I was travelling from New York to Doha, Qatar in business class on a new Qatar Airways A350-1000.  This aircraft is outfitted with Qatar’s famous Qsuite.  I was looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy the seat and Qatar’s world’s best business class (according to Skytrax) on a long transatlantic flight.

The flight departed from JFK Terminal 7.  At check in, the agent presented me with the boarding pass and an invitation the the British Airways First Lounge.  I had been in this lounge before and found it to be almost depressing.  The lounge had been remodeled, and it would be interesting to see the changes.

Other posts from this trip:

Qatar A350-1000 Business Class (QSuite) New York, NY to Doha, Qatar – Flight Review

Qatar Airways Al Sawfa First Class Lounge, Doha, Qatar -Lounge Review

Qatar A350-900 Business Class Doha, Qatar to Bangkok, Thailand – Flight Review

Bangkok Airways Lounge Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) – Lounge REview

Bangkok AIrways Blue Ribbon Lounge, Bangkok, Thailand – Prioruity Pass Lounge Review

Bangkok AIrweays A320 Economy Class, Bangkok (BKK) to Phuket, Thailand (HKT) -Fight Review

Amari Phuket Resort, Phuket, Thailand – Hotel Review

 

British Airways First Lounge Location, Hours, Access

The First Lounge is located in Terminal 7 inside security.  Getting through security was relatively painless now that Qatar participates in TSAPre.  Entering the duty-free area take the escalators on the left up one level.  The entrance to the British Airways First and Club (business class) Lounges will be ahead.  This lounge is open from 05:00 to 22:00 daily.

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Entrance to the First and Club lounges.  The First Lounge is to the left, the Club Lounge to the right.  The ANA sign indicates this lounge is not limited to Oneworld airlines.

With at least one exception noted above, these lounges serve passengers on Oneworld airlines departing from Terminal 7 including British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia Airlines and Qantas.  Access to the First Lounge is restricted to Oneworld passengers flying in first class or having Oneworld Emerald status.  Oneworld Emeralds may invite one guest.    First class passengers on British Airways are better off using British Airways’ exclusive and luxurious Concorde Room also in JFK Terminal 7.

Lounge Features

The receptionist directed me to the First Lounge on the left.  Before being remodeled, the first lounge was essentially one large room. with outdated furniture and few electrical outlets.  It is now divided into several spaces dedicated to seating, dinning, work and wine.  The lounge occupies nearly 5,500 square feet and is substantially larger than the previous version.

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Modern comfortable lounge seating and plenty of convenient electrical outlets.

The decor is modern and clean but slightly sterile.  It lacks the homey feel of the British Airway Galleries Lounge at Newark, NJ (EWR) photo below.img_3368

Light fare and beverages are available on a small buffet near the seating area.20190506_171328

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Fruit and a few sandwiches  were on display for breakfast.

More light snacks, booze, juice and other beverages are available in the stylish bar located at the rear of the main seating area. 20190824_205324

There is a good selection of premium liquor.20190824_205935

The First Lounge has a la carte dining with waiter service and a buffet.   There was nothing on the buffet when I visited around 10:00.  According to British Airways’ website, pre-flight dining is available after 18:00.

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Buffet area and a pancake machine that was not operating.
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Pre-flight dining should be available after 18:00.  The dining area has airport views.

Some features are unique.   There’s a room dedicated to wine that has a wine cellar and  a nifty Enoline wine pouring machine, for instance.

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Wine Room

The Work Room has a giant worktable, printer, TVs, and magazines and newspapers.  Some might prefer working in greater privacy with fewer distractions.

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Work Room

Another nice feature is a luggage room with lockers big enough for large carry-on bags.  Lockers come in handy when I need to leave a lounge and don’t want to lug around a carry on or backpack.  I wonder how many people put an item(s) in a locker and forget to get it before leaving.  20190506_170910

Showers and the Elemis Spa are located in the adjacent Club Lounge.  I went to see the spa, but it was closed.  When open, the spa offers a range of complimentary services.

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The trip to the spa was not wasted because the pancake machine in the Club Lounge was on.20190506_173324

Overall Impression

The remodeling project greatly improved the appearance of the First Lounge.  This lounge looks nice and has some great features like private dining (if eligible) and a Wine Room and better than average premium liquor and wine.  The lounge also has access to the Elemis Spa (when open) with complimentary spa treatments.  On the other hand,  it appears that when the dining area and buffet are closed as during my visit, the food offered is considerably less substantial than what should be available in a first-class lounge.

Perhaps the First Lounge might be nicer if not for the fabulous British Airways Concorde Room, which is open only to passengers travelling in first class and is  located in the same terminal.  The recently remodeled Club Lounge next door is larger, brighter, and more vibrant than the First Lounge.  I think it might be a more fun place to hangout before a flight.

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