Terminal hopping at JFK


What to do on a lazy Sunday morning when there isn’t much else going on in New York City?  Why not head out to JFK Airport and check out a few airline lounges and watch the planes flying?  That’s exactly what I did with a couple friends, getting to talk about travel and schemes to maximize benefits as well as just hanging out and enjoying the lounges.

Our first stop was the Flagship Lounge operated by American Airlines.  The lounge is reserved for their first class passengers traveling Internationally or on the Flagship transcon service and is much more similar to the lounges operated by international carriers than a typical Admirals Club.  It was really quite nice inside – bright and wide open with nice windows looking down on the terminal and taxiways below.  There were about as many employees in the lounge as there were passengers – 6 or so of each – so there were always folks around to help out if we needed anything.  They had some food and drink options that were not particularly inspiring but they were better than nothing, I suppose.  The Flagship Lounge also had some workstations available for use and free WiFi via TMobile if desired, both of which were nice.  Apparently the bandwidth was sufficient for one of the other guys in the lounge to be streaming porn on his laptop so that is a good metric for the speed performance, I suppose.  With the less than impressive “lunch” service out and not so nourishing we decided to head out of that lounge and make our way to the next stop, jetBlue’s T5 facility.

This was the first visit for either of my friends to the jetBlue terminal (but not mine) so it was quite enjoyable to see their reactions in person as we entered the facility.  The walk over from the AirTrain station didn’t seem so bad this time and we very quickly found ourselves with boarding passes in hand and passing quickly through the TSA checkpoint.  Once inside we were treated to the pleasure that is the bright and open terminal.  They were quite impressed and we we wandered around a bit before making our way to the end of the center pier to watch planes for a while.  They still have the issues of overlapping announcements from adjacent gates but that is something that I don’t think is going away.  And they still have one of the best plane-spotting locations available.  Sadly, the runway under construction at JFK is one of the two that crosses in front of the jetBlue terminal so the spotting was not as good as it was last time I visited, but there were still some good photo opportunities to be had.  Oh, and the Asian food place is still really good.

One of three different *A liveried planes at the field on Sunday

Lining up to head in to the gates

A Delta jet on climb-out

All in all it was a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.  Definitely better than being stuck in the chaos surrounding the Puerto Rico Day parade.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

3 Comments

  1. Hey there just stumbled across your blog from the flyertalk forums. I think your writing style is great as well as your photography. Going to go back and read some of your archived stuff. Just curious, it seems you take a lot of trips, are most of these for business or are you just a wanderer?

  2. Hey Mark…glad you're enjoying the blog!

    Over the last 18 months or so I've only actually had 3 business trips – Bermuda, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Everything else has just been me wandering about. Almost 200,000 miles at this point, about 15 countries (I haven't counted lately) and tons of great stories that I've managed to collect on random cheap fares and trips just because I can.

    And I've got a whole bunch more trips planned in the same vein. 😀

  3. Awesome, if you can do it why not. Looks like a fun day, I assume for this trip you guys got refundable tickets and then just explored the airport? I'll keep reading so keep them coming.

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