Welcome to Delta Air Lines' flagship Sky Club lounge at New York's JFK airport, boasting room for over 400 guests, 50+ individual work spaces for the busy business traveller and even an outdoor Sky Deck.
As Virgin Australia's major airline partner in the USA, it's also the lounge used by Velocity Gold and Platinum members on the journey home from the big apple, or business class and 'Delta One' travellers if you're up the front.
Location & Impressions
You'll find Delta's flagship Sky Club after clearing security – just follow the clear signs until you reach Gate 31 in Concourse B, then look right: Once inside, the lounge takes on a modern design with bold reds, cool blues and hints of white to replicate the American flag... ... and with touches of green in the washrooms for variety: Guests also enjoy tarmac views and plenty of natural light from most parts of the lounge – always a welcome feature.
- Domestic Delta first class and 'Delta One' business class flyers bound for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Las Vegas, Portland, Phoenix and San Diego only
- Passengers booked in business class or first class on Delta and SkyTeam international flights, or connecting to or from the same
- Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers ahead of any domestic or international Delta flight
- Delta Gold and Platinum Medallion members when departing JFK on a Delta or SkyTeam international flight, or when connecting domestically to or from the same
- Delta Diamond Medallion and paid-up Sky Club members ahead of onward travel with any airline, where the lounge is in the same terminal or secure area as the flight
- SkyTeam Elite Plus members with a same-day international SkyTeam flight
- American Express Platinum and Centurion Charge Card customers, including from Australia
- US-issued Delta Reserve credit cardholders
- Full economy (Y-class) travellers on Delta
In addition, passengers of any airline – or who are flying with Delta but aren't covered by the above – can pay US$50 at reception for a one-off visit.
Beyond the standard buffet fare that you'll find of all Delta lounges, New York travellers can enjoy a meal in the JFK dining room – just take a seat and power on the supplied tablet to peruse the menu. But it's not your standard 'free for all restaurant' as you'd find in the Qantas First Lounge or the Star Alliance first class lounge at LAX – the dishes here are all available for purchase, rather than being complimentary.
Yes, even if you've forked out thousands of dollars for an international business class ticket home to Australia, you're still looking at US$14 plus tip for a club sandwich and side salad... ... and while the menu is presented on the tablet and you can 'select' dishes, you'll still need to flag down a waiter to place your order in the more conventional way. That said, US$14 is still a fair price for the serving size, convenience and also quality of the food, and gives travellers the option of arriving early for a proper lunch instead of the usual choice of light bites in the lounge or eating something more substantial out in the terminal. Every dining table also comes with thoughtfully-located power outlets to recharge your phone, tablet or laptop while you eat... ... and if you're a solo traveller, that lets you set up and use your laptop on one side of the table while waiting for your food before then hopping over to the other side when it's time for lunch: leaving everything plugged in, charging and just as you left it to make the most of your time. Along with the standard buffet, coffee here comes by way of push-button machine... ... while soft drinks, beer, standard wines and basic spirits are complimentary for all guests and more premium selections are again available for purchase at 'The Bar', such Taittinger Prestige Blanc (US$12 by the glass or US$48 by the bottle, plus tip).
Download: Delta Sky Club JFK bar and dining menu [24MB, PDF]
After a nice meal, you can get any serious work done at a number of laptop desks with desk-level power points, and which offer tarmac views when the sun isn't blaring in: Otherwise, take to one of the communal working benches... ... which also have access to AC power from every seat – although not USB slots as you'd find in the dining room: Or for something more 'business casual', look to the comfy chairs which each sport a cocktail table to mind your beverage: Printing, scanning and photocopying facilities are available, along with fast and free WiFi. That's really all you need from a lounge to get things done, and with no boarding calls – only personal pages for the odd passenger – you're sure to be more productive than out in the noisy terminal.
You didn't hear it from us, but there's also a secret room hidden behind reception for VVIPs, which offers the A-list crowd even more privacy and space from the hustle and bustle of the lounge proper.
The outdoor Sky Deck is no doubt the lounge's X-factor – just head there with a cool drink in hand, put your feet up and watch as the world flies by... when the weather permits, of course: Inside, you can still relax in a number of lounge chairs – again with conveniently-placed AC and USB power points... ... or can snap up a walled-in seat for that 'cosy' feeling as you browse the Web on your tablet: There's also a reasonable choice of reading material available... ... which can be enjoyed in the Relaxation Room. Just sit back, relax... ... and put your feet up as calming images run in the background. Topping things off are six private shower suites – again following the patriotic theme of red, white and blue – and Delta-inspired artwork throughout the lounge, but which was obstructed by other guests during our visit.
Conveniently, the lounge was also directly opposite the gate used for our Delta One flight to Los Angeles, and with ample space throughout to eat, work, relax, refresh and recharge, we'd peg it among the top 10 airline lounges in the United States.
All that can realistically be improved is to make the dining room free for business and first class passengers... after all, asking travellers to pay extra for a sandwich and salad when they've already parted with $8,000+ for the journey from Australia seems a bit rough.
- Delta One business class review: Los Angeles-New York, B767
- Delta Connect Gogo inflight Internet review
- Review: Delta's Los Angeles Sky Club lounge, LAX Terminal 5
- Virgin Australia business class review: Brisbane-Los Angeles
- Delta shakes up Virgin Australia frequent flyer earning rates
- Delta opens private LAX check-in lounge for Delta One passengers
- Delta One business class review: New York-Los Angeles, B757
Chris Chamberlin travelled to New York as a guest of Delta Air Lines.
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