Delta Announces Underwhelming Plan for JFK Renovation

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FINALLY! The Delta terminals at JFK  (2,3 and some of 4) are third wordly (no offense, Pyongyang!). Everything about them pretty much sucks, including a chaotic, crowded curbside drop off, poor food options, confusing layout, crowded gates and inefficient security lines.

Per this press release from the Port Authority of NY and NJ, Delta will build out terminal 4 and demolish (hallelujah!) terminal 3. Unfortunately, it will take years to construct and not much may change in the end. Terminal 2 seems like it will remain largely unchanged, which is a problem.

While the JFK overhaul is long overdue, I don’t think this plan is going to create a vastly better option. I know the plans aren’t 100% finalized, but my initial thoughts are:

1) This still means that Delta will be split into two distant terminals with a LONG walk between them- this is not a smart or intuitive setup.
2) Seems like terminal 4 will be jam packed with more gates/jetways adding to stress levels and a poorer customer experience
3) Where terminal 3 stood, they will park planes. In order to grow traffic, they will probably bus more people to remote gates (major travel pet peeve)
4) Terminal 2 remains unchanged. A huge win for the birds that fly around the terminal, but a loss for those of us needing more space and healthier food options.  Todd English Bonfire doesn’t hold a candle (pun intended) to the AA/Jet Blue terminal dining options.
5) Terminal 2 regional jet gates 23/25 are a disaster. Seriously. You must change them Delta!
6) When taking the Air Train to terminal 2, you need to walk through a parking lot, down steps and then back up steps to get to check-in. This is not okay and needs to be changed.
7) The Oasis Club at Terminal 4 is nice, but it is landside (before security). Especially for international flights, I’d much prefer an airside lounge (post security). Every drink before an international flight in coach matters :-)

Overall, I’m hoping Delta builds a world class terminal that more closely matches it’s international ambitions. As a JFK based Platinum Medallion, I’m rooting for Delta to win in NY,  but in order to do so, they will need to build a home where business and leisure travelers alike feel comfortable.

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