JFK Check In for Cathay First & the British Airways Terraces Lounge

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After booking several first class reservations, including Etihad First Class, I finally decided on one for my outbound to Thailand. Cathay Pacific First JFK to Hong Kong, and then a leg in Business to Bangkok.

Funnily enough it was getting up to JFK that was the problem. After waiting several anxious weeks, they finally forced award space for me a week before I was due to go (and was in a near panic about the prices for a one way to JFK). I wound up flying out of DCA on the 10AM flight (so glad it wasn’t the much earlier flight) for my 2:55 flight out of JFK.

When we landed I betook myself to the Flagship Lounge to find out if the Cathay Pacific check in desk was open yet or if I should hang out there for a few hours. Turns out the Cathay Pacific counter always has one person manning it from the first flight out of the day to the last, a nice improvement from past reports.

Cathay FIrst JFK check in open all day

I was super excited to see the glitzy check in area set apart from the others at the far end of Terminal 7. The guy at the check in desk was very nice, and was almost as enthusiastic as I was that it was my first time departing JFK in Cathay (though not my first Cathay trip).

Cathay FIrst Class Check In JFK waiting area

He printed out my boarding passes and lounge invitation and I headed to security. Unfortunately the premier lane right by the Cathay check in wasn’t open, so I threaded my way back to the main entrance.

From there I headed up to the lounge which is above the security checkpoint and realized I’d been there before. Well almost. When flying ANA First several years ago I’d had access to the more exclusive Galleries first class lounge which hadn’t impressed me. This time I was in the Terraces lounge which had much better lighting and alot more seating. For some reason the fountain particularly tickled me. (It was only after I got back and read others reports I realized I probably should have had access to the Galleries lounge 😛 Though I think I liked Terraces better.)

British Airways Terraces Lounge Fountain

The bathroom was better than US domestic lounges but otherwise nothing special.

British Airways Terraces Lounge Bathroom

 I wasn’t feeling very well so I wound up not taking many pictures or eating. And it didn’t look like I was missing much. They had several food stations sprinkled throughout. The best was the pub area with beer on draft and a nice selection of brand name snack items like Lays and Sun Chips.


If it was an evening flight I would have had access to the pre-flight supper option, but there wasn’t any “real food” available at noon. In that respect the American Airlines Flagship lounge had better options.

The lounge though large, was pretty crowded the first hour I was there noon-1PM, but it was practically empty from 1PM until I left for my gate around 2.

My one regret with the lounge was that the very pretty beverage/champagne bar had no champagne out, but at least within a few hours I’d be having much better stuff.

British Airways Terraces Lounge champagne bar

I headed down about an hour before the flight was boarding and discovered long long lines with business and first class mixed and a very irate gate representative snapping at anyone who dared to go to the front to ask which line was which. And then she started randomly letting a few business men in first go to the front of the line, despite the fact the me and 3 people around me were all in first too. It was pretty chaotic, but we finally boarded and I prepared for 15 hours of fun!


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Heels First’s Travel Advice–Sophisticated Travel, Uncomplicated Advice. The travels and tribulations of two frequent flyers jumping into the world of travel, sharing their travel advice. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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