It's no secret that Terminal 1 is the most outdated, overcrowded and underinvested terminal at JFK Airport in New York. I dread flying out of this terminal, but given some of my destinations and the limited options of airlines that service them, I end up flying out of Terminal 1 six to eight times per year. One of the only things that makes it survivable is getting to stop into one of the lounges before a long-haul flight.
JFK lounges were never anything to write home about. The Air France Lounge thankfully underwent renovation in early 2019 and reopened in much better form, but the comfort and food at the Korean Air Lounge has never been much better than what you'd find at a roadside gas station. Both of these lounges are Priority Pass members, and seeing as banks have been handing out Priority Pass cards like candy to their premium customers, you can almost count on any PP member lounge being overcrowded, especially during peak travel hours.
Enter the PrimeClass Lounge, which opened in November 2019. I'll say straight away that in my view the best thing about this lounge is that it may possibly make some of the other lounges less crowded.
Spacious, with decent service
At least when I visited in November and December 2019, the lounge was not overly crowded, by which I mean we were very easily able to find a seat for the family. This may change as more people discover that the PrimeClass Lounge exists.
I tend to judge airport lounge food by one main question: is it better or worse than airline food. Yes, I realise that is a rather low bar! The food at the PrimeClass Lounge squeaks past that threshold.
So the main downside at this particular lounge – and this is different than any other Priority Pass lounge I've visited – is that they limit you to 2 complimentary drinks, after which you have to pay airport prices for wine, beer and any other cocktails. The quality of the booze itself is what you might expect from an airport lounge, but the wine and spirits are definitely better over at the Air France Lounge.
It's better to have this lounge than not have it. If it sucks away some of the crowds from the Air France Lounge, then I will be very pleased.
I give it 2.5 out 5 champagne bottles.