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Delta Announces Underwhelming Plan for JFK Renovation

by on August 7, 2010 · 6 comments

in Delta, JFK Airport

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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  • Andrew Begg

    Hey it’ll be a sad day when they demolish Terminal 3. That’s the old Pan Am World Port, and it was one of the iconic 60′s terminals that made JFK glamorous back in the day. It’s architecture was pretty revolutionary at the time, and it even had a massive sculpture out the front by a famous artist, now long gone sadly. The TWA Terminal was saved by Jet Blue, thankfully, but American demolished their iconic building to replace it with it’s new, but characterless building. The old one had a massive stained glass window the full length of the terminal, which is now being sold off piece by piece by junk dealers. Delta’s Terminal 3 may be a dump nowadays, but I’m sure some imagination could save it and bring it back to life as part of a larger and more efficient complex.

  • Jonathan

    JFK has sucked for a very long time. From what you describe, it will suck for a long time to come.

  • Anonymous

    Sad that the old Pan Am Terminal is not being reconfigured for another use. I know it is way too small for use as a terminal but I would have liked to have seen it saved aka what jet blue did. Heck, yank out the V shaped extension and leave the old terminal. The walkway between 2 and 4 is going right through the site, just make it into some post-security lounge or something. That would be cool!

  • http://twitter.com/EpsilonProcess Anthony Stramaglia

    I absolutely echo the sentiments that the original Pan Am terminal should be spared from demolition and restored to its former glory. Its footprint isn’t that disruptive if the big ugly 70′s addition behind it is torn down for aircraft parking, and it sits in a good strategic location that would make it a good midway point in the T2 to T4 connector being proposed. It could be used for even more dining and entertainment options, and heck even a Pan Am or Delta museum.

    http://www.facebook.com/PanAmWorldport

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