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February 25, 2017 / oneworld82

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse @JFK – A lounge with character!

The trip started in DFW, where Thuy left for Tokyo about 90 minutes before I was leaving for NYC. After bidding her farewell, I had time for a quick stopover at the Centurion Lounge for some breakfast – the frittata was very good.

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The flight to JFK was uneventful.

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After collecting my bag I left Terminal 8 and made my way to T4 were Singapore Airlines operates from.

T8 Arrivals

T8 Arrivals


This is also Delta and Virgin’s terminal, and their presence is very strong.

I proceeded to the Singapore check in area, which was almost empty as I was there around 4 hours before my scheduled departure time. I made my way through the First Class check in area, and the cheery Indian agent greeted me smiling and saying I was the first first class customer of the day. As it turned out, SQ was carrying out a manual exercise to cope with system outages, so all boarding passes for the day were issued manually. That took longer than usual, but I can’t help but cheer to their effort to prepare the staff for unexpected glitches.

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My bags were checked in all the way to Hong Kong, and I was handed both boarding cards for my JFK-FRA-SIN and SIN-HKG flights. I proceeded through security – a dedicated line for premium customers made it very easy – and within minutes I was walking through the terminal towards the Virgin Clubhouse.

T4 is very nice (compared to T8), as it has plenty of shops and not much wasted space. I did not see many food options, but near the VS gates there was a decent food court (although the establishments were more like proper restaurants, they happened to be clustered together).

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The Clubhouse is located near gate 5 (where SQ departs from), upstairs and in front of the Emirates lounge. I was greeted by an agent from the Caribbean – most of the staff here seemed to hail from the islands – and I was promptly admitted. The first impression was not of “wow” like many people describe – but 20 minutes later I was definitely wowing at everything.


You see, the lounge is really nice – great decor, nice and trendy furniture, sleek bar – typical Virgin. Yet, the service and the quality of both food and drinks made all the difference!

Let me explain.

The lounge is not too big – it has two “wings” with seating areas overlooking the tarmac and a more lively central seating (play?) area with the famous pool table and the bar.

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The seats are nice and tasteful – the middle section is simple sleek (it reminded me of a W hotel, but classier).

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Yet, the service made all the difference. As soon as I seated a waitress – very polite and professional – came by asking me whether I wanted anything to eat or drink (and she handed me both menus, just in case). The proactive staff was certainly the highlight of the lounge, as they resembled more ANA First Class attendants than anything I had ever seen before on US soil!

Ready. Set. Go!

Ready. Set. Go!

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I ordered a gin and tonic, and while that was being prepared I took a look around. I went to the spa to make an appointment with Bumble & Bumble – the famed London hairstyle salon – and I got an appointment right before my flight was supposed to board – perfect! Unfortunately, the service was complimentary only for passengers flying on VS, but since I needed a haircut anyways that was not a big deal.


After finishing my G&T (and doing some work) it was time to get some food. I proceeded to the main restaurant area, which looked like a proper restaurant with tables and white tablecloths. As soon as I sat down I was handed the menus by another very polished waiter.

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After ordering a glass of Lanson (if you like this champagne chances are you’ll pick Kruger over Dom Perignon) I took a look at the food menu, which read as follows:

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I decided to go with a nice salad and the chicken tikka masala. Both dishes were taken out at the same time within perhaps 10 minutes, and boy were they good! The salad was very fresh and with a great vinaigrette, while the chicken tikka masala was insanely good – so good in fact that I had another glass of Lanson with it 😉

Lanson and water

Lanson and water



Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala


Expecting a feast on the plane I skipped dessert and I went for a shower. The bathroom situation is odd, as there are 2-3 bathrooms and 2-3showers, but since there is no attendant everyone is basically free to use the ones they like. I fortunately found a shower room open, and so I jumped in. The water pressure in the shower was nice, as were the products. The room was large – big enough for three people and accessible to disable people as well.

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After refreshing it was almost time for my 7.15p haircut – and so I just loitered around the spa. Perfectly on time I was called in, and I enjoyed a great cut overlooking the tarmac. Not a bad experience if you ask me…! 😉 The range of hair products used is extensive, and the stylist was fast and good at her job.

Spa and salon area

Spa and salon area

Haircut view :)

Haircut view 🙂

Before than I knew it it was already time to board, and so I bid goodbye to the lounge. This place is so hyped up that I had very high expectations. Well, they were almost all met – and the staff’s attitude and professionalism made all the difference.

Definitely a job well done, Virgin!

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