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June 09, 2017

Over the course of 2016, some 58.9 million passengers had passed through John F. Kennedy International Airport, making it one of the busiest airports in the United States and the single busiest airport for international travelers entering the country.

John F. Kennedy Interational Airport — commonly known as “JFK” — was built in the 1940s as only a supplement to LaGuardia Airport. When it opened in 1948, it was known as New York International Airport-Anderson Field, or more simply Idlewild (in honor of the golf course demolished to make way for the runways and terminals).

Less than a month after President Kennedy was assassinated, the airport was renamed in his honor. And the adjunct airport quickly surpassed LaGuardia in capacity.

JFK Airport is located in Queens, New York City, and it’s so large it doesn’t even require a unique address. Instead, the JFK airport address is distinguished only by its own zip code: Jamaica, New York, 11430.

Travelers will find JFK to be well-connected to Manhattan by an AirTrain system that links with the subway. Buses and an official express shuttle (the NYC Airporter) also bring travelers from JFK to Manhattan, and vice versa.

Because there are so many travelers passing through New York City’s busiest transportation hub, it can be difficult to navigate the sprawling 4,930-acre complex. Whether you’re rushing through to make a connecting flight or killing time before your departure, this comprehensive guide to JFK’s terminals will help you make the most of your time at the airport.

JFK Terminal 1 Airport Guide

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Terminal 1

John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 1 is a four-story building with 11 gates. Its levels include Arrivals, a Mezzanine, Departures, and the Concourse Level, where travelers pass through the security checkpoint and ultimately board.

Terminal 1 Food

Terminal 1 has a modest mix of dining options, most of which are fast casual and chains.

Fast Food

Travelers searching for a quick meal without much concern for nutritional value should grab a dog at New York Hotdog & Coffee, which is probably best known for serving a hotdog topped with sesame seeds and bulgogi (a Korean-style marinated beef).

Coffee Shops

For a caffeine boost in Terminal 1, there is a Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and a Euro Café. All three are located pre-security, meaning you’ll want to get your fix before you head to the gate.

Bars

At Idlewild Wine Bar, travelers can order local Hudson Valley wines, while Martini Bar (post-security at the S-Concourse) serves arguably the best cocktails in the terminal.

Terminal 1 Shopping

Travelers will find Terminal 1 filled with all the standard airport retail options: a handful of Hudson News outposts, a New York Gifts for kitschy Big Apple souvenirs, and a handful of high-end post-security boutiques. Whether you forgot a date night outfit or you’re looking for gifts that don’t scream, “last-minute airport buy,” the Clinique and Estee Lauder Counter, Cartier storefront, Coach shop, and L’Occitane kiosk are all worthwhile diversions.

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Things to Do

If you find yourself spending a layover in JFK’s Terminal 1, consider relaxing at the XpresSpa. There’s a location at Gate 6, as well as an XpresSpa kiosk at Gate 3. Come here for a pre-flight facial or post-vacation hand and arm massage to improve circulation.

Charging Stations and W-Fi

There are a number of areas in Terminal 1 where travelers can plug in: a charging station in the Welcome Center, as well as outlets post-security at Gates 5, 7, and 8. Complimentary Wi-Fi, provided by Boingo, is available throughout the New York airport.

Airport Lounges

Terminal 1 is home to an Air France lounge, a Korean Air KAL Business Class Lounge, and a Lufthansa Lounge. Generally speaking, travelers must be flying with a First or Business Class ticket to access these lounges, though there are more than a few ways to get in without splurging on a top-tier ticket.

The Air France lounge, for example, permits Premium Economy travelers who are willing to pay between $35 and $50 for a day rate, depending on the destination. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card holders can also get access to the Air France and KAL Business Class Lounge.

Travelers with status in the airlines’ respective membership programs (Star Gold Cardholders for Lufthansa; Flying Blue Gold, Platinum, Silver, and Ivory for Air France) may also be able to get free access to the airlines’ respective lounges, though the regulations vary wildly depending on the flight.

Terminal 1 Parking Options

Terminal 1 shares the Green Lot with Terminal 2, which is a daily parking lot. Visitors will be charged $4 for every half hour, with a 24-hour maximum of $33.

Travelers looking for long-term JFK airport parking may want to opt instead for Lot 9, on Lefferts Boulevard. This option is accessible by AirTrain and charges $18 for the first 24 hours, with a $6 fee for every 8 hours (That’s less than $150 for a week-long vacation).

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Terminal 1 Airlines

Terminal 1 was opened at 1998 under the direction of four key international airlines: Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa. Because of this, it is capable of accommodating giant Airbus A380s and remains a major hub for these carriers. Today, travelers flying 24 international airlines will use Terminal 1, including Aero Mexico, Air China, Alitalia, Brussels Airlines, China Eastern, EVA Airways, Interjet, Norwegian Air, Royal Air Maroc, and Turkish Airlines, among others.

JFK Terminal 2 Airport Guide

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Seeking the Delta Terminal? JFK’s Terminal 2 is exclusively operated by Delta Air Lines, and has two levels: arrivals and departures. There are 11 boarding gates (C60 to C70), which are exclusively used for domestic destinations, not including flights to and from San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (also known as Sea-Tac).

Terminal 2 Food

Fast Casual

Dining at JFK’s Terminal 2 is especially good, thanks to the contributions from a number of big-name chefs. After security, travelers can grab open-faced sandwiches from New York’s own chef Andrew Carmellini, or Shiso, by Morimoto chef Robby Cook. Yes, we really are recommending airport sushi.

Sit-Down Dinner

Unwind before your flight at the BKLYN Beer Garden, which has an impressive selection of more than 20 beers on tap and a menu of standard American fare by chef Laurent Tourondel. You can also grab a seriously filling Italian dish from Due Amici, near Gate 62.

Terminal 2 Shopping

Don’t expect to do too much shopping at Terminal 2, which sells a few post-security gadgets (in case you left your headphones at home) and also has an outpost of Taste NY. Opened in 2013, this store sells hundreds of food and beverage souvenirs from local New York brands (think: Williamsburg-based Brooklyn Oenology wines), and is open 24 hours a day.

Charging Stations and Wi-Fi

There is one charging station at Terminal 2, which is located before security near the Welcome Center. Complimentary Wi-Fi, provided by Boingo, is available throughout the New York airport.

Airport Lounges

At Terminal 2, the Delta Sky Club serves complimentary snacks all day long, and has a complimentary bar for wine, beer, or a pre-flight cocktail. There’s even a business center equipped with printers and copiers, and bathrooms with showers, so you can be totally ready for the day ahead.

American Express Platinum cardholders can access the lounge for free when flying with Delta, though others can experience the lounge for a $59 one-time day rate.

Terminal 2 Parking Options

Terminal 2 shares the Green Lot with Terminal 1, which is a daily parking lot. Visitors will be charged $4 for every half hour, with a 24-hour maximum of $33.

Terminal 2 Airlines

Only Delta utilizes Terminal 2, meaning travelers flying with other airlines won’t have post-security access to this part of JFK.

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JFK Terminal 3

Also known as the Worldport, JFK’s Terminal 3 was opened in May of 1960, and was primarily used by Pan American World Airways. It was slowly phased out of use and demolished in 2013.

JFK Terminal 4 Airport Guide

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Considered by some to be the single-greatest terminal at JFK, it’s used by a wide number of both international as well as domestic airlines and has an impressive line-up of dining options.

Terminal 4 Food

Fast Casual

Chef Danny Meyer has not one but three restaurants at JFK Terminal 4, including two post-security opportunities to sample his famed Shake Shack burger (or, if you’re in for an early flight, a rare Shake Shack breakfast sandwich). A pared-down version of Meyer’s Blue Smoke barbecue joint is another prime option.

Coffee Shops

Three Dunkin’ Donuts, three Peets Coffee & Tea locations, two Panopolis outposts, and a Flatiron Coffeehouse are just a few examples of the sheer volume of coffee shops in this New York airport.

Terminal 4 Shopping

Beauty brands are particularly prominent at Terminal 4, which has a sweeping Retail Hall and plenty of opportunities to stock up on duty free goods. Jo Malone, Hugo Boss, Kiehl’s, and the travel brand Tumi all have storefronts at this JFK terminal.

Things to Do

A layover at Terminal 4 in JFK is best spent at one of the three XpresSpa locations (Gate A2, B24, and the west end of the Retail Hall). On the Departures level, this terminal notably has a pre-security interfaith chapel.

Charging Stations and Wi-Fi

Charging your drained devices is easy at Terminal 4, which has charging stations in the Welcome Center as well as at all gates.

Airport Lounges

With an Air India Lounge at Gate A5; another Delta Sky Club Lounge at Gate B32; an El Al King David Lounge, Etihad Lounge, and a Swiss Lounge on the fourth floor; and an Emirates Lounge and Virgin Clubhouse at Gate A5, JFK’s Terminal 4 is well-equipped to accommodate top-tier travelers before flights.

Travelers not flying with one of the aforementioned airlines can still enjoy the comfort of an airport lounge at Terminal 4’s Wingtips Lounge. For $50, travelers can receive access to the common-use lounge for up to four hours, with complimentary access to premium passengers on partner airlines (Singapore Airlines, China Southern, and Air Europa, for example) and network members who participate in programs such as Lounge Club and Priority Pass.

Terminal 4 Parking Options

Travelers utilizing Terminal 4 are encouraged to park in either the Blue or Yellow parking garages. Prices start at $5 per half hour, and make reach $39 during a 24-hour period.

Terminal 4 Airlines

Some 30 airlines use Terminal 4 as their home base, including many regional international carriers like Air Serbia, Egyptair, and WestJet.

Domestic airlines with a presence at Terminal 4 include Virgin American, JetBlue, Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines, and the charter airline Miami Air. Even Delta Air Lines operates from this terminal, in addition to their primary location in Terminal 2.

JFK Terminal 5 Airport Guide

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JetBlue’s newly expanded Terminal 5 at JFK now has 38 food and beverage options, 35 shops, and 29 gates. Since it opened in 2008, it’s rapidly become one of JFK’s most contemporary and enjoyable terminals.

Terminal 5 Food

Sit-down Restaurants

Hailed by Eater as the “best sushi you will probably ever eat in an airport,” Deep Blue Sushi by chef Michael Schulson, of New York City’s Buddakan restaurant, is one of the best options for a leisurely pre or post-flight meal at T5.

Surprisingly, Terminal 5 actually has a bevy of appealing sit-down restaurants. The Spanish-style tapas at Piquillo Tapas Bar are a great option if you’re raveling with a group, while the truffle fries at 5iveSteak are reason enough to grab a seat at the contemporary steakhouse.

Sweets

You don’t need to have a sweet tooth to appreciate the dessert options at JFK’s Terminal 5. Here, travelers will find outposts of Dylan’s Candy Bar and the adorable bite-sized cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. There’s also a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, no less than four Dunkin’ Donuts, and a Horizon Bakery Café that sells masterful breads and baked goods.

Terminal 5 Shopping

At the JetBlue terminal in JFK, travelers will find dozens of retail shops for last-minute needs or souvenirs. We especially love the MUJI To Go, which offers design-driven home goods and accessories with a minimalist, Japanese aesthetic, and the Benefit Cosmetics shop.

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Things to Do

Spend a layover at Terminal 5 in the BeRelax Spa, where you can be pampered with pedicures and manicures, an anti jet lag facial, table or chair massages, and oxygen and aromatherapy treatments to help you look refreshed after a full day of flying.

Charging Stations and Wi-Fi

Charging ports are scattered all around the Grandstands at Terminal 5, which are also ideal for people watching. Free wireless Internet is available throughout John F. Kennedy Airport.

Airport Lounges

Travelers have three excellent options for lounging at Terminal 5 — and none of them are hanging out at your gate. At the Moroso Lounge, travelers are perfectly positioned to watch plans takeoff and land. For a breath of fresh air, head to JFK’s only post-security outdoor space, the T5 Rooftop, while you wait for your flight.

For a more traditional lounge experience, the new Airspace Lounge near Gate 24 is open to all passengers, regardless of ticket class or airline, for a $25 entry fee.

The day rate includes complimentary espresso and coffee drinks, access to the business center, Wi-Fi, and use of private restrooms and showers. For an additional $10, travelers can purchase premium items such as cocktails.

Terminal 5 Parking Options

Terminal 5 shares the Blue and Yellow parking garages with Terminal 4. Prices start at $5 per half hour, and make reach $39 during a 24-hour period.

Terminal 5 Airlines

All JetBlue departures are at Terminal 5, as this is the airline’s primary hub. The airline, however, does not have exclusive control of this terminal. Travelers flying with Hawaiian Airlines, TAP Portugal, and Aer Lingus may also find themselves in Terminal 5.

JFK Terminal 6

Despite being the creation of renowned architect I.M. Pei, JFK’s Terminal 6 — also known as the Sundrome — the terminal was demolished in October of 2011.

JFK Terminal 7 Airport Guide

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Currently operated by British Airways, Terminal 7 could see major changes in the coming years, as its lease with the Port Authority ended in 2015. Today, the three-level terminal has an Arrivals floor, a Departures floor, and a Concourse level with boarding gates 1 to 12.

Terminal 7 Food

Fast-food

Dining at Terminal 7 is limited, and your best bet will be the Wolfgang Puck Express, for a sandwich.

Bars

If you want a drink, grab a seat at the Thirsty Beer & Wine Bar at Gates 6 and 7, or the Trafalgar Pub near Gate 10.

Terminal 7 Shopping

At Terminal 7, travelers will find the standard array of retail options, including Duty Free shops, multiple Hudson News storefronts, and Best Buy kiosks for last-minute tech need. For more serious shopping, there’s a Juicy Couture, a Mont Blanc, and an M&Ms Store for fun, last-minute gifts (they don’t have to know you didn’t get it at Times Square).

Things to Do

One XpresSpa location in the Terminal 7 Retail Hall lets travelers enjoy pre and post-flight services such as facials, massages, and nail treatments.

Charging Stations and Wi-Fi

Recharge at one of Terminal 7’s numerous charing stations, which can be found in the Arrivals hall, at the Welcome Center, past the Arrivals center, and at Gates 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12.

Airport Lounges

JFK’s Terminal 7 has a single lounge, the Concorde Lounge, which is located near Gate 1. The incredibly elegant lounge, which has a champagne bar and a full-service dining room with private booths, is accessible only to British Airways travelers flying First Class. There is no walk-up rate available.

Terminal 7 Parking Options

Travelers using Terminal 7 are encouraged to use the Orange-parking garage. Visitors will be charged $4 for every half hour, with a 24-hour maximum of $33.

Terminal 7 Airlines

In addition to British Airways, a number of other international airlines make use of Terminal 7. Major carriers at Terminal 7 include Qatar Airways (which also uses gates in Terminal 8), Qantas, Icelandair, Cathay Pacific, and All Nippon Airways.

JFK Terminal 8 Airport Guide

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Twice the size of Madison Square Garden, JFK Terminal 8 has two concourses and a total of 29 gates.

Terminal 8 Food

Sit-down Restaurants

Grab a table at the Vino Volo Wine Room, near Gate 39, for a wine flight and a cheese plate. Otherwise, sit down for a meal at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, or try a different wine selection and cheese plate at Cascata.

Fast Food

McDonald’s and Au Bon Pain (though yes, you can find those at Terminal 8, too). The best grab-and-go sandwich is at Brooklyn National Deli, which serves solid pastrami sandwiches for a final bite of New York City.

Terminal 8 Shopping

If you loved a glass of wine at Vino Volo, take one home with you (or enjoy it on your first day of vacation) from the Vino Volo Wine Shop, post-security near the food court. Other highlights from the Terminal 8 retail shops are the Solstice Sunglass Boutique, a Pandora, a L’Occitane, and a Brookstone.

Things to Do

Diversions for a layover in Terminal 8 are fairly limited, so you’ll want to kill time browsing the new releases at Hudson Booksellers, or perusing the Metropolitan Museum of Art Shop.

Charging Stations and Wi-Fi

One central charging station can be found pre-security by the Welcome Center. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available, courtesy of Boingo, through JFK.

Airport Lounges

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Two Admirals Clubs — American Airlines’ answer to the airport lounge — are available to travelers flying First or Business class.

Entrance to the Admirals Club is also to travelers with AAdvantage status or a club membership. Certain credit cards (like the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard) can also help you check out the lounges at American Airlines’ JFK terminal.

Terminal 8 Parking Options

Travelers using Terminal 8 are encouraged to use the Red-parking garage. Visitors will be charged $4 for every half hour, with a 24-hour maximum of $33.

Terminal 8 Airlines

Despite being the largest passenger terminal, JFK Terminal 8 accommodates only a few airlines: a mix of domestic and international carriers. American Airlines and their subsidiary, American Eagle, account for a large number of the passenger volume. Air Berlin, Alaska Airlines, Finnair, LATAM, Qatar Airways, and Royal Jordanian also use gates at Terminal 8.

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