Airport Lounge Review: Air France Lounge, JFK Terminal 1

For an international terminal, New York’s JFK Terminal 1 is a pretty crappy terminal. Its filled with a couple upscale stores and a lot of cheap shops, in additional to a handful of cheap food vendors. Its also home to the Air France Lounge, which is a surprisingly nice lounge with part-time Priority Pass access! 

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Entrance to the Air France Lounge!

The Air France Lounge is located post-secured at the end of the corridor near Gate 2. Spoiler alert, you will pass another Priority Pass lounge, the Korean Air Lounge, en route, keep walking; the Air France Lounge is wayyyy better. The entrance is marked with what appears to be an Air France wall.

When we visited the Air France Lounge on a Friday morning, it was pretty empty. We may have been the first guests! The lady cheking us in was pleasant enough, although I am not sure she loved that we were Priority Pass members…

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The check-in desk.

After check-in we explored the lounge, which is spread among two very modern floors with minimal plane spotting opportunities and many more car spotting opportunities.

THE SET UP

As I mentioned, the Air France Lounge has two floors, and they are set up pretty similarly. The entire Air France Lounge is done in a modern theme with futuristic chairs scattered throughout, some set up around small tables, some in sections of two, and others on their own. The lounge also has awesome glass windows, which would be much better if they actually over looked a runway…and some sky lighting – great to combat  jet lag and much better than the dark, depressing Terminal 1.

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2 top tables.

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More seating.

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Big screen TVs scattered around.

The second floor of the Air France lounge is set up similarly to the first floor, but its a bit smaller. The second floor also has bar set up (in terms of seating, not drinking), with slightly better views of a runway (due to its height).

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Escalator.

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Second floor.

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A tiny bit of plane spotting.

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More futuristic seats.

THE FOOD

There is a cafe area on both the first and second floors, and they appeared to be pretty much identical. On a Friday morning at 8:00 a.m., when we visited, the food was pretty light (equally light on both floors). On offer were Rice Krispie Treats (breakfast of champions?), a variety of chips, fruit, cookies, a selection of bread (that was a bit stale), a few yogurts, and a small spread of fruit salad, meats, and cheese. This was decent for breakfast, but certainly not enough to tide me over for a long flight – I was STARVING when I got to Tokyo! I hope that the offerings are more substantial during the dinner hours.

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Floor 1 cafe.

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Delicious yogurt in the nicest container.

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Snacks.

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Ramen?

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Rice Krispie Treats and cookies.  Odd breakfast selection.

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Meat and cheese.

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Bread.

THE DRINKS

The drink selection was MUCH better than the food selection at 8 am on a Friday. In terms of wine (I mean, it is a French lounge), the Air France Lounge served real champagne (!!), St. Emilion red wine, Coronoa and Sam Adam’s beer, and a selection of liquors. The lounge even had a Carte des Vins. Scores better than what the Korean Air Lounge offers.

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St. Emilion wine in a free airport lounge.

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Cartes des Vins.

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The hard stuff.  Stayed away at 8 am.

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More liquor.

There is also a cooler of just water, soda, canned juice, and the most amazingly fabulous espresso machine!

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Beer and soda cans.

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That fabulous espresso machine.

AMENITIES

The Air France Lounge has good wifi (although I use Boingo, thanks AmEx Centurion!) so I was not using it my entire visit. The Air France Lounge also has TVs scattered throughout the lounge, mostly playing CNN, and a selection of English and French magazines in hard cover and available via the Air France app (which I did not download).

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Magazines and newspaper.

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Air France app.

There were also signs for some sort of Clarins “facial.” This was not happening at 8 a.m., but I am really curious as to this feature!

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Maybe a free facial?

The Air France Lounge also has bathrooms in the lounge (not a guarantee these days) and showers that are free to use. I peeped in, and I suppose they would be ok for a quick shower after a long flight. Nothing amazing.

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One of the showers.

Aside from its amenities, the main drew of the lounge is really just not having to spend any time in Terminal 1. Its seriously the worst.

If you are planning to visit the Air France Lounge, keep in mind that Priority Pass members are only permitted to visit during certain hours, which exclude popular European evening flight departure times. In the morning though, its a pretty relaxing time. Bonus for us, our gate was right next to the entrance!!

STEAL OUR LOUNGE

Air France Lounge: JFK Terminal 1, airside near Gate 1. Open daily 6:00 – 17:30 and 23:00 – 1:00 (it is actually open all day, but shuts out Priority Pass members between 17:30 and 23:00). Offers wifi, showers, and refreshments – including Champagne and a Clarins wellness area!

Korean Air Lounge: New York JFK, Terminal 1, air-side (post-security), near Gate 3.  Open 14:00 – 20:30 daily.  Accepts Priority Pass and Lounge Buddy, and possibly other cards.

Lufthansa Business Lounge (the non-Priority Pass Lounge in T1): JFK Terminal 1, airside near Gate 3. Open daily 10:00 – 23:30. Rumored to be one of Lufthansa’s nicest lounges in the US!

ON A BUDGET

I do not think that the Air France Lounge sells day passes. Instead, bring snacks or plan to spend too much on a couple craft beers or wine at the Medalist Bar.

 

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