Here's your first look at the newly renovated Swiss Lounge at JFK
New York's Kennedy airport is one the of the nation’s busiest airports. With service to hundreds of destinations, there’s a high chance you can find a nonstop flight to wherever you’re going. And as the largest terminal in the airport, odds are that you’re flying from Terminal 4.
Home to 33 airlines, this terminal is busy around the clock. Fortunately, there are numerous lounge options available for passengers to relax in before their flights. Some highlights include a brand-new Air India Priority Pass lounge and the soon-to-open flagship American Express Centurion Lounge.
And now there’s a newly renovated lounge reopening there within the next two weeks — the Swiss Lounge at JFK. It closed for almost a year for a full renovation; what follows is our first look inside the refreshed space.
Terminal 4 is home to the following members of the Star Alliance: Air India, Asiana, Avianca, Copa, EgyptAir, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Swiss Air Lines.
You can access the lounge if you’re flying in the business- or first-class cabin on any of these airlines. And if you’ve achieved elite status with any of these airlines and hold a Star Alliance Gold card, you’ll also be admitted — regardless of what cabin you’re flying.
There are actually two sides to the lounge — one reserved for Swiss First and Miles & More HON Circle members and the other for everyone else.
Like the SAS Lounge in Copenhagen, there are automated smart-entry gates that scan your boarding pass and allow you to bypass the front desk to enter.
Swiss First Lounge at JFK
As you enter the reception area, you’ll be directed to the left if you have access to this exclusive space.
Once inside, you’ll find a small buffet, as well as several two-top dining tables, some couches and reclining chairs.
There’s also a media room by the entrance with an L-shaped sectional sofa arranged around two televisions.
The restrooms are located along the hallway and feature one single-use stall for men, women and a shower room.
There’s also a silent room with one single pink chair. For what’s essentially dead space, I commend Swiss for actually turning this room into something useful, as opposed to making it a closet or otherwise closing it off.
While I loved the new Swiss-inspired finishes, the 26-person seating capacity will definitely feel tight in the afternoons. The airline has early-evening flights to both Geneva and Zurich, each with eight first-class seats.
Assuming those cabins are full and there are some HON Circle members on the flights, this lounge will hit capacity in no time.
Swiss Business Lounge at JFK
The majority of passengers will be spending their time in this part of the lounge.
At 3,574 square feet, this newly redesigned space comfortably fits 142 passengers. Like the First lounge, it’ll likely get crowded during the afternoon rush. However, I thought Swiss did an excellent job at adding more privacy dividers to help reduce some of the overcrowding.
The buffet is what you'll first encounter as you enter.
Across from the buffet is a new dining section with high-top dining chairs. There used to be a computer station around here, but that’s now gone in favor of more seating.
As you get deeper into the lounge, you’ll find the main dining space with lots of two-person tables.
Behind the dining room is a small relaxation area and then a long counter with 13 stools.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to try any of the standard lounge food. (There were just passed appetizers at the media event I attended.)
There’s also a long couch along the wall for overflow seating.
And finally, there’s a large living room space with eight rows of recliners, as well as some alcoves with couches.
The business-class lounge has three single-use restroom for men, two for women and two shower rooms. Just like before the renovation, there will definitely be lines for these restrooms.
Aviation enthusiasts will appreciate the floor to ceiling views of the apron and gate areas. Thanks to these large windows, there’s plenty of natural light streaming into the lounge during the daytime.
The airline also used the renovation to install what it's calling virtual reality binoculars that display scenes of Zurich and the Swiss Alps. However, this AvGeek would’ve preferred regular binoculars for better views of the planes.
When I flew Swiss First, I was impressed with the attention to detail throughout the seat and cabin. So it’s no surprise that this design philosophy made its way to the refreshed lounge.
As such, each seat has perfectly placed international AC outlets and USB ports.
Some seats even have wireless charging mats and hidden coat hooks. And this ethos even extended to how Swiss sourced the raw materials for the lounge. Most of the wood and leather chairs come directly from Switzerland.
Swiss did a great job updating the JFK lounge with its latest design concept. Thanks to new privacy dividers, light wood flooring and gentle, relaxing tones used throughout, this represents a nice upgrade for the carrier's lounge network.
Yes, it's likely the first and biz lounges will still get very crowded -- especially at peak travel times. The good news? The layout is much more private than before, and there's no doubt you'll feel like you're stepping into a newly-built and renovated lounge that reflects the premium experience you'll have on board your flight soon after your visit.
All photos by the author.