We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we say “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac & cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are the types of questions you have. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today, we bring you the TripIt airport guide to at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
One of the three major airports serving New York City, John F. Kennedy International Airport is located in Queens, 12 miles southeast of Lower Manhattan. The busiest international air passenger gateway in the United States (and one of the top-ten busiest airports in America), JFK is also a hub for domestic airlines that include American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and the primary operating base for JetBlue. It features six terminals that serve more than 70 airlines. Though 12 miles from Lower Manhattan, JFK is served by public transportation thanks to the AirTrain, which runs 24 hours a day and links JFK to the A, E, J and Z trains. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout JFK for 30 minutes (and available for a charge for longer).
Many of JFK’s more popular restaurants can be found in some of the newer, more improved terminals, such as terminals 4 and 5. This ranges from beloved NYC staples like Blue Smoke on the Road and Shake Shack, to a sit-down experience at Marcus Samuelsson’s Uptown Brasserie, all of which are located in Terminal 4. For a different type of airport food experience, there’s Caviar House & Prunier in Terminal 4. A longtime staple of Terminal 5 is Deep Blue Sushi, which is a classier airport sushi experience. Also in Terminal 5 is Piquillo a rare airports tapas restaurant, AeroNuova for pizza and 5ive Steak for a modern steakhouse. Nonetheless, you still have options in some of JFK’s other terminals, such as in Terminal 2 with Croque Madame, a French spot by NYC chef Andrew Carmellini, and Due Amici for Italian. In Terminal 7 head to Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express and Todd English's Bonfire Restaurant. The upside to JFK is that if you have time before your flight, you can access the other terminals for free by AirTrain.
The place to belly up at a bar in JFK first and foremost is at some of its restaurants we mentioned above, such as Uptown Brasserie, for their appropriately named Airmail cocktail. JFK has a number of options for vino lovers, including Piquillo to wash down the tapas, Idlewild Wine Bar (Terminal 1), Le Grand Comptoir (Terminal 4), Bar Veloce (Terminal 5), and Vino Volo (Terminal 8). You’ll find no shortage of fully-stocked airport bars, including Buffalo Wild Wings, The Palm and Tigin’s Irish Pub in Terminal 4. In more of the way of beer, there’s BKLYN Beer Garden in Terminal 2, featuring many beers that are actually from New York.
As you’d probably expect, John F. Kennedy International Airport has a variety of local and designer shops, most of which are in terminals 1, 4 and 5. One of the more unique shops is The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store in Terminal 4, offering your last chance to get a truly New York souvenir to take home. XpresSpa has several locations, including terminals 1, 4 and 7. If you have a few hours before your flight, you may not want to go all the way back into Manhattan, but Queens, Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach (directly behind JFK) are all a short subway or taxi ride away.
John F. Kennedy International Airport has several airline lounges available to frequent flyers, including American Airlines Admirals Club (Terminal 8), Delta Sky Club (Terminal 2 and 4), Korean Air Business Class Lounge (Terminal 1), Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (Terminal 4) and United Club (Terminal 7). JFK also has lounges for those who aren’t just loyalty airline members, such as the Airspace Lounge for just $25 (Terminal 5) and Wingtips Lounge that costs $50 (Terminal 4). Additionally, TripIt users can easily access information and whereabouts of JFK’s airport lounges thanks to the new LoungeBuddy feature in the TripIt app.
Note: TripIt Pro’s LoungeBuddy perk will end on April 15, 2019. If you have redeemed your $25 credit, you will need to use it through the LoungeBuddy app. For information about when the credit expires and how to use it, please contact LoungeBuddy customer support.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he's not traveling, he's perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.