New York JFK lounge surfing: KLM “The Oasis”, Air France Salon, Korean Air (April 2011)

After arriving home from London and Amsterdam about 24 hours prior, I was back on my way to the Asian portion of my quasi-‘Round the world trip:  Thailand, Malaysia, and China.  Here are the previous posts in this series:

I had a difficult time finding a ride available to get to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). (My plan was to get dropped off at EWR then take a bus/shuttle direct to JFK.) My mom was getting home from work soon, so she said she’ll just take me all the way to JFK (though I drove the way there). Did you know that from Central Jersey, without traffic, you can get to JFK in about 45 minutes?? I thought that was a crazy good time. I was prepared for 2 hours. Unexpected good news……more time to lounge surf, the theme of this post.

Since my Korean Air flight departs from Terminal 1, AND I will have extra time to visit (for the first time) non-Delta branded airline lounge, I will be able to visit and give you a brief rundown of the two lounges in Terminal 1 (Air France & Korean Air) and KLM’s “The Oasis” in Terminal 4.  Luckily, that lounge is before security (landside) so I don’t have to deal with any fuss of not flying out from there.  I dropped off my bags and got my boarding passes.

Terminal 1 Korean Air check-in

Terminal 1 security

I took the AirTrain to Terminal 4.  First up:

The Oasis by KLM

This lounge is located on the 2nd floor of the main concourse in Terminal 4, though when walking from the check-in area you enter the concourse on the 2nd floor.  When I tried to enter, I was initially met with some resistance.

Starting March 1, 2011 Delta changed its benefits for Gold Medallions to align more with the rest of the industry.  Golds will now be considered SkyTeam Elite Plus, which means that if the Gold Medallion is traveling on any Sky Team airline in ANY class, they will be allowed access to ANY airport lounge run by a SkyTeam airline.  

But Delta seems to have implemented this benefit without really telling any of the other airlines.  The lounge check-in girl said that only Delta Platinum and Diamond members were allowed.  I had to direct her to Delta.com and navigate a few clicks to show her that Gold Medallions were now SkyTeam Elite Plus.  Just a quick road block but I made it in.

Taken from left most side of the lounge, if you are facing the windows.

The lounge is laid out length-wise with one side being a floor to ceiling window with a view of Terminal 4 tarmac between the two “football field goal” gates.  Here is a JFK airport map; it should make more sense.  It was getting late at night so there wasn’t much traffic activity, but I imagine during the day or heavy traffic times the sights of all the big airplanes are spectacular.  The Oasis has a very homely feel in its decor and furnishings.  One of the neatest features of this lounge was their “living room” area.

Living room / dining room

The dining table was sweet.  I set up camp on a corner of the table.  But its definitely a cool place to relax, with the couches that surround a fireplace at the end and bookshelves with books to read.  Another thing that is much better about non-Delta lounges (with the exception of the Delta Tokyo lounges) is the selection of food, especially hot food.

White rice / Red baked potatoes in vodka sauce

Vodka sauce is my absolute favorite.  And what man doesn’t like potatoes?  Too bad the combination of the two does not make an ultimate dish.  They were actually kinda bad.  I almost wanted to not finish them and throw them away.  But again, I hate wasting food.

Chicken lo mein

The chicken lo mein was good.  It had a certain flavor I couldn’t quite place but it tasted of Indian origin rather than Chinese.  An interesting flavor.

Cheeses, turkey croissant sandwiches, turkey wraps, crackers, fresh fruit

Booze & mixers

Beer available were Red Stripe, Miller Lite, Heineken, and Kingfisher.  Kinda a weird mix, but whatever.  One positive that many Delta lounges have draft beer, whereas these were all cans.  But as I found out over the next few weeks, cans are the norm.

I tried for several minutes to connect to their wifi, but it wouldn’t connect.  Oh well.  After tasting all the hot food choices, and having a Red Stripe and a glass of Glen Ellen cabernet, I gave up trying to connect and decided it was time to move on to the Air France Salon.

I make my way back to Terminal 1.  Next up:

Air France Salon

By now it is about 10:30pm.  The last Air France flight takes off a little after 11pm; therefore the lounge closes around 11pm.  So I only got to enjoy this gem of a lounge for about 30 minutes or so.  It is located next to Gate 1 and the end of the terminal.  Quite a big space.  Two floors, with identical food/beverage spreads on each floor.

View just as you walk through the doors

As soon as I was allowed entry, I started taking pictures, telling the attendants that it was for my blog.

Alex and I

This is Alex, one of the Salon attendants.  He was quite helpful.  After they requested all the patrons to exit at 11pm, he came up to me and gave me some more information about the lounge.  Apparently there will be a complete lounge overhaul.  Remodel so that First Class lounge is upstairs, Business Class is downstairs.  I don’t remember many more of the specifics of what the difference will be between the floors.  But I know Alex has been waiting anxiously for this post, so he can comment on the future differences.  Thanks Alex!

Upstairs area

One of the upstairs private rooms

The 2nd floor has a few private rooms good for about 8 people.

Unfortunately, the views out of most of the windows is not as pretty as The Oasis. The lounge takes up a corner of the building, and one side overlooks the roadway, not the tarmac. The other window wall, mostly when looking out from the 2nd floor, has a roof outstretching from the building so that also detracts from the view. However, you can still get a decent view of the plane sitting at the gate, and a small section of a runway.

The best part of the Salon was their food and drink!

The French definitely know how to eat

Champagne & Grey Goose!

Caprese wraps, assorted meats

Alex finishes the tour, takes down this site’s address, and I’m on my way to the last stop of this tour.

Korean Air Lounge

Right down the terminal from the Air France Salon, about 30 yards away on the left, is the Korean Air lounge. Its on the 2nd floor, and has a cool white tunnel you walk through before you enter the lounge.

Kinda reminded me of the Matrix, or that long corridor in Resident Evil where you had to dodge the laser beams

To the left is the First Class section, to the right is the Prestige (business class) section.

There was a little sign on the desk (forgot to snap a pic of it) that showed which elite cards of the various Skyteam member airlines could have access. After the little debacle at The Oasis, I was happy to see that the Delta Gold Medallion card was showing having access. After mentioning it to her, she asks to see it, and because of it, she says,”If you would like, you can use the First Class lounge.”

“Oh.  Thank you.” though in my head, I was thinking, ” OH Hell Yeah!  Score one more for Gow.”

Before I stake my area in the First Class side, I go in to the Prestige section and scope it out.

Prestige class lounge

The Prestige side is pretty packed, with a not so great selection of food. Almost none. Pastries, chips, and the Tillamook REAL cheese that most of the Delta Sky Clubs have. (Cheese was a large topic of discussion on flyertalk.com last year) The Delta Sky Clubs are all mediocre at best, except for the Tokyo clubs, with the only redeeming factor being usually having decent beer selections at their hub airports. This lounge was barely a step up from a Sky Club. For an international lounge, from a very well respected airline, it was very disappointing.  The selections were pretty much the same on both sides.

Meager spirits selection

Almost like the snack basket passed around in First Class on non-meal flights on Delta.

Korean Air First Class lounge

View out the window of our plane

I enjoy some Korean OB beer and Remy Martin (at least they had snifters), then the time came to board.

Oh.  Also on the Prestige side, there were a couple rooms with massage chairs and a table.

Overall, I had a great experience using my Skyteam Elite Plus status to lounge surf for the first time.  I only with my Priority Pass (free lounge benefit from my American Express Platinum card) came in the mail before I left.  I could surf some other lounges as well.  Perhaps next time.

JFK Skyteam Lounge Rankings

  1. The Oasis
  2. Air France Salon (Really a 1.1 instead of 2.  Oasis just edges out AF because of the hot food selection and accessibility. But if in the mood, the Grey Goose could be enough to tip the scales in AF’s favor)
  3. Korean Air
  4. All the Delta SkyClubs (Although in Terminal 3, the first Skyclub, farthest from the gates, there is a cute bartender (Cassie) that works there. 🙂

Be sure to Like my Get Gowing Facebook page.  You can get all my posts, pictures, videos up on your news feed.  On it, there are ALL my pictures and videos related to these travels.  (I don’t put them all up here because Facebook doesn’t have a storage limit.)  

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8 Responses to “New York JFK lounge surfing: KLM “The Oasis”, Air France Salon, Korean Air (April 2011)”

  1. i NEEEEEEEDDD to get in to one of these clubs next time i’m traveling!!! duck confit? really??? 😉
    but, i usually have a quick connection, but good to get sit for a bit and get food there if there’s just enough time. also, i rather spend a few extra minutes in my desitination (like eating one more apfelstrudel and a kaffee in vienna) before running to the airport. but, i have had LOOOOONNNNGGG layovers (once in ewr for 8 hours) before too – just not usually.

  2. […] New York JFK lounge surfing:  KLM “The Oasis”, Air France Salon, Korean Air (April 2011… Korean Air Flight #86 New York City-Kennedy (JFK) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN) April 14, 2011 Departure: 00:48 (scheduled 00:50) Arrival:  03:47 (scheduled 03:50, April 15) Duration: 13’59″ Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 Seat: 18J (Window, Upper deck, Prestige / Business class) Miles flown including this flight: 14,045   […]

  3. […] New York JFK lounge surfing:  KLM “The Oasis”, Air France Salon, Korean Air (April 2011… […]

  4. Delta’s lounges are pathetic and not worth the membership fee. I have been to the Korean Air lounge at JFK and was disappointed in the food selection. But there are 2 small rooms in the lounge which are for taking naps, not bad for an all day lay over. I will be visiting the Oasis lounge soon when I am on a flight at terminal 4. On the Delta website there is a SKY TEAM lounge listed for Terminal 4, does anyone know anything about that or is the Oasis lounge considered the Sky Team lounge.

    • @Rene – Not that far down the hall is the Air France lounge. To me, the food and drink selection there is the best selection a Sky Team Elite Plus has access to in JFK. I visited there when it was empty though. I have heard that the AF salon can get very packed, especially before the A380 flight. As for Terminal 4, the only lounge that SkyTeam has there is The Oasis, which to me is the 2nd best lounge in the JFK Skyteam network. It is however not a Skyteam exclusive lounge. Not sure who operates it, but I think it is a contract lounge that many airlines use. The Oasis is landside, so you can access it whichever airline you are flying. The TSA at Terminal 1 (for the Air France lounge which is airside) won’t let you in the terminal unless you are flying out of there.

  5. mike lin Says:

    Are those lounges all post security?? I need to know it asap, because I am heading to jfk soon.

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