I haven’t written much about JFK Terminal 5 lately, and really, there’s no good excuse. JetBlue has put together what looks to be a great terminal here that will really make a big difference for people flying the airline to and from New York. Unfortunately, the opening date has slipped from October 1 to October 22, but that’s still not very far off.
Frequent JetBlue fliers will be happy to know that the terrible T6 days are numbered. The terminal itself is fine . . . for an airline half JetBlue’s size. JFK’s frequent delays left plenty of people huddling anywhere they could find a spot to sit for hours and hours on end. It was just way too crowded, and that’s why JetBlue built T5. Here’s a Google Maps snapshot of the two side by side (with T6 on the left).
As you can see, this is a nice-sized expansion in usable space. Not only that, it’ll offer 5 more gates than the old Terminal 6. Now take a look at Terminal 5 a little closer. See that tulip-shaped building in the front with two tubes connecting to the main terminal? That’s the old Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal (at left) that is absolutely a world-class landmark in design. When JetBlue decided to take over TWA’s old terminal, they committed to keeping that original structure and build their new terminal behind.
The reality is that you never need to set foot in the original terminal, because the roadway will extend behind that terminal and right in front of the new one. But you’ll still be able to go through the original one if you’d like, and that’s pretty cool.
The new terminal looks really basic with large, airy ceilings and lots of light. It’s definitely inviting but not overdone. Some of the restaurants look pretty interesting as well. Now, I haven’t been there yet, so I can’t really say anything definitive except for one thing . . . this will be far better than the current JetBlue experience at JFK.
If you’d like to see some great pictures of the new space, head over to Towers and Tarmacs.
[TWA Flight Center photo by pheezy via Flickr]
The roadway goes behind the Saarinen terminal, but the AirTrain stops in front of it. I guess it was too expensive to relocate the tracks. I wonder what the interior of the building will look like, they should at least provide moving walkways.
The inside of the TWA terminal is empty right now, although the tubes to connect to the new T5 are finished. The Port Authority has done 2 RFPs on how to redevelop the terminal, but haven’t found a good one yet. I wish they’d do a restaurant or hotel, but because it’s a historical landmark, it puts limits on what can be done.
I hope that this new terminal will be the beginning of a better rather than worse track record for the airline. I’ve read so many negative reviews of them, but personally, my experience has mostly been very good…They’re definitely my first choice of airline to fly – if price is the same or close to the same as what another carrier is offering.
Dr. Tantillo (’the marketing doctor’) has (a blog on branding) did two posts a while back criticizing JetBlue for their sneaky/deceptive frequent flyer program (miles expire – but this isn’t made clear up-front) and well-publicized gaffes.
Links to JetBlue posts on Tantillo blog:
Jet Blue Needs To Remember Its Customers
Jet Blue Again
The inside of the new terminal is quite impressive indeed. The hike from the AirTrain stop to the check-in/TSA area is, well, a hike. Probably over a half mile, though there are some moving sidewalks to help out with that. But they couldn’t move the tracks because they couldn’t get a long enough straight section for the train to stop at.
Some more pics from a few months back are here (http://www.wanderingaramean.com/2008/06/behind-scenes-at-jetblues-new-jfk-t5.html).
In JetBlue’s defense on the grand opening date slipping, the cause was not the construction nor the airline. It was that the concessions weren’t ready to go last week. Seems a bit silly, but it is true.
And it will take a couple months before they are operating from all the gates. A few of them are blocked by the current “remote” stand terminal that you can see in the picture just above the western wing of the new space.
I’m looking forward to heading out to JFK on the 22nd to see the new place running!
“they couldn’t get a long enough straight section for the train to stop at” — I think this shows lack of creativity. For instance, there’s definitely room for a long straingt track inside the terminal, which could be built on an upper level. Other creative solutions are to modify the cars so that the doors are at the end, and then they can stop on a curved track (like the IRT in South Ferry). Or moveable platforms that extend to the center doors when the train is stopped at a curved starion. My guess is that in the end it all boils down to cost.
This looks like another hub for most jet-setters. Is the terminal tax high? Changi Airport in Singapore is among the cream of the crop of terminals that do not charge terminal fee. That being waived, helps us save some amount money.
I’d been at JetBlue’s T5 last month. The interior is quite impressive. It’s advisable to talk a walk for a good 20 minutes to enjoy the view of it. The ground crews were also nice and accommodating…
Are there laws that restricts the old TWA terminal to be converted to just about anything (hotel or restaurant as suggested by Benet above) other than its original purpose (airport terminal)? It would definitely be a strain to the Port Authority if it would not be a revenue earner.
It’s almost three years and JetBlues had been doing well with their facilities and manpower. They have the best views as came to stroll on the area. They’ve slowly improved it over the years.