Review: AA Flagship Lounge JFK, TSA JFK, & Public Transport To JFK
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The next morning I woke up early to make my flight and took a look out my window. In some ways I was sad to leave such a great room in a great hotel, but I was eager for my first class flight!
I took public transportation from The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park to JFK which involved taking a subway train, commuter train, and the JFK shuttle. Google quoted me a little more than an hour to JFK, but my inexperience with NYC public transportation, waiting for trains to depart, and paying for tickets probably took closer to 1.5-2 hours.
Once I got to the Atlantic Terminal I was confused on what to do next. Luckily the workers were able to help me. It wasn't a subway, but actually the Long Island Railroad, similar to Metra in Chicagoland.
I arrived at the airport check-in desk for Cathay Pacific at 7:21AM.
Check-in was super fast as there was no line for First Class. The lady seemed pretty surprised someone so young (I sure don’t feel young) was checking in for a first class flight. The lady already had everything printed out for me and reminded me I have access to the AA Flagship Lounge.
I wish Cathay Pacific participated in the TSA Pre-Check program like because there was literally no line for TSA Pre-check. In the meantime I had to wait in the same line as all the other customers which is normally fine, but the TSA only had 2 lines open. I probably waited 30-45 minutes in the line and by now it is 8-8:15am.
Once it was my turn I asked the TSA agent (a women) to opt-out of the nude-o-scope and be processed manually. This involves being pat down instead and limits your body to radiation. I heard lots of other bloggers do this and wanted to experience it myself to see what the process was like. Unfortunately it didn’t go as planned.
Since the TSA agent looking over both lines was a female she needed to call over a male. I think even if she would’ve been a male she couldn’t of stepped away from her duties getting the line through without a replacement.
I waited about 25-30 minutes to the side and eventually gave up because I was tired of waiting. The supervisor has quotas to get a certain number of people through and give some people the equivalent of TSA Pre-Check where they go through the metal detector. They will randomly choose 5-10 people every couple minutes. Once I gave up they had another block go through this way and the lady, who felt bad for me, let me be part of that group.
The only problem about this now is that my bags were already sent through the screener and put aside. When I tried to pick them up they wouldn’t give it back without going through it since they thought I was flagged for potential explosives. They searched my bags which was rather annoying, but once they finished it was around 9:00am.
After security in JFK’s Terminal 8 you will proceed forward. Once you start walking you will see stairs that go down a level with an elevator to the left that has a sign marking both the AA Flagship lounge (international) and Admirals Club (domestic).
I took the elevator up and proceeded to check in with my boarding pass and passport. They mentioned I was running pretty close to boarding time of 9:20am (currently 9:00am). I just wanted to take pictures, use a bathroom before the 16 hour flight, and get something quick to eat.
Here is the food section which had a lot of breakfast items like bacon, eggs, sausage, bread, etc along with different salads.
I must say that the drinks selection is very large. It's ~9am and there are so many options for alcohol its kind of awesome yet questioning.
Firstly the lounge was beautiful. It recently underwent a remodel and introduced new food/drinks which is a major positive. I will be honest that I did not take many pictures because I was primarily focusing on taking video footage which I will surely include once I edit it.
I didn't have a lot of time in the lounge since I just wanted to grab a quick breakfast and use the restroom. If I am flying Cathay First again I would definitely consider flying to JFK just to use this lounge since the Lounge Cathay uses in ORD is the Air France Lounge which is nothing spoecial and I can get in w2ith my priority pass membership.