The View is Getting Better at JFK’s T4 – Behind the Scenes of Delta’s Expansion (Guest Post)

Anyone flown through Terminal 3 at JFK on Delta lately? Fortunately, that miserable experience is soon coming to an end with the opening of Delta’s new Terminal 4 expansion in May. Justin Harrison works with SmartFlyer, a travel agency in New York that we affiliate with at Cranky Concierge. He was given a sneak peek of the terminal as they work to get it ready to open and I’m happy to be able to share his write-up and photos here with you.


On May 24, Delta will be opening its expansion of Terminal 4 at New York’s JFK Airport with some incredible new features for travelers. Among the most exciting features are the 24,000 square foot Sky Club, an open-space TSA checkpoint, and the unparalleled Sky Deck.

Delta Poster

Doreen Baron of Delta NYC, and Harry Olsen, the on-site program director, were kind enough to give us a behind the scenes look at what Delta has in store for their loyal fliers.

Harry and his team have been diligently working on T4 over the past two years, and their efforts to make Delta’s presence at JFK shine more so than before are immediately obvious. Delta has check-in kiosks conveniently located upon entry to the terminal, even manned kiosks curbside for preferred travelers, and they’ve installed a sharp red-walled area for Sky Priority members to check-in quickly.

Proceeding through check-in reveals a short walk to security, which is refreshingly open and actually appealing (as much as a TSA checkpoint can be); the multitude of lanes seems to lend itself to a speedy process. Security is within the main building, and the soaring ceiling and open space helps the area stand out from the typical claustrophobic experience.

New Security Checkpoint

Presented with a stunning closeup of the 320 foot high control tower after clearing security, passengers proceed through the open shopping area on the floor below while heading to their gates.

Main Shopping Area Past Security

On the way they will pass by one of Delta’s most exciting additions, the new Sky Club.

Entrance to Sky Club

The expanded concourse holds the new Sky Club lounge, which is 24,000 square feet in size and will hold two spa rooms, a cafe, multiple sitting areas, and a full service bar.

Sky Club Bar

The main draw, however, is what’s happening outside, literally, on the Sky Deck.

Beginnings of the Sky Deck

The Delta Sky Deck will allow those with access to the Sky Club to enjoy the comings and goings of aircraft at JFK from an unsurpassed view, all the while enjoying the absolute finest service that the carrier has to offer. While we were there it was still being constructed but were told that it would hold up to 45 people at a time. While on the roof by the unfinished structure we were close enough to hear the planes touch down on the runway, and a sea of Delta tailfins were lined up at the gates behind us, almost within reach. Hands down frequent travelers will be amazed at the sights and amenities this new addition has to offer.

The new concourse also has good things in store for all regular Delta fliers as well; each seating area in the expanded terminal area includes multiple power ports and USB ports for each seat. There are no awkward power stations to be found here, glaring and huddled around by those hoping to get a last-minute charge before flight time. Instead there are only aesthetically pleasing seating areas built with convenience in mind from the outset for each and every traveler.

Seating in Concourse

Delta clearly has an eye firmly fixed on the future of every flier’s wants and needs at JFK, and is clearly adept at meeting each and every one of them, aiming to keep every process speedy and comfortable. For an official rendering of what Delta’s put in place, watch the video below, and prepare to get excited about what the near future has to offer on your next trip through JFK.


Justin Harrison is the Corporate and VIP Account Executive with SmartFlyer. You can learn more about SmartFlyer on Facebook and on Twitter @theSmartFlyer.

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28 Comments on "The View is Getting Better at JFK’s T4 – Behind the Scenes of Delta’s Expansion (Guest Post)"

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Jim M
Guest

Shiny and new. . . .those seats are the same as they put in at Sacramento’s new airport. They are frickin awesome. . .

Bill from DC
Guest

Really looks great, it should be a greatly improved experience for elites and regular travelers alike. Of course, DL benefits from having set an extremely low bar at JFK via T2 and T3! T2 flyers will be jealous, that is for sure.

Neil S
Guest

Agree that it looks cool. Does anyone know how the logistics work? Do the current T2 and T3 become 4? Behind? Next to?

And will the current JFK Terminal 4 – international flights – be renumbered?

James S
Guest
That shiny new “open plan” security checkpoint will only be as good as it gets staffed. How many times in the last ten years have we seen airports open massive new checkpoints with a dozen lanes, only to watch TSA staff three of them and lines of passengers back up? Same thing happens any time an airport builds a shiny new FIS/Customs hall. In these budget-conscious days I’m highly skeptical that we’ll ever see that checkpoint running at full capacity. Beyond that gripe (which is out of Delta’s control) kudos to DL for finally fixing its most glaring facility issue.… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member

I’d say look to T5 as an example. When it opened, it had more lanes than any other checkpoint in the US. Even during the holidays when Jetblue has lines spilling out of the terminal they are so long, TSA does not open every position.

To think of the waste of all the capital costs for scanners…

David SF eastbay
Member

My first thought about the large security checkpoint area was the same as James S said, it’s only good if they use all the lanes.

It will be all nice and new, but it will still be JFK, so does it all really matter?

SEAN
Guest

How many total gates will Delta have at T4, as T2 has 9 & T3had 18 before closing.

DesertGhost
Guest

Today’s cutting edge architecture often becomes dated. That’s what it looks like to me. But it’s an airport. What does one expect? The important thing is the building’s functionality. And it looks like Delta has hit a home run in that department.

Bill Hough
Guest

What the flacks at DL didn’t tell you is that the Atlanta-based carrier continues to plan on demolishing the historic Pan Am “umbrella” terminal as part of their JFK expansion plan. Nobody disputes the need to remove the blight of the early 1970s PA terminal expansion, but DL is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Fortunately, a grassroots campaign, “Save the Worldport [sic]” is trying to rectify this:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/group-fights-save-jfk-airport-old-pan-am-223909140–finance.html

http://www.savetheworldport.org/

chbrown03
Guest

Sadly the first thought I had about the security area was that I hoped it didn’t turn into a T-5 situation. Apparently I’m not alone in that evaluation! New facility looks great and I’m excited to check out the Sky Deck…the loss of observation decks in the post 9-11 is still something I haven’t quite gotten over!

Brad
Guest

Delta has done a wonderful job in New York overall. Laguardia is efficient and pleasant and the New JFK gates will be awesome! Well done Delta and a good article on the progress….

PeteyNice
Guest

Is part of this T4 expansion going to allow you to go from the AirTrain to the terminal without having to go outside/cross streets like you have to now for T2/3?

TravelBloggerBuzz
Guest

Looking good, thanks for posting this!

Neil Cosentino
Guest

Coming soon …the 1st 21st century Global airport.

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