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Inside the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK Airport

Where: JFK International Airport [map], New York, NY, United States
January 18, 2010 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

Man, you guys are good! We posed a challenge to you back on Friday, to guess where we were at that very moment with only the photo above as a clue, and although had some great guesses—the Big Brother house, the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise and Austin Powers' lair—two of you were totally jetsetting with the correct answer: Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Clubhouse at JFK Airport.

On Friday evening, after sitting in rush hour traffic trying to get to the airport and mentally panicking, we arrived and checked into VS 046 to London-Heathrow. The good people at Virgin hooked us up with Clubhouse access, and we quickly collapsed into a futuristic chair and ordered up the lounge's signature drink: the Virgin Redhead. And that's when the fun began.

JFK's Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is only for Upper Class passengers and those holding VA Flying Club Gold status. And even those that sounds fairly restrictive, the place was packed at 7pm, what with a few Virgin Atlantic flights departing for London around that time and what turned out to be fully-booked Upper Class cabins. We chilled back in premium economy on the flight, but close enough to drool over the airplane's bar...but more on that tomorrow.

To give you an idea of the the Clubhouse at JFK, imagine a very open-plan terminal, like that of the one that Tom Hanks wanders around in the movie Terminal. The Clubhouse is a long, thin open area on the second floor, looking down on the action (and economy passengers) below. A long, low reflecting pool of water keeps the space closed off, and a fort-like element on the middle of the space divides it up into nooks, where most people were furiously typing away at their laptops or slouching down in the cup-like chairs, with their earphones in and a drink in hand.

Speaking of drinks, the Clubhouse has a full bar up front, and a grab bar towards the back, where you can help yourself to a stocked fridge and even a cookie jar with fresh-baked cookies—they were chocolate when we were there. At the very back is a little chill room, more secluded and yet with a giant flatscreen TV. We guess this area is for the folks who have no desire in staring out the huge bank of windows that look out at the tarmac and other boarding flights; it's pure poetry out there, even at night.

When finally our flight was called, it was a real party pooper! Perhaps we should have booked a later flight and arrived to the airport even earlier to enjoy the place completely? Well, we suppose we'll just have to come back soon, huh?

Related Stories:
· Can You Guess Where We Are? [Jaunted]
· JFK Clubhouse [Virgin Atlantic]
· Lounging at the Airport: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse [Jaunted]
· Airport Lounges [Jaunted]

[Photo: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Thumbs up to VS clubhouses!

The clubhouses are probably among the best airline lounges in the world, particularly at non-hub airports (although this is not to slight the LHR clubhouse; rather, it is a testament to their product that they can have such excellent lounges at their outstations--many global airlines have great lounges at their hubs, but few extend this to the other end).

How do you normally get Clubhouse access?

I assume it's free if you fly in first or business but can you buy a pass to the club? I know that when I flew Premium Economy in March 2008, I did not get Club access. I has a sad about that even now.


How to get Clubhouse access:
1- Hold an Upper Class ticket OR
2- Have Flying Club Gold status OR
3- Purchase a pass for the LGW (35 GBP pp) or LHR (60 GBP pp) lounges if you booked your trip with Virgin Holidays.