JFK Terminal 7: Quite a passable experience

With the pleasant memory of JetBlue’s dedicated Terminal 5 still in the back of my head (we wrote about it), Terminal 7 at JFK feels a bit claustrophobic upon entering. But it takes a lot more for me to give up. Surely there has to be more to the home of British Airways at JFK. Let’s have a more closer look:

Wikipedia tells us that Terminal 7 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK; LD hub page) was built for the former British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and Air Canada in the early 1970s. As we established earlier, it is currently owned and operated by British Airways. What’s historically more special though, is that this terminal was the only one owned and operated by a foreign carrier on US soil ever, anywhere. Today, the terminal serves a few other Oneworld alliance carriers such as Iberia, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. The Star Alliance carriers United Airlines, US Airways and ANA also use the terminal.

Let’s get back to my experience: After a slightly messy check-in which wasn’t particularly the fault of British Airways (rather blame my packing skills), I made my way to the security queue. Unfortunately the queue looked longer than the guest list of Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding. Suggestion: pull out your frequent flyer card and queue over at the business class security check (with no queue). In fact, those security guys looked so bored, I’m pretty sure you could talk your way through even without an explicit access privilege at hand.

Once through, the terminal still feels somewhat cramped, but a lot less than I had feared initially. And then something weird happened: I started to actually quite like this terminal. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice, I’d still rather be at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, but right then, I could definitely spend some time there without getting bored. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Check out the “Discover New York” shop for any last souvenirs (I particularly liked the PAN AM memorabilia and the Museum of Modern Art articles) – near gates 9/10
  • Sit down for a minute and enjoy a drink in the Bombay Sapphire lounge
  • Visiting on of the Xpres Spa franchises is always a good idea, particularly if you want to get rid of some tension before your flight (e.g. enjoy a 15 minute neck and back massage) – next to gate 7
  • Score yourself a bargain DVD deal at InMotion Entertainment and enjoy those movies on your laptop while waiting in the terminal
  • Grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks, then enjoy it at one of the nearby seats with airfield view and laptop connection points. You can even get complimentary internet – sponsored by British Airways. However, don’t forget to bring an Ethernet cable as only wired connections are free.
  • If you’re feeling peckish, you’re in luck as the terminal offers a good range of food options: for a sit-down meal you could try Todd English’s bonfire restaurant near gates 3/4 or wander to the food court which you will find in the middle of the terminal. You will find a selection of outlets: Auntie Anne’s, McDonald’s, Balducci’s food lovers market, Grove and Wolfgang Puck Express.

Well, who would have thought this terminal could entertain me so much? Sure, it has its bottlenecks and there could be more space to sit down and relax without having to check into a restaurant, but overall, you can surely spend a couple of hours here without getting bored, thirsty or hungry! That is, if you had to, of course.

→ Find further information for John F. Kennedy International Airport on the LateDeparture hub page.

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Joe Shlabotnik]