Alaska Airlines Lounge JFK Opening April 2018

Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America closed in December 2016, and the two airlines have been making good progress when it comes to their integration. As we’ve learned from past mergers, it takes years and years for airlines to be fully integrated.

Alaska-Virgin-America

Alaska and Virgin America completed a big step in the integration last week, as the two airlines are now on a single operating certificate, meaning that as far as the FAA is concerned, the two airlines are now one.

Today Alaska sent out an email sharing the progress of their integration. Almost everything in the email is stuff we already knew, and largely stuff we’ve known since last March, when the airline provided a roadmap for their future.

However, there’s one update I find especially interesting. We’ve known that Alaska is working on building a lounge at JFK, though we haven’t known exactly when it will open. Now we do. The new Alaska Lounge at New York JFK’s Terminal 7 will be opening in April 2018, so it’s only a few months from opening.

Alaska and Virgin America made the move to JFK’s Terminal 7 in October 2017, as previously the two airlines flew out of different terminals (Alaska operated out of Terminal 8, while Virgin America operated out of Terminal 4). Now all Alaska and Virgin America flights depart from the same terminal, though the bad news is that Terminal 7 is one of the worst at JFK.

The good news at least is that Alaska will soon be opening their lounge, which will be in the location of the former United Club (they stopped flying to JFK in October 2015), right next to the British Airways Lounge.

The other potential good news is that I suspect the Alaska Lounge JFK will be part of Priority Pass, which would make it the first Priority Pass lounge in the terminal. Ultimately I don’t have any inside information indicating that will be the case, though Alaska’s other lounges belong to Priority Pass, so I see no reason this one wouldn’t. That would be great not only for Alaska passengers, but also for passengers traveling on British Airways, Iberia, LOT, Ukraine, etc., who don’t have lounge access.

Alaska is also unique as far as US airlines go, in that they give lounge access to all paid first class passengers, regardless of whether they paid cash or redeemed miles (however, those who upgraded don’t get lounge access).

Comments

  1. Why the T7 hate? I miss the experience ever since UA pulled out of JFK. Curb to gate in 5 minutes. Lounges that are a 2 minute walk max from a gate. All the concessions inside are new or renovated in the past 5 years. Bags come out instantly.

    Seriously, what’s better…T4 with the mile walk to the gate? T8 AA with often closed Pre-Check? T1 security “experience”?

  2. @UA-NYC

    T7 is awful and probably the worst experience flying out of NYC, and you’re basically stuck in that drab hellhole.

    1- There is NO TSA Pre-check in the terminal, and there’s no priority security line either (at least one that’s consistently labeled.) You’re guaranteed to wait 25-40 minutes in cramped, crowded security queue. (Yes, the BA secret line exists but you don’t get to use it flying out of Alaska/Virgin.)

    2- There are virtually no concessions inside currently. Starbucks, McD’s, Bonfire, and a lot of the stores are all gone and have been for almost a half year. For AM flights only two vendors are open which means a 20 minute wait just for coffee (and they’ve actually -run out- of coffee at times!) Oh, but there’s a Michael Kors store… whoopee.

    3- There’s not enough bathrooms and the ones that are there are in disgustingly poor shape, meaning there’s often a line for that too.

    4- The gate area is way, way, way too small and lacks seating and power outlets. Getting to gates 11/12 requires going down (usually broken) one-way escalators into a dark cramped part of the terminal with zero concessions or working HVAC (then again the whole terminal seems to be having HVAC problems.) If two flights leave from adjacent gates it looks like a refugee camp.

    5- Planes require a tug to pull up to the gate meaning an additional 5-10 minutes on the Tarmac.

    6- The terminal smells terrible and despite being renovated several times is absolutely filthy. I appreciate they’re renovating it again but how was it ever okay in the first place?

    T8, despite its endless escalators was much better (at least the gate area is always quiet) though I’d take T5 any day of the week as it manages to both be easy to get in/out of -and- not be a cramped hellhole.

  3. @Alpha, thank you for the run-down! I was actually contemplating moving over to Alaska this year for my frequent West coast trips but reading this has me rethinking that plan.

  4. I wonder if this can be taken as any indication to the Port Authority’s future plans for Terminal 7. Why would Alaska invest in opening a lounge if the rumors of Terminal 7 being bought by JetBlue were true? Terminal 6 redevlopment seems like a sure thing at this point, and there’s no way B6 would allow AS into the same terminal if they got ther hands on Terminal 7 as well. Curious to see if this is Alaska throwing caution to the wind or if Terminal 7 remains with BA after all.

  5. T7 needs TSA Pre-check but that’s the biggest drawback for me. As far as stores, they are scenic but I don’t shop much at an airport. T2 isn’t that great. Even T8 doesn’t have stores that are useful. Ha, ha, newsstand and Swatch.

    I wonder if AS tried to get T1 space or if they could have forced their way into T4 where VX used to be?

  6. Did people complain about UA when they were at T7?

    Too bad the I.M. Pei designed T6 was torn down. I liked it. At least they could have saved the building by the roadway and demolished the gates in the back T6 building.

  7. So the new Alaska lounge is taking the place of the non-affiliated lounge that has been in place since the UA lounge closed?

    If so, what will LOT do for a lounge going forward?

  8. From what I heard AA (who runs T8) and Delta (who runs T4) told Alaska/Virgin to pound sand when the merger was approved, leaving them to find whatever dumpy terminal was left. T1 has a lot of problems and isn’t well suited, though at least it’s pretty.

    Once the renovations are complete, TSA Precheck comes (if ever), and the lounge opens it’ll solve some of the issues with T7, but IMO it needs a much more drastic overhaul to be up to the level of T5 or SFO T2. My guess is these renovations are just to make it bearable for the short term and in 10 years JetBlue will take over T7 and bulldoze it, with BA and the OneWorld carriers moving into an expanded T8 (which still hasn’t been fully built.)

    And who knows- maybe once the VX bitterness subsides Alaska and JetBlue start partnering because it sure seems like American and Delta want Alaska to drop dead.

  9. “The other potential good news is that I suspect the Alaska Lounge JFK will be part of Priority Pass, which would make it the first Priority Pass lounge in the terminal. ”

    The United red carpet club in T7 used to be PP….

  10. Having just flow out of T1 last night, I would say it hardly qualifies as a international port of departure. Arrived on TAP from Lisbon (J class) and connected to Philippine Air to YVR. Sky team lounge was a pigsty, with food strewn on the floor and tables filled with glasses and cans. No showers! Couldn’t even buy my way into a shower, and since I arrived at 2030, Priority Pass lounge access was denied at both AF lounge and Korean Air. Remind me to avoid JFK Terminal 1!

  11. @thomas – yeah, t1 is bursting at the seams and suffers because of it. you should see it during thunderstorm seasons when you have to wait 2-3 hours for a gate.

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