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Why I just don’t care about Delta’s new JFK gates – but one good idea – a bus?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


invite to nyc jfk event

I was invited to attend the “press” opening of the “enhanced” new gates at JFK this past Tuesday. I say press opening as it was already open for use a few days before the event. I had a previous engagement that day so I really could not make it and this despite the fact that I, shockingly, could find low level Delta award seats out of SBN to JFK the day before the event and back home the day after.

But the real reason I did not go was I just don’t care much about JFK and neither should you. Here is why:

1) Its too dang long. I hope you like walking. I mean from one end to the other can take 20+ minutes at a normal pace. Take your time walking and it’s like half an hour end to end. No thanks.

2) Weather in NYC. It is no secret that NYC often has issues and delays. I always plan extra time if connecting via NYC and I am sure you do too.

3) Transcon non-Delta upgrades. Delta’s ridiculous sorta kinda Diamond and Platinum only if you know the “secret handshake ” upgrades for the transcon routes is beyond madding. BTW, you will still not find info on Delta.com about these upgrades.

4) Skyclub vs LGA Centurion. OK, the Skydeck is neat. The rest of JFK club is just – meh. More $kyGrub food, crowded and often not all that clean. And then see point 1 to get to your gate.

5) The bus “JITNEY”. How about a quick people mover like in ATL or DTW. A bus? Really? I mean better than walking, but still.

I could go on and on. If going to Europe, on a night flight, you get less sleep vs DTW or ATL or MSP. Heck, if I lived in the area I would fly backwards to one of those airport and then to Europe for more miles anyway 🙂 .

The funny thing is I do like the bus. Not that having to take a bus from one end of a terminal to the other is a smart move compared to ATL that has the “plane train” or DTW that has a similar idea for just one long terminal, but it is something MSP could REALLY use. If you come in at one end of MSP and out of the other end of the regional wing it is a walk JFK worthy.

Don’t get me wrong, avoiding T2 is better but that is the only real perk for transit. What do you think. Are you impressed with the NEW ENHANCED JFK? Do the better food choices make it worth the visit? You tell me – René
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

19 Comments

  1. “Heck, if I lived in the area I would fly backwards to one of those airport and then to Europe for more miles anyway.” MQMs only now.

    • @AndyTLe – Uh, hate to break this to you, it has been all about MQMs only for YEARS now. 😉

  2. I totally agree about the walk in JFK it’s really absurd!! I can’t imagine who designed the terminal without thinking about it. My other complaint is the last 3 times I went to the JFK (T4) sky club the wait just for the check-in took 5 to 15(!!!) minutes. They never have enough agents, and the agents seem to take their time, get involved with very long customer situations, and they don’t call for more help.

    • @Jim – Agree on the wait to get in. It can be bad at times. Nice they want to help, but how about at least one agent for check-in only!

  3. LonK in the ATL Reply

    What a joke that bus is… here the definition of a Jitney!!!
    Jit·ney
    noun NORTH AMERICAN informal
    a bus or other vehicle carrying passengers for a low fare
    or is it really a word for a third world bus???

  4. MSPDeltaDude Reply

    Thanks for the MSP love 🙂 I’m always thankful I’ve only had to connect here a couple of times.

    • @MSPDeltaDude – Sure! But what is up with no showers in any of the MSP clubs? Do you all not get dirty up north? 😉

  5. Often, JFK international departures in business class can be significantly cheaper than DTW or ATL. I have had tickets that are almost 50% cheaper to both Europe and Asia. I know the transfer from the new JFK terminal to the old by bus and tarmac (especially in the rain and with luggage) is an insult, but the savings are immense. I’ve had clients tell me the non-stop from DTW is a deal-breaker in terms of cost (often more expensive than my fees).

  6. T2 over T4 any day!

    T2 is compact, you can make it to your gate in just a couple of min and the SkyClub is just as meh.

  7. MSP isn’t bad as a home airport, but I certainly wouldn’t want to connect here. What a stupid layout. I avoid JFK at all costs simply because EVERY time I’ve EVER been there I’ve been delayed for one reason or another.

  8. Yep, very very long walk. Not well thought out. It is even worse when you arrive and have to go to baggage claim. I feel bad for people who are less able bodied.

  9. Have to disagree on most of this as I live in NYC and use JFK all the time. I can walk from one end of T4 to the other in 10 minutes, and if I were rushing I’m sure I could do it in 5. There are also Delta cities in Europe you can only access from JFK, such as ZRH (year round), NCE, CPH, ARN or MXP, just to name a few. The jitney runs very frequently and does its job connecting T4 to T2. Yes, there’s no Centurion club, but I didn’t think there was one in DTW, MSP or ATL either, the last time I checked.

  10. YES. Don’t even get me started about the new T4. Most user-unfriendly terminal OF ALL TIME. Nevermind that it’s completely ADA-unfriendly. Would you take your grandmother on a flight through JFK? Heck no.

    Check-in is slower. Security is WAY slower. The way they’ve even designed the security lines to line up against those glass walls is ridiculous. And then you have the pleasure of a mile walk to your gate, and the SkyClub is a half mile past that. The walk BACK to baggage claim after a redeye flight is insulting. It’s even longer.

    It’s completely and utterly ridiculous. Every time I have to use T4, I think about how I should’ve gone to T2 and taken the bus just to avoid being so angry about it.

  11. If it weren’t for JFK I’d probably be dead. I get very little exercise in my life, so I leave from JFK and I’m healthy again.
    And arriving into JFK is even better; the baggage claim is considerably further away; I feel like an Olympian.
    And the SkyDeck; where else can you fiercely compete with bugs and gnats for your food.
    But I live on Long Island. It’s 20 minutes door to door and I can fly almost anywhere without having to change planes.
    As a platinum, when I fly to Atlanta from LGA or JFK I don’t have to worry about getting an upgrade; I know that I will NOT get one.
    One thing that’s great about T4; the plumbing (I helped design it many moons ago).

  12. Funny you talk about the walking…I did the first class Santiago, DO mileage run you mentioned last year, and upon arrival, we parked at the very last gate. We walked forever (bus wasn’t an option since arriving on international flight). It took 5 times as long to walk than it did to get through immigration/customs (granted, I have Global Entry, but still!). The new terminal is way better than T2, though, and I try to find flights that arrive at T4 (some domestics do, I’ve found) when I travel there. It’s more convenient for me since my brother lives in Brooklyn I can take the AirTrain and then hop on the A train.

  13. I like to refer to Terminal 4 as “Interminable 4” because the walk never ends.

    One tip. If you are arriving and don’t need to pick up a bag, take the first stairway down after you round the corner. It’s a short cut that skips baggage claim and cuts out a lot of walking. I walked past it many times before I finally tried it. I don’t know why!

  14. I’ve been going to wingtips avoiding the wait at skyclub and better selection of food and drinks. I also have to give myself time to get to my gate.

  15. LHR to JFK flies out of LHR Terminal 3. Which means you get to use the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class club, rather than the Delta Sky Club. Definite win.

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