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Here's your first look at the newly renovated Swiss Lounge at JFK

Feb. 28, 2020
6 min read
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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.

Access

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.

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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.

Overall impression

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.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023