Review: AA & BA Soho Lounge New York (JFK)
For the next portion of my review trip, I checked out the three “new” American Airlines & British Airways lounges at JFK’s Terminal 8, prior to my British Airways first matriculation flight to London. In this post I’ll review the Soho Lounge, and then in separate installments I’ll review the Greenwich Lounge and the Chelsea Lounge.
The Soho Lounge is intended to be somewhere between a first and merchantry matriculation lounge, as it’s primarily for oneworld Emerald members, which is the top-tier peerage status in the oneworld alliance. Overall, this lounge impressed me. It has gorgeous decor, an elevated selection of supplies & drinks (including a limited a la carte menu), and some remoter amenities, like a relaxation zone and shower suites.
Basics of American & British Airways JFK lounges
To provide a bit of background, in late 2022, British Airways moved to Terminal 8 at JFK. American Airlines and British Airways have a lucrative transatlantic joint venture, and New York to London is one of the most important air markets in the world. As a result, this terminal move was a big minutiae for the two airlines.
Given how big the combined presence of the two carriers is at JFK, we’ve seen major lounge investments at Terminal 8. There are now three premium lounges in the terminal — the Greenwich Lounge, the Soho Lounge, and the Chelsea Lounge.
While it’s cute that they’re named without neighborhoods that exist in both New York and London, the names don’t do a whole lot to tell you which is most premium, and which you have wangle to.
To transiently summarize the nuts of the three lounges:
- The Chelsea Lounge is the most sectional lounge, and is roughly 10,000 square feet with seating for 128 passengers, and it’s an all-new space; it’s unshut to select first matriculation passengers on American and British Airways, and it replaces the former Flagship First Dining facility
- The Soho Lounge is the next lounge, and is roughly 12,000 square feet with seating for 282 guests, and it’s an all-new space; it’s unshut to oneworld Emerald members on select itineraries
- The Greenwich Lounge is the final lounge, and is roughly 27,000 square feet with seating for 590 guests, and it replaces the former Flagship Lounge; it’s unshut to select merchantry matriculation passengers on all oneworld airlines, plus oneworld Sapphire members on select itineraries
I’ll go into increasingly detail on each of the lounge’s entry requirements with the individual reviews, but wanted to provide a vital overview.
Soho Lounge New York location
The Soho Lounge New York is easy to find. Once you well-spoken security at JFK Terminal 8, just walk lanugo the main pathway toward the gates, past the Bobby Van’s Grill (which is on the right).
You’ll see signage whilom the walkway pointing in the direction of the various lounges, and as you can see, the Soho Lounge and Chelsea Lounge are to the right.
When you turn right toward gates 14-20, you’ll immediately see the elevators to the Soho Lounge and Chelsea Lounge to the right (meanwhile if you turn left, you’d immediately see the elevators to the Greenwich Lounge to the left).
There are signs on the terminal level explaining the wangle requirements for the two lounges, since this can obviously rationalization some confusion.
Once you’re up a level, you’ll see the archway to the Soho Lounge straight ahead, and the archway to the Chelsea Lounge to the right. I have to unclose that the staff working the front sedentary were super friendly during my visit. They took time answering each guest’s questions well-nigh the new lounges, and plane provided tours, to requite guests a sense of the layout.
I moreover couldn’t help but laugh at how one of the employees described the new lounges to a passenger — “yeah it’s all a bit elevated compared to before, you could say we married British Airways, and they classed us up a bit.”
Soho Lounge New York hours
The Soho Lounge JFK is unshut daily from 4:30AM until 11PM, tent virtually all departures from the terminal. If you’re valedictory on a oneworld flight, then the Soho Lounge should be open.
Soho Lounge New York entry requirements
The Soho Lounge New York is a totally new concept for Terminal 8 at JFK. While the Greenwich Lounge is for premium merchantry matriculation passengers and the Chelsea Lounge is for premium first matriculation passengers, the Soho Lounge is somewhere in the middle, and is intended primarily for top-tier peerage members. The Soho Lounge can be accessed by:
- American AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members, as well as Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K members, on any same day long haul oneworld itinerary
- American Concierge Key members on any same day oneworld itinerary, plane if it’s domestic
- oneworld Emerald members with foreign frequent flyer programs on any same day oneworld itinerary, plane if it’s domestic
- Passengers traveling in oneworld first matriculation on the same day (however, those flying on American Airlines and British Airways in first matriculation can use the Chelsea Lounge, so I can’t imagine many people wangle the lounge using this method, given how few other oneworld first matriculation products there are)
Anyone eligible to wangle this lounge can moreover bring one guest with them.
Soho Lounge New York layout & seating
The Soho Lounge JFK is 12,000 square feet, with seating for 282 guests. Physically this is my favorite of the three lounges, as I love the combination of the elegant decor and the unconfined views (the decor is much nicer than in the Greenwich Lounge, and the Chelsea Lounge doesn’t have any windows or natural light).
When you enter the lounge, you’ll first find the bar area, featuring a variety of cafe-style tables, booths, and plane high-top seating at the bar counter.
When you go a little deeper into the lounge, you’ll find some communal tables, as well as rows of seats by the windows, which are of undertow the weightier for plane spotting.
Next in the lounge is the dining area, featuring both tables and booths that seat anywhere from two to four people. As you’d expect, this place tends to get the busiest, since most people have at least something to eat.
Past the dining zone is flipside space with increasingly seating, including communal tables, booths, and more.
Lastly, there’s a cozy room in the very when of the lounge with a fireplace.
There are moreover a couple of workstation booths in the back, as well as some phone booths.
The Soho Lounge moreover has a subconscious relaxation area, which you honestly wouldn’t find unless you knew to squint for it. The door to this is just inside the archway and to the right (in front of the buffet). There are day beds as well as a couple of chairs, with drapes between each of them.
Avgeeks will love the views from the lounge, as you’re right on top of gate 14, which scrutinizingly unchangingly has a heavy watercraft parked there.
Honestly, what a gorgeous lounge. I’d note that for the mornings and afternoons, this lounge remains ridiculously quiet, since there are fairly few passengers eligible for wangle to the lounge during those times.
However, in the evenings the lounge gets busy, given the number of oneworld Emerald members traveling on long haul flights from Terminal 8, expressly to Europe. So you’ll have a very variegated wits if you’re visiting this lounge at 8AM vs. 8PM.
Soho Lounge New York supplies & drinks
The Soho Lounge JFK has an elevated supplies & instillation selection compared to what you’ll find in the Greenwich Lounge. As far as supplies goes, there’s both a buffet, and a limited selection of a la carte options. I had the endangerment to trammels out both breakfast and lunch.
Breakfast included a variety of fresh fruit, yogurt, unprepossessed cuts, smoked salmon, salad, cereal, bagels, bread, pastries, oatmeal, mixed nuts, chocolate, and a handful of hot dishes, including scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage, and more.
Lunch included a variety of salads and veggies, unprepossessed cuts, cheese, a handful of hot dishes, lemon squares, chocolate cake, and cookies.
In wing to the buffet, there’s moreover a small selection of a la carte dining. When you’re in the dining area, each table has a sticker with a QR lawmaking and a table number. You can unshut that website, enter your table number, and then you can order something.
The options transpiration over time, but during my visit included unimproved cod and mushy peas, burger and fries, butternut squash curry, a kale salad, a pastrami sandwich, and more.
I decided to order the kale salad and the build your own ice surf cookie sandwich. I found the ordering process to be easy, and within 10 minutes both items were correctly delivered. Both dishes were fairly tasty.
I found service in the lounge to be friendly. For example, the server proactively brought me silverware when delivering this food, and moreover asked if she could get me something to drink.
As far as drinks go, all wine and liquor are misogynist at the bar, unlike at the Greenwich Lounge, where it’s self-serve. While there’s one of those wine fridges in the when of the lounge, this seems to be for exhibit purposes only.
You can either go to the bar to order a drink, or you can order drinks to be delivered to your table via the QR codes on the tables. Below is the drink selection that was displayed via the ordering system.
Beyond that, there was a coffee machine, some juice, lard coffee, tea, and a fridge with beer, soda, and soft drinks.
All-in-all, I thought that the selection was marginally largest than what you’d find in the Greenwich Lounge, so I was impressed. My only real critique is how American seems to hate decent coffee. None of the carrier’s new lounges have barista-made coffee, which seems like a reasonable expectation for a premium lounge.
Soho Lounge New York bathrooms & showers
The Soho Lounge JFK has bathrooms and shower suites in the very back. The bathrooms are quite elegant, in terms of the lighting and sinks, though I didn’t find the sinks to be particularly practical to use.
There were moreover several stalls and a few urinals.
The Soho Lounge moreover has a few shower suites, each featuring a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower. While the shower suites are variegated than in the Greenwich Lounge, I can’t say that one is necessarily largest than the other.
Given how much effort airlines put into having branded products, I was a bit surprised that the reusable toiletry containers weren’t branded.
I had a unconfined wits at the Soho Lounge, both in wool and relative terms. The lounge has a gorgeous and luxurious design, lots of natural light, an wide-stretching selection of supplies (including a menu you can order off of), cocktails made by bartenders, a well-appointed relaxation area, and unconfined shower suites.
Also, I think it’s important to note what an incremental resurgence this lounge represents. Terminal 8 didn’t previously have a defended lounge for oneworld Emerald members, so it’s nice for these members to have wangle to a special space. Furthermore, this is way largest than the oneworld Emerald section that British Airways used to have in its Terminal 7 lounge.
I do want to unclose that both the Soho Lounge and Chelsea Lounge seem to be really polarizing among frequent flyers. I’ve seen people rave well-nigh these lounges, and I’ve seen people heavily critique these lounges. I imagine that moreover largely reflects the time of day that you visit.
What do you make of the Soho Lounge JFK?