Triangle Trip

How to check in for Delta at JFK (Best Practice)

by on Jan.08, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

JFK is one of the worst airports in the world — which includes: design, appearance, service, ability to get in and out, etc.  I will save the JFK issue for a separate blog – or let one of my colleagues may beat me to it.

I have been flying Delta in and out of JFK for the past three months and want to share some best practices with you.  Delta flies out of Terminal 2 and 3.  Delta makes you play the guessing game on their website by just displaying the gate number, and gate changes are quite frequent.  So here’s what you do when you are flying Delta (with or without status):

  • Always tell the cab driver to drop you off at Terminal 2 — Terminal 2 has gates 19 to 29.  It is the smaller terminal but it has a Medallion line, Clear checkin line, and more TSA agents to look at your boarding passes.  Terminal 2 has a walkway linked to Terminal 3 (where Gates 1 to 18 are located).  Going through Terminal 2 to get to Terminal 3 will be much faster than checkin in at Terminal 3.  Terminal 3 always has a line that is wrapped around the corner and sometimes to the outside of the terminal.  Self checkin kiosks and baggage dropoffs are limited compared to Terminal 2.
  • Always have your limo driver or friends pick you up at Terminal 2 — Terminal 2 is small but easy to see incoming cars.  Terminal 3 is also has an underpass which limits visibility and cars to move around.  It is just too chaotic.  Compared to Terminal 3, Terminal 2 doesn’t have as many gates.  I also think there are more cars in Terminal 3 due to the number of international arrivals.
  • Hang out inside Terminal 3 — Terminal 3 has its shortcomings when you are outside security.  Once you’ve checked in, I highly recommend Terminal 3 for shops, food and drinks.  There’s a pretty decent size food court and a Chili’s bar in Terminal 3 that is decent compared to other restaurants in Terminal 2.  There are also duty free shops if you’re flying to an international destination.
  • Hope this article improves your experience at JFK.  Feel free to leave us comments.  Hope everyone had a great start to 2009!

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    4 comments for this entry:
    1. newbie business traveler

      Great advice! I went to Terminal 3 last week and Terminal 2 this week. What a world of difference. Spot on!

    2. Delta JFK to LAX/SFO/LHR flights moved to Terminal 2 - Triangle Trip

      […] 3. With JFK Terminal 2 connected to Terminal 3 via a bridge, you always check in at Terminal 2 (see previous post for best practice). Back in February 2009, Delta started operating out of Terminal 4 for all of its […]

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