Review: Air France Lounge New York JFK

Review: Air France Lounge New York JFK

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This Review of the Air France Lounge at New York JFK (also a Priority Pass Lounge) in Terminal 1 is from our recent visit prior to an Air France Business Class flight to Paris–stay tuned for that review and video.

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Air France Lounge New York JFK Location, Access and Hours

The Air France Lounge New York JFK is located in Terminal 1, after security, near Gate 1. The lounge is open daily from 6am until 1am.

Air France/KLM Business Class and La Premiere First Class passengers have access to the lounge during all of its opening hours. Priority Pass members only have access to the lounge 8am-1pm and 11:30pm-12:30am; they don't have access between 1pm-11:30pm.

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Here's our Air France Lounge New York JFK YouTube Video Review:

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Air France Lounge New York JFK Amenities

After checking in at the lounge reception with our Air France Business Class boarding pass, we were invited to enjoy the pre-flight dinner available in the dining area of the lounge, up the escalator on the 2nd floor. There's also seating on the ground floor of the lounge, including by the enormous floor to ceiling windows. Here's a view of that area from the 2nd floor dining area.

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On the ground floor there are some shower rooms available. It didn't look like these were renovated much if at all during the dining room renovations in 2018, as they were very basic.

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The shower was just a regular shower, no rain shower head, and there was an unlabeled combined shampoo/shower gel dispenser bolted to the wall. Rather unimpressive shower rooms for a lounge which has a La Prairie Spa, although we didn't have a chance to see the spa.

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Air France Lounge New York JFK Pre-Flight Dinner

Air France touts the fact that it improved its Night Service pre-flight dinner offering and space, which debuted in December 2018. The service provides the same courses in the lounge as are available on board the flight, and the updated furniture and lighting are meant to resemble a Parisian brasserie.

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Seating was mostly at tables for two, in a blue and white color scheme. The candles added a cozy touch, although the fact that the tables were numbered undermines the brasserie feeling Air France is going for.

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I did really like the convenient power outlets under the side table, perfect for charging our devices while dining.

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There was already a menu at our table, which was good. Unfortunately, despite a surfeit of staff, no one seemed to be inclined to take our order, even though we looked around while settling our bags by the table.

Finally, we took a menu up to the buffet and asked one of the staff to take our order. They refused to do so, unless we were “sitting down.” My husband explained that we didn't have much time, so we wanted to place our order now, while we helped ourselves to the buffet. No dice. They insisted that we sit down, even though the chair was uncomfortable for my husband and he wanted to sit as little as possible. So finally, I gave up and sat down at the table and ordered for both of us. Incredibly frustrating and annoying, particularly as there were only two other couples in the lounge at the time–it's not as if it was so difficult to figure out which table our orders should go to.

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Fortunately at least some of the food was better than the passive aggressive staff. There was an assortment of cheeses and plenty of greens and vegetables available on the salad bar:

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There was also an impressive array of different bread rolls and crisp breads.

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The raisin and nut crisp bread, salad, brie and goat cheese were a good way to start while we waited for the rest of our dinner to arrive.

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There were also a couple of soups on offer, minestrone and butternut squash soup, but they didn't look that appealing, and didn't try them.

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The appetizer was very good: foie gras with a quinoa-barley salad with feta.

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My husband had chosen the mushroom risotto with chestnut sauce, which was gluey and inedible.

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My main of sauteed shrimp with vanilla beurre blanc sauce and aa basil-mozzarella flan, however, was delicious. It was hard to believe they came out of the same kitchen.

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Since there were la Fermiere yogurts, we chose those for dessert; I really enjoyed the strawberry pomegranate flavor.

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There was also a buffet of various desserts, but since we were bound for Paris, I wasn't tempted by them. Now, if the lounge had had some Pierre Herme macarons, as the Delta SkyClub in JFK Terminal 4 has, that would have been a different story.

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The Verdict

Very few business class flights these days offer menu service for pre-flight dining; most airlines only offer a buffet for their business class passengers, so kudos to Air France for the tasteful Parisian brasserie concept and offering four main course choices that are the same as what you'd find in the in-flight menu. Having the salad, cheese, bread, and dessert on the buffet is perfect for those who either don't want a full meal before the flight or are in a hurry and only have time for something quick.

Unfortunately, the overly regimented, passive aggressive attitude staff really ruined our experience. Given that the chair was uncomfortable for my husband and he wanted to sit down as little as possible, combined with the fact that the dining room was practically empty, it should have been possible for him to point out the dish he wanted to order instead of being forced to sit down so that a server would take his order. And as it turned out, his mushroom risotto was gluey and disgusting, so we definitely don't recommend ordering a risotto if it's on the menu. My main of shrimp with basil-mozzarella flan, however, was delicious, and the foie gras with quinoa salad appetizer, cheese and bread selection, salad bar offerings, and La Fermiere yogurt were all very good as well.

In sum, this could be a great lounge if they got rid of the entire dining room staff and replaced them, either with genuinely helpful and service-oriented people, or even robots–either would be preferable to their current staff.

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2 Comments on "Review: Air France Lounge New York JFK"

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Jason
Guest

WOW… so disappointing to hear about the service. Just appalling. The staff must have a major inferiority complex, needing to boss around the business class customers and “putting them in their place”. Well, I guess it’s very clear why the staff has and will always have low paying jobs.

Hilary Stockton
Guest

It was really strange, and perhaps there is some strict rule they have to follow that they can only take orders from seated passengers, perhaps due to order mixups in the past. But if that’s the case, it would have been helpful to hear that, rather than not provide any explanation for their intransigent approach. Like I said, we were one of only three parties dining in the lounge at the time, so it was very clear where we were sitting.