Inside the newest Delta JFK Terminal 4 expansion


Take a long walk down the length of JFK’s Terminal 4 and, after a while, you’ll discover that Delta and the airport have expanded once again. Delta JFK Terminal 4 now has 11 new gates available for operations, mostly focused on regional jets and helping to pull even more passengers out of the misery which is the Terminal 2 facility. Yes, it is a long walk (~15 minutes when I timed it during the grand opening event yesterday) from the security checkpoint to these new gates, but having them available is absolutely a good thing for travelers in several ways.

The latest expansion extend the Delta JFK Terminal 4 all the way out to the taxiways. A long walk but worth it.
The latest expansion extend the Delta JFK Terminal 4 all the way out to the taxiways. A long walk but worth it.

The main benefit of the new gates is the consolidation of travelers into a single terminal. Gail Grimmett, Delta’s SVP-New York, noted that 65% of the Delta Express passengers coming through JFK are connecting to another flight. Putting them in the terminal where the other flights are more likely to be departing from means fewer bus transfers and a generally better travel experience. It is worth noting that the “JFK Jitney” bus Delta operates will now serve both ends of the T4B pier so connecting passengers can take the bus rather than walk if so desired.

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The concessions in Terminal 4 are also much better than in Terminal 2 so that’s a win for those travelers. The new extension has a restaurant – Urban Crave – and a Hudson News so passengers all the way out at the end have some amenities available without walking back up into the main part of the terminal.

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The seating area in the new space is also quite well appointed. Power outlets are everywhere and readily accessible for passengers. No need to crawl around or duck under the seats to find them.

Power outlets are everywhere in the new Delta JFK Terminal 4 space
Power outlets are everywhere – and easily accessible – in the new Delta JFK Terminal 4 space

The gates are mostly focused on RJ operations but they can also be used for narrow-body mainline flights up to the 737s. That does involve blocking an adjacent gate but it is an option. Also, two of the gates are connected to the FIS facility to handle international arrivals if necessary, though most of Delta’s RJ operations at JFK currently serve preclearance airports.

Ground markings show how the new Delta JFK Terminal 4 expansion can be used for mainline or RJs
Ground markings show how the new Delta JFK Terminal 4 expansion can be used for mainline or RJs

And, finally, there are some excellent plane spotting opportunities available out at the end of the terminal. Bested perhaps only by T5’s big windows.

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The views of Lower Manhattan from the new Delta JFK Terminal 4 expansion are top notch
The views of Lower Manhattan from the new Delta JFK Terminal 4 expansion are top notch

JFK has, for a long time, been railed on as a horrible place to fly through. I personally think that reputation is somewhat undeserved, depending on which terminal you’re passing through. This new expansion will reduce the number of passengers who are in one of the “bad” terminals and put them in one of the best. That’s good news for everyone involved.

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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, and LinkedIn.

4 Comments

  1. I am struck by the fact that Delta has finally acknowledged the end to end distance by adding a new jitney service between gates 18 and 54. Was a people-mover out of the question when this monstrosity was first planned?

    1. If you mean a tram of some source similar to what DTW has for a “people mover” then, yes, that was out of the question for a variety of reasons.

  2. I am another who has never hated JFK but I really do not know where you are coming from when you proclaim “the misery which is the Terminal 2 facility.”

    In my opinion, T2 is a perfectly easy-to use compact terminal that was overused by Delta’s building that deplorable RJ farm out at the end. I believe that much of what you referred to as “misery” was simply overcrowding, which had started to abate there from the day that T4 opened. I have not been there since they got rid of the RJs.

    As far as amenities are concerned, DL is adding those charging posts everywhere and the restaurants are certainly adequate for the domestic O&D flyers who use the place and do not worry about long connection times without food. Does anybody really plan to go to the airport to eat?

    As a last point. Have you ever checked out the security lines there? They are consistently the shortest of any at any airport that I use (save maybe the DL side at MIA). To me, short security lines certainly do not connote “misery” for the average traveler.

    As usual, we will agree to disagree but I am one who uses the place with regularity and have few complaints.

    1. T4 was open the last time I was in T2. The chaos and crowds made it unbearable. Getting through the mass of people just to move from a gate to the bathroom and back was an ordeal.

      For me it remains the worst of the air-side experiences available at JFK.

      Glad it works for you, but it is not an experience I’m keen to repeat anytime soon.

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