Air France Lounge @ JFK

One thing we enjoy doing on our way to Japan is visiting airport lounges. Not all the lounges are excellent, but it is better than waiting for your flight at the gate. We booked our flights with JAL, and like so many other airlines, JAL was partnering with Air France Lounge. It seemed like all of the SkyTeam Alliance airlines are using this lounge… It is located at the international terminal 1, right next to gate 1. Upon entering, we showed our flight tickets and they stamped WiFi password on the back. If you are entering with Priority Pass, They have some restrictions, and that you might not be able to enter at certain times of the day, or if the lounge is too busy.

Since we were accessing the lounge with Premier Economy tickets, we were asked to stay on the main floor. I assume the second floor is only for Business and First class? We were fine with the first floor, it had everything we needed. We went there early in the morning, so it was almost empty. Nice and quiet, an oasis in a busy JFK terminal.

It was nice and bright with natural lights, thanks to the huge window from floor to ceiling. They had additional lights everywhere, making it extra bright everywhere. And even though this lounge is shared among many airlines, it is still the Air France Lounge, and they had a huge logo on the wall, proudly letting us know who this lounge really belongs to.

They also had windows on the ceiling, going all the way from the front to the back of the wall. It also shined some lights on the second floor area, which I was only able to peek just a little from the ground level.

They had really cute and colorful chairs and decorations at the front, near the entrance. It created fun and cheerful atmosphere, perfect for the upcoming flight to wherever your destination may be. Since we were going to be there for a few hours, we chose not-so-colorful chairs, but suitable for relaxation. We chose the one with a tall reclining back, which was perfect.

The rest of the lounge had different furniture, less colorful but modern design. The nice thing about the set up was that they had small table between two chairs, or some of them had one table per chair. It is good that each chair had a table, for food or computer or whatever you need it for. The heavy-duty table with a lamp also had outlet, great for charging/working on a phone or computer before taking a long flight.

 

The greatest thing about the lounge (in my opinion) other than the relaxing atmosphere is the food and drinks. They are included in the lounge, so you can eat and drink all you want for free! At this lounge, they have hot and cold food, even thought the choices are limited.

For the main breakfast food, all I saw was eggs and sausages… But, it is better than not having food options. For other cold food, they had salad, fruits, yogurts, etc. They also had some baked goods like croissant and muffin.

They also had smoked salmon and sandwiches. This is the second time I used the Air France Lounge, and I remembered the fresh smoked salmon very well. I was happy when they brought out a plate full of them. The sandwiches on the other hand…they looked dry and not very appetizing. The last time I used the lounge, I remembered the sandwiches looked better, with tastier ingredients. And, they had more snacks too… Maybe they had to do things differently to cut cost.

They had all the condiments at the end of the food counter, along with toaster oven.

This is the first set of plates I grabbed for my breakfast. Scrambled eggs, sausage links, croissant, and of course, smoked salmon. The eggs were not bad, but not great either, cold and crumbly. Any kind of eggs served in buffet-style will suffer in quality, as it sits out for too long. The sausage links were actually pretty good. Juicy and good amount of salty flavor. Croissant was just a-ok. The salmon was as good as I remembered, very fresh, meaty, good amount of salty-ness, and great texture. It helped that I got them right when the staff brought them out from their kitchen.

A little later, I went back to get something different. They had these cup noodles there, which looked very comforting somehow. Maybe it was the lack of hot food options? I mean, this is the ONLY hot food option that they have here. They had lots of chopsticks next to it, thank you. I grabbed one cup noodle and poured hot water from the coffee machine, and waited for few minutes…

I don’t remember the last time I ate cup noodle, but it was exactly what I wanted at this moment. One thing to note: Getting the hot water from the coffee machine to the correct level was not easy. First of all, the coffee machine had so many buttons and what not, it was not easy to navigate. Then, the amount of hot water that comes out with one push is not enough for the cup noodle. But then, two pushes will be too much hot water. Since you just need little bit more after the first push, you have to really watch it during the second push. Otherwise, it will overflow from the cup! Removing the cup when it has hot water in it off the coffee machine, while the hot water is still coming out, can be a bit dangerous…

Anyways, after successfully getting through the obstacles, I was ready for my cup noodle. It really was comforting, and soothing to my tummy. I know it is not the healthiest food, but getting one small cup noodle every once in a blue moon is ok. And, since I got the hot water part down perfectly, I was able to help fellow travelers who were struggling with the machine too.

After the noodle, I went back to the coffee machine to get an actual cup of coffee. It is a Nespresso machine, with four kinds of coffee pods. Each try has a short description of the coffee pod.

When I was staring at this huge machine, one of the female staff who was cleaning the area came over and showed me how to use the machine. She was really nice and friendly. Thank goodness for her! There was a little tray I had to pull down to place the cup, put the coffee pod in, select the type of coffee you want (I chose Latte Macchiato), and wait for the machine to create the perfect cup for you. After I learned how to do this, I helped out another fellow traveler who was trying to figure out how to make coffee.

They had several kinds of sugar, honey, milk and stir sticks next to the coffee machine. I picked one packet of honey. I don’t think I ever had a coffee with honey, so I thought that might be interesting. I always liked Nespresso coffee, so this was great. Nice, strong cup of coffee after a meal. So relaxing!

The last thing I got before we left the lounge was their wine. I heard this lounge has some nice French wines, so I wanted to try one. I chose Château de la Clapière, Cotes de Provence, 2016. I like all wines, but Rosé is one of my favorite. It just looks so nice with the beautiful pink color.

This wine is a classic Provençal Rosé, with a nose of berries and roses. Very refreshing, fruity without being sweet, lovely wine. It would go great with cheese, salmon, and fruits. We had it on its own, which was just fine too.

The bathroom is located near the entrance, next to the magazine and newspaper sections. Another good thing about the lounge is that I get to use the bathroom without waiting in a line.

After main door, they had four doors. One for ladies, one for gentlemen, and two for shower rooms.

Inside the ladies room was not very big, just two stalls. It was clean enough, since it was still early in the morning. Nothing fancy here, just the basic.

In front of the two stalls, they had additional bathroom which was wheelchair accessible.

Now, the shower rooms. Even though there were two shower rooms, one of them had a sign that read “out of order.” I didn’t need to take a shower, but I wanted to see what it looked like, so I peeked inside.

It had a toilet, sink, basket for used towels (you can get towels from the front desk) on one side, and shower on the other side. The shower had small glass wall, not even covering half of it. With this, the water will go everywhere when you are taking a shower… I also heard that the bathrooms and shower rooms don’t get attended very often. So, it is great for the first person who uses it, but after that, it doesn’t get cleaned often… It is still a nice amenity to have, for those who really need to use the shower.

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing few hours before our flight. It is always nice to get some relaxation before going into a plane for more than 10 hours. While we were there, I saw cleaning staffs coming around to pick up the dirty dishes and cups a few times, but not very often. The food was restocked at good pace, but as the lounge got busier, the food disappeared faster than they could restock them quickly. Some staffs were very nice, and some others were just strictly business. They don’t have the best food or best amenity, but I still say this is an oasis. I’ve waited for hours at a gate, waiting for my flight (especially delayed flights), and sitting at those super uncomfortable chairs for hours is no fun. I appreciate the services and options provided by the lounge very much. The lounge is still the way to go!

 

Air France Lounge – JFK Airport, Terminal 1, Gate 1, Jamaica, NY 11430

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