When the lady noticed me looking at it she offered to make me a coffee from the machine, which was nice of her.


Wingtips Lounge JFK Airport construction

Anyway, I had a quick snack in the lounge and then decided to head to the gate area. Terminal 4 has some nice gate area seating, and I found that a much more relaxing space from which to work than the lounge (which I’m increasingly finding to be the case).


JFK Airport Terminal 4

The flight was departing from gate B31, which is quite a haul from the lounge. Note that Terminal 4 is huge, so no matter which airline you’re flying, leave plenty of time to get to the gate.


Uzbekistan Airways departure gate JFK

I sat down in the gate area and got some work done. Matthew arrived around the same time, so we met in the gate area.


JFK Terminal 4 seating

I kept an eye on Flightradar24 to see when the plane was arriving from Tashkent, given that the plane is on the ground in New York for just a few hours.


Uzbekistan Airways gate JFK

At around 12PM the plane pulled into the gate. Uzbekistan certainly has one of the more unique 787 liveries out there. I’m still undecided about whether I love or hate it.


Uzbekistan Airways 787 arriving at JFK


Uzbekistan Airways 787 arriving at JFK


Uzbekistan Airways 787 arriving at JFK

My boarding pass indicated that boarding would start at 1:30PM, which is a full 90 minutes before departure. I assumed that wasn’t actually the case, but rather was intended to make sure people get to the gate early. Oddly there were no gate agents at all until around 2PM. Finally at around 2:15PM boarding began, starting with wheelchair passengers, and then about five minutes later business class boarding began.


Uzbekistan Airways departure gate JFK

I couldn’t wait to see what Uzbekistan Airways was like!

Wingtips Lounge JFK bottom line

Obviously my Wingtips Lounge experience wasn’t reflective of what the experience usually is, given the construction. On the plus side, I was impressed by the food selection, so I look forward to seeing what the lounge is like when the renovation is complete. However, I suspect the lounge gets very crowded over peak hours.

Otherwise the check-in and boarding experience with Uzbekistan Airways was fairly easy. Terminal 4 at JFK isn’t my favorite, though we were leaving early enough in the day that it wasn’t a bad experience.

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Comments

  1. Even when its not under construction its not a great lounge. My most recent experiences there (especially on Thursdays and Fridays) is that its full of groups of 20 somethings pregaming for their flights to Vegas, LA, Miami, wherever. One dude in the bachelor party has the Chase Sapphire reserve and guested all of his buddies into the lounge. (Actually that was me earlier this year, but when i’m traveling for work, it sucks).

    The Delta Lounge in T4 is by far the better option.

  2. What experiences has anyone had accessing this lounge with a different terminal boarding pass? I know it will require a second trip through security, but LoungeBuddy says that “Passengers departing from other terminals will not be able to enter this lounge”.

  3. @Brian. No experience, but it would really not be worth the trouble. I would buy a refundable ticket on Delta and use their lounge before I bothered to use this lounge. It really is terrible.

  4. That actually looks like an improvement since I last went there, before Etihad had their won lounge in JFK.

  5. Other people had cards that allowed Priority pass before but the deplorables came out of the woodwork with the chase sapphire reserve. All complete aholes.

  6. I love that they’ve fancy-stacked the Lorna Doone cookies in the cookie jars. Clearly someone’s watched Kloe Kardashian tutorials.

  7. Whenever I’m traveling I always wonder if I’ll look up and see you on the same flight. I’m sitting in the JFK Admiral’s lounge in terminal 8 wondering where Lucky is today. To think only a few hours ago you were in JFK.

  8. What does this means?
    “Okay, just making sure. We don’t see many people like you on this flight.”

  9. @Ben. SQ use the Virgin Clubhouse for Suites. And there’s a Swiss lounge in the terminal that eligible Star Alliance customers can use. So I’m not sure who is sent to this lounge from SQ.

  10. @lovetospendit it means how rare it is to see a tall, white, blonde male flying to Uzbekistan, where the majority of people have a different appearance.

  11. Love this review, such a classic dreadful JFK experience start to finish. This has been an issue for about uh 35 years: “Unfortunately there was a rather pushy contract worker ‘line manager’ who kept raising his voice and yelling at everyone. I don’t think he realized that the issue with talking to some of the people wasn’t the volume, but rather that they didn’t speak English. He’d say something, they’d stare blankly at him, and then he’d just talk louder and more aggressively.”

    The Froot Loops in the lounge are a metaphor for the entire experience start to finish: wacky and saccharine.

  12. Well, that’s depressing . . . I’m flying out of T4 later this year — though, fortunately on the “A” side — and was hoping to use this lounge (since I can’t access the VS Clubhouse on this trip). Seems like I’m better off hanging out in one of the restaurants drinking Champagne . . .

  13. Yeah, I also thought SQ passengers had access to the VS Clubhouse too.

    Man, poor Kuwait Airways…from the (old) Lufthansa lounge to Aer Lingus to…this.

  14. Really poor like the Korean Air business class “lounge” at LAX. Terrible. Stale nachos, cheap salsa, and veggies. Nice. No thanks.

  15. wow nice imporvement a year and a half ago i was there and it was an absolue shit hole,
    as a ny resident this is a great upgrade from what it was

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