Even the most seasoned frequent flier must contend with tedious security lines, overflowing flights and weather delays this time of year. Fortunately, NYC’s airports are in the process of upgrading their amenities — and adding some cool technology, too.
John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK)
Slowly but surely the terminals at New York’s busiest airport are getting much-needed upgrades.
Terminal 2/3: Ground has been broken on Delta’s new terminal, scheduled to open in 2013. In the meantime, Delta and OTG Management have rolled out an iPad ordering system that allows diners to place orders at Croque Madame, a new eatery with a menu by Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde), and Bar Brace, from chef Jason Denton (‘ino).
Terminal 5: When Jet Blue opened T5 in 2008 it raised the bar for airport concepts. There’s free WiFi throughout, an abundance of plugs at which to charge your devices and kiddie playzones. Shopping and dining options include premium experiences such as Muji to-go and Deep Blue Sushi, created by Buddakan’s Michael Schulson. Keep an eye out for holiday-themed performances as a part of the T5 concert series.
Terminal 8: Last-minute shoppers are in luck if they’re flying American Airlines from JFK. This terminal has a MET store, Clinique and Brookstone boutiques. At inMotion Entertainment you can rent a DVD player and DVDs and mail back the whole thing back from anywhere in the U.S.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
The smallest of the city’s three major airports is also the closest to Manhattan, geographically speaking.
Delta Terminal: The biggest news here is that Delta and OTG are putting the final touches on an iPad ordering system akin to the program already in service at JFK. Plus, the terminal’s dining options are getting a complete overhaul. Next up is Crust, a pizza joint serving Neapolitan-style pies, antipasti and salads, with a menu designed by Jim Lahey (Co., Sullivan St. Bakery).
Central Terminal Building: Have some time to kill? Take advantage of the seasonal specials at the shops, including a free gift from Taxco Sterling with $100 retail purchase at any of the shops and a universal 20 percent coupon. Shops include The Body Shop, Borders, a MET store and I-Tech X-Perience, an electronics mecca.
Newark Airport (EWR)
Overall, the New Jersey airport faired the best in a recent Zagat survey.
Terminal C: A hub for Continental, one of the U.S.’s top-ranking airlines, this terminal is bound to have some premium perks. Among them: D_parture Spa, L’Occitane en Provence, an outpost of Grand Central Oyster Bar and Vino Volo, a wine bar with an adjacent wine shop.
USEFUL TRAVEL TOOLS:
24/7 access to frequently requested information from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Many airlines offer free apps available for for the iPhone and iPad (and, coming soon, select Blackberry and Android). Check-in, access your eBoarding pass and check flight status directly from your device.
The Port Authority of NY/NJ’s official Twitter feed, @NY_NJairports, is monitored weekdays 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Follow for service advisories, useful tips, resources and occasional airline deals.
World's best airports:
Changi International Airport in Singapore is full of luxurious amenities, including:
- A Balinese-themed rooftop swimming pool with bar at Terminal 1 (There’s a small fee to use it).
- A series of gardens, including butterfly and sunflower gardens in Terminal 2.
- Free cultural and colonial tours of Singapore for passengers with five or more hours to kill.
Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Korea features:
- A free full-service massage room and spa (“Spa on Air”) open 24 hours.
- A full-size driving range and 18-hole putting course.
Hong Kong International Airport has the largest 4-D screen in Asia, with state-of-the-art 3D projection system and seven supporting sensory effects.
Cape Town International Airport in South Africa has unisex bathrooms in its new Slow Lounge, where the stalls face out onto the runway, earning the name, “Loo with a view.” But don’t worry – silver mesh on the outside makes it one-way.