Largest airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) serves as the largest airport for New York City. It is the primary international hub, and most popular for anyone traveling from outside the United States.

JFK Airport was initially named Idlewild, after the golf course that made way for the original airfield. This was common for the time, with many airports across the world being built on former golf courses, air force landing fields, and even old soccer pitches – basically anywhere flat or cheap land could be found.

JFK was eventually named as such, one month after the assassination of President John F Kennedy. Unlike previous name changes, JFK stuck in the national consciousness – Idlewild becoming a distant memory.

JFK Airport is the primary International Airport in New York. It was initially built to relieve pressure from the LaGuardia Field, which suffered the issue of overcrowding. It is currently the busiest international air passenger gateway into North America, operating over ninety airlines with flights to destinations all over the six inhabited continents. It is the sixth-busiest airport in the United States of America and the 21st busiest in the world.

John F. Kennedy International Airport Parking lot
John F. Kennedy International Airport Arrivals Building parking lot 1959. Photo: Edward Crellin, Flickr

By 1954, the airport had already become the busiest terminal worldwide. Five terminals were built to cope with new demand, with another two following on later. There are now six separate passenger terminals across the airport site, although some have been demolished and rebuilt over the years.

New plans across JFK Airport are being worked on, with new terminals and expanded construction ones. You might notice that although there are technically eight terminals, some are vacant, and others are currently being rebuilt or refurbished at any one time. It currently has four runways with more than 150 gates in total, with 35,000 people being employed.

JFK Airport Terminal 1

Terminal one was first opened in 1998, the original terminal becoming too small and lacking the capacity to serve all its carriers.

John F. Kennedy International Airport  Terminal 1
jfk airport terminal 1; Photo by Drew Daly

Terminal 1 serves with Airbus A380 aircraft and, for this reason, is popular with the many European and World airlines that use it.

Terminal 1 Lounges

Terminal 1 is home to several airline lounges, including Air France, Korean Airways, and Alitalia. You can access the Air France and Korean lounges with a Priority Pass card and the usual First Class/Airlines membership routes.

Terminal 1 Parking

  • Short Stay – Both terminal 1 and 2 share the Green Lot short term car park.
  • Long Term – Lot 9 offers the cheapest parking for terminal 1. This parking has easy access to terminal 1 via the AirTrain.

JFK International Airport Delta Terminal 2

Terminal Two is also known as the JFK Delta Terminal. Delta inherited this terminal from Pan AM, making it quite a prestigious and large hub. It now serves as Delta’s primary passenger hub. Delta Airlines acquired its JFK hub after its partnership with the Pan Am airlines after Pan Am’s collapse in 1991.

Delta Airlines used to operate the majority of its operations in Terminal 2, but with the opening of Terminal 4, it has been designated as the C Gate with 11 boarding gates from C60 to C70. It is currently exclusively used for domestic flights by Delta Airlines.

It is also known as the Delta JFK Terminal.

Terminal 2 Lounges

Being the Delta Terminal, there is only one lounge available, and you have probably guessed who runs it. The Delta Sky Club is a friendly and quiet lounge with a decent business center and showering facilities.

Generally reserved for Delta One customers, American Express Platinum members can gain access too.

Terminal 2 Parking

  • Short Stay – Terminal 2 and Terminal 1 both share the Green lot, which makes easy access to both terminal.
  • Extended Stay – Lot 9, just off Lefferts Boulevard, is the cheapest option. The AirTrain makes it easy to travel to the terminal building.
AIRTRAIN Services at John F. Kennedy International Airport; Photo: JFK Official FACEBOOK

John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 4:

As Delta has expended its operations at JFK, they needed a new terminal to cope with demand. Terminal 4 was opened in 2013, serving as an overflow for Delta flights and other carriers. It is the first foreign privately operated terminal in the United States of America. This includes nine new international gates, a centralized security checkpoint,  additional baggage space, and customs and border security facilities.

  • Air Europa
  • Air India
  • Air Serbia
  • Asiana
  • Copa Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • El Al
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Delta
  • JetBlue

Terminal 4 has two concourses with 34 gates. Concourses A: A2–A7, Concourses B: B18, and B22–B55(excluding B40, B50, and B52)

Terminal 4 Lounges

As Terminal 4 is a vast facility all by itself, multiple lounges are serving it.

  • Air India Lounge
  • Delta Sky Club
  • El Al King David Lounge
  • Etihad Lounge
  • Swiss Lounge
  • Emirates Lounge
  • Virgin Clubhouse

The Wingtips Lounge offers standard airport lounge services, and daily walk-ins; however, many of the premium airlines will also allow access to their facilities through Priority Pass, American Express and Lounge Club.

Terminal 4 Parking

The Blue or Yellow car parks serve Terminal 4, with easy access to the terminal building.

Transportation between Terminal 2 and Terminal 4

The AirTrain system networks connect the different Terminals in JFK International Airport. These operate 24/7 with an interval of 2-5 minutes and are free of cost.

Free shuttle buses are also operated by Delta Airlines, which are available for the passengers at their disposal.

Services at Terminal 2 and Terminal 4

  • Airport Plaza
  • Charging station
  • ARK services
  • Medical Office
  • ATMs
  • Banks and Currency Exchange
  • Restaurants and Cafes
  • Stores
  • Lounges

Camden food co. at John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 4

John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 5

Terminal five is the home of JetBlue operations and serves as the company’s primary hub. Like Delta, they tend to use terminal 4 as an overflow to take additional capacity.

However, JetBlue is not entirely on their own here. Several smaller carriers fly from this terminal too.

  • Aer Lingus
  • TAP Portugal
  • JetBlue
  • Hawaiian
  • Cape Air

Terminal 5 Lounges

The JetBlue Rooftop Terrace accepts walk-in passengers daily. Needless to say, a pre-booking can not be made, and walk-ins are open to availability.

Terminal 5 Parking

As Terminal 4 and 5 are close by, they share the Blue and Yellow car parks. Access is accessible to both terminals and via AirTrain to others.

JFK Airport Terminal 7

Terminal seven is the British Airways terminal, serving most of their flights from JFK. This terminal is home to the Concorde Lounge, named after the supersonic jet and near gate 1.

Several smaller carriers use this terminal alongside British Airways.

  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Nippon Airways
  • Eurowings
  • Iberia
  • Icelandair
  • LOT Polish
  • Qatar Airways

Terminal 7 Lounges

Terminal 7 is home to the legendary Concorde Lounge, complete with a champagne bar and private booths. Of course, it does also offer good business services and fast Wi-Fi for those who need to work while on the move.

Access is available for any British Airways First Class customer, members of the Executive Club, and Emerald members of the Oneworld frequent flyer club.

Terminal 7 Parking

The Orange Car Park is the closest one to Terminal 7. Access to the terminal is easy and takes a few minutes.

JFK Airport Terminal 8

Home to American Airlines, Terminal Eight, is by far the largest at JFK. British Airways and American Airlines have come together to fund a massive expansion here – with British Airways planned to move terminals when complete.

This makes much sense for both airlines, as they tend to share aircraft and codes across many routes from Europe and the United Kingdom.

A small number of larger international carriers also use terminal 8.

  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Qantas
  • Royal Jordanian

Terminal 8 Lounges

The American Airlines Admirals Club is situated within Terminal 8. It is available for those flying First or Business Class. AAdvantage or Club members can also gain access.

Terminal 8 Parking

The Red Car Park serves Terminal 8, with access provided by the AirTrain to the terminal entrance.

Top Destination of JFK International Airport

With more than 90 Airlines operating to provide direct flights all around the globe, JFK International Airport is among the busiest US airports. As the primary international airport of the city of New York, it serves millions of passengers coming in and out of the region. In 2019 alone, it was reported that JFK International Airport handled around 62.5 million passengers going both in and out of the country.

As such, the JFK International Airport has popular destinations both in the United States and internationally.

Top 10 domestic destinations of JFK (April 2019 – March 2020)

Top 10 list of domestic destinations from JFK starts with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Seattle, San Juan, and Phoenix

Top International destination of JFK(2018-2019)

 The top ten list starts with London, Paris, Mexico City, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Amsterdam, Milan, Madrid, Frankfurt, and Seoul.

JFK International Airport to London

John F. Kennedy International Airport also provides direct and or nonstop flights from New York to London airports like Heathrow Airport. As such, there are 552 nonstop flights between the two cities per week. The flight covers a distance of 3,442 miles, and it can take about 7 hours 5 minutes for a nonstop flight to reach the London Heathrow Airport(LHR) and anywhere from 9 hours and upwards for the direct flights depending on the stopovers.

September is the best season to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London as it is a low season with an average of 22% drop in price for the tickets. June is the busiest and the most popular season to fly to London, with an average 31% rise in the tickets’ price alongside May and July.

The average cost of a round-trip is about $509, but prices can fluctuate according to various situations. These prices also depend on the different class services provided by airlines at varying costs.

The Airlines that provide direct or nonstop flights between JFK and Londons are as follows:

  1. American Airlines
  2.  British Airways
  3. Delta Airlines
  4. Virgin Atlantic
  5. Iberia
  6. Aeroflot-Russian Airlines
  7. Finnair
  8. Aer Lingus
  9. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  10. Air France

JFK airport hotels

There are many hotels adjacent to the John F. Kennedy International Airport ; however, JFK itself has its on-site hotels. The former Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel used to be the only on-site hotel in JFK Airport, which was previously a part of the Forte Hotels and previously the Travelodge New York JFK.

The hotel was known in the 1990s and 2000s as known as “Heartbreak Hotel” due to its role in housing friends and aircraft crash victims’ relatives. However, the hotel had to be closed for financial reasons, with nearly 200 employees losing their jobs.

However, on July 27, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan for a new hotel, TWA Hotel, in a press conference. It was set to be built in the abandoned TWA Flight Center building after its closure in 2001.

The hotel was open for business on May 15, 2019, with 512 rooms and some 50,000 feet of meeting and event space.

John F. Kennedy International Airport has gained its popularity as the busiest and the primary International Airport of New York. The airport is expected to serve about 75 million annual passengers in 2020 and 100 million by 2050, according to the Airport Master Plan Advisory Panel. To prevent the possibilities of overcrowding and increase its capacity, the governor of New York detailed a plan with a budget of $13 billion to innovate and expand the JFK in 2018. The coming year plan has come into fruition with expansion and upgrades of the terminals and the airport.

John F. Kennedy International Airport has also been ranked 59th out of the world’s top 100 airports by Skytrax.

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