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While passing through New York-JFK recently, TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen had a three-hour layover and nowhere to spend it. So he used the time to check out the Airspace Lounge at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 — and here’s his review.

The view on entering the lounge.
The view on entering the lounge.

I recently flew from Santiago (SCL) to New York-JFK via Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in business class on American Airlines. In order to visit some friends and stay at Marriott’s Press Hotel, I booked a separate one-way ticket on JetBlue from New York-JFK to Portland, Maine (PWM). I was supposed to arrive at JFK around 6am (though I ended up getting there closer to 9am) and would depart on JetBlue at around 11:30am — so I had some time to kill.

Once I’d picked up my checked bag and gone through customs, I figured I’d need a shower, a cup of coffee and at least a snack (if not a meal), but because I wouldn’t be continuing on American, I knew I couldn’t use either of the Admirals Club lounges at JFK’s Terminal 8 upon arrival. Instead, I looked into other lounges available at JFK’s Terminal 5, otherwise known as the JetBlue terminal.

The small sunken cafe area inside the entrance.
The small sunken cafe area inside the entrance.

That’s when I found the Airspace Lounge. Airspace is a little network of independent lounges with locations at New York-JFK, Baltimore (BWI), Cleveland (CLE) and San Diego (SAN). Though these facilities tend to be smaller than your average airline lounge, they offer many of the same amenities, like sitting areas, bars, a few free beverages and snacks and some shower facilities.

Access, Amenities and Hours

The best part? I had just gotten a Platinum Card from American Express, which gets you access not only to Priority Pass lounges and Delta SkyClubs, but also to Airspace’s lounges. As with Amex’s own Centurion Lounges, the Platinum, Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN and Centurion cards get their cardholders and up to two guests access to Airspace lounges for free with the same amenities as paying guests.

Paying guests can purchase a pass for $25 per person, which includes:

  • Unlimited complimentary soft drinks and light snacks (this was a trail mix in the lounge at JFK)
  • Unlimited complimentary Peet’s Coffee, Naked Teas, espresso and cappuccino
  • Complimentary printing, scanning and Wi-Fi
  • Power outlets at every seat
  • Assistance with delays
  • Full paid bar
  • Semi-private conference rooms
  • An additional $10 premium food/drink menu credit
The bar - you order food here and purchase premium drinks.
The bar — you order food and purchase premium drinks here.

To access the Airspace Lounge at JFK in particular, you have to have a T5 boarding pass (e.g., a JetBlue ticket) and can’t access it with tickets for flights departing at other terminals. The lounge is open from 4:30am – 11pm daily, but sometimes later during periods of heavy traffic. Anyone can enter if they meet the conditions above and pay the fees, but the lounge does have capacity controls, so you might find yourself stopping by and denied entrance until it clears out a bit.

My Visit to the Airspace Lounge 

I hopped on the intra-terminal train, checked in at JetBlue and breezed through security thanks to TSA PreCheck, so I had plenty of time to find the lounge, which is across from Terminal 5’s Gate 24.

The staff member at the reception podium swiped my Platinum Card and gave me a receipt with a $0 balance and a little plastic card (like a hotel room key) loaded with $10 of credit in case I wanted anything premium. I asked about the shower, and she said that when I wanted to use it, I should just let her know and she’d need about 10-15 minutes to prep it.

Another shot of the bar.
Another shot of the bar.

The lounge itself was small. Just inside the entrance was a little cafe-style area with tables and chairs. There was a small set of stairs up to the bar area where you could order food and drinks. Across from the bar were armchairs and side tables with electrical outlets. This area wrapped around the sunken cafe-style area to a little counter with the coffee and teas, and then over to a small room with a television.

There’s not much seating – no wonder there are capacity controls!

I poured myself some coffee and ordered a breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese that was priced at $5.50 — though thanks to my $10 credit, it was actually free for me.

My $10 credit got me a breakfast sandwich. The Peet
My $10 credit got me a breakfast sandwich — the Peet’s Coffee was complimentary.

Among the other food options on the menu were rolls, cheeses, drinkable yogurt, fresh smoothies, a daily cheese board, an antipasto platter with charcuterie and cheese, soup of the day and a dessert selection. There looked to be a decent selection of mid- and top-shelf spirits as well, while the wines included a Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, Clos Du Val Chardonnay, Robert Craig Cabernet and Bethel Heights Pinot Noir. Food and drinks are priced pretty high (a small bottle of water starts at $5.50), so don’t expect that $10 food and beverage credit to go far!

They set up the bathroom for me with towels and other toiletries.
They set up the bathroom for me with towels and other toiletries.

After catching up on some work and emails, I decided to have my shower so I’d be ready in time for my flight. I alerted the front-desk agent and she quickly prepped the shower suite (located in the bathroom on the entrance level) for me with a towel, as well as a little amenity kit with toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, shampoo and conditioner.

Since this was just one of two bathrooms in the lounge, I didn’t want to take too much time, but I did try out both the overhead and wall-mounted hand-held shower heads, blew-dry my hair while watching the arrivals/departures screen embedded in the vanity mirror and got dressed again.

A shot of (part of) the shower.
A shot of (part of) the shower.

When I got out, I had just enough time to charge up my electronics a bit, get another cup of coffee and head out to my gate.

My Thoughts

Was the lounge amazing? No. It was small and the facilities are limited. However, it was still nicer than your average airline lounge, with food and drink options (even if they are paid) that are much better than those I’ve found in other domestic lounges. The fact that my Platinum Card gets me in for free with a $10 credit is just another value-added benefit that helped me decide to get the card.

Coffee and tea were free.
Coffee and tea were free.

However, I would probably have considered paying for lounge access even without the card, thanks to the free amenities (including shower) and decent food/beverage options that I was thankful for after a long — and delayed — flight from South America.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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