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Discussion in 'Non-Rail Transportation' started by Rover, Aug 11, 2019.
flew thru this terminal many times in its heyday. glad to see it preserved for some other use
I have been salivating over that hotel since I first saw the concept images. I cannot wait to book a room some day.
It's a marvelously iconic and deliciously retrograde throwback with attitude.
Always loved that terminal...as old as it is, it still looks more “modern” and “space age”, than any other terminal. I was there to view it with my family when it was brand new. I first flew into it as a passenger on a TW 707 from ORD in 1966 on my Christmas furlough. It was the first flight that I purchased myself.
Little did I know at the time that 35 years later, I would be working for the company (AA), that was its new owner.
My final job prior to retiring, was driving the airside shuttle bus between it “Terminal 5”, and AA’s Terminal’s 8 and 9.
I loved every chance I got to explore it in its final year of service...
I’ll have to check it out next time I fly into JFK...
Can one just have a drink in the Connie?
Or do you have to be a registered hotel guest?
Here's Sam Chui's review of the Hotel on his website, with maps and other information. Enjoy!
I fondly remember TWA. My Mother's first flight was aboard a L-1011 from DAY-IND-LAX in preparation for a Hawaiian cruise. First Class service was impeccable. Upon our approach to LAX, a thunderstorm was below and somewhat beyond on flight path. She moved to an empty window seat's window. I wonder if TWA's maintenance staff was ever able to get her nose print off that window. She was fascinated and I never had another bit of difficulty in convincing her to fly for another cruise.
I remember the TWA terminal with great hostility. I flew out of there repeatedly for a couple of decades (roughly 1980 - 2000) on USAir. The tiny round concourses were cramped and didn't have enough seats for the number of flights they were handling. There were stairs *everywhere*, for no obvious reason. (It was built in 1962; this sort of design would become illegal for federally-funded construction with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.) The traffic flow through the "tubes" was constricted, and I still don't know why the tubes had stairs at each end. The security lines messed up the traffic flow in the main hall even worse. But most of all... pigeons nested in the roof and shat on the passing customers, and directly onto the tables in the cafe (what is now the "Jean-Georges Restaurant"!). You were well advised not to eat any food in the main hall.
The TWA terminal spent less than 10 years in its "glory days" -- metal detectors were added in 1972, and it was a miserable experience by the late 1970s. Even then, anyone in a wheelchair would have hated it. It then spent just under 30 years being the most miserable and unpleasant of the JFK terminals.
It's certainly much, *much* better off as a hotel than it ever was as an airline terminal. But I wouldn't stay there: it would bring back the memories of the pigeons and the rats too well.
Do you have any photos from the "most miserable and unpleasant" period? I'm rather inexperienced with JFK, but I do remember enjoying Terminal 1 and disliking Terminal 8, which is an interesting name considering that JFK is moving from six to four terminals from what I read (1+2, 4, 5+7 & 8). If I had the time I'd like to combine a TWA stay with a visit to the VS Clubhouse before boarding an A346.
With United gone from JFK, and BA and AA doing a lot together, BA will leave the current 7 and move into the AA terminal (8) & will be excess, so 5 (JetBlue) can be expanded in that direction, since 6 is already gone.
I guess it made good economic sense for United to exit JFK, but I still find it surprising, after taking so many flights on United thru the years, out of 'Terminal 9'. UAL was always my 'airline of choice', at least until I went to work for AA...
Many flights on Super DC-8-61's between JFK and Stapleton Field when I lived in Denver in the 70's and 80's...
Still 7 nonstops to Denver from LGA on United. After 9 was demolished for the combined 8/9 AA Term they were in 7. I think I only flew United out of JFK once, a 747 flight to LA. Many years ago. But I've used LGA-Denver or back a number of times, it was first choice going to Colorado Springs for USA Hockey meetings if time didn't allow the train.
I went to work for AA in 1994. By that time, United had already sold terminal 9 to AA, I suppose because they knew at the time they were eventually going to exit JFK. They did share terminal 7 with BA for a few years, until they did leave.
After AA bought terminal 9, they constructed a new "connector" building to join it with their existing terminal 8. Terminal 8 then expanded its customes and immigration area, and all international flights used terminal 8, and domestic flights terminal 9. They had barely finished the expansion at terminal 8, when they started building the all new (current) terminal 8 to replace both 8 and 9....
The old terminal 8 and 9 were inconvenient for connecting passenger's...all four concourses lacked secure side connection's between them. You had to be rescreened at all of them. One of my other jobs, was to drive passenger's with tight connections on the airside from one concourse to another, to avoid that...
They were in 7 for a pretty long time, BA didn't have that many flights per day, so it wasn't a bad spot for them. But Continental had a major hub at Newark, and UA wasn't that strong at JFK any way. I think the UA/CO merger was really the event that made the JFK move inevitable.
I remember my first flight out of JFK on United back in Ancient times.(Feb of1980)
Being unfamiliar with JFK, I had booked a Free Mileage Flight on United from JFK to SFO since all the WAS-SFO Flights were booked Solid on Friday night.
I usually rode the Train from WAS-NYP, and never having been to JFK, had a Free ticket to LGA on the Infamous Shuttle from Frequent Flying on Eastern Airlines on the East Coast..
Upon arrival @ LGA @ 8PM, I discovered that I had to get to JFK by 11PM to catch my Red-Eye flight to SFO.. My choices were 1)Taxi
2) A Bus that took Forever 3) A Helicopter Ride for Big Bucks $$$!!!
I took the Taxi,arrived @ the United Terminal and Paid the Huge $22 Fare ( LOL)@ 10pm.
I checked in, went to the Lounge ( my ticket was First Class on the DC-10)and enjoyed the ambience of the First Airline Lounge I had ever been in.
When I boarded the DC-10, I was the Only Passenger in First Class so they moved a few people up from Coach.
The 2 Stews ( that was the Norm in those days),took Drink orders, rolled out Champagne and passed out Headphones.
After Take off ( we watched and Listened to the Pilots and ATC on the Monitors), they rolled out the Food Carts groaning with Really good food.
Once food service was over, they started the Movie, I forget what it was, I soon fell asleep and was awakened as we started preparation for Landing @ SFO.
They passed out Hot Towels and a Quickie Breakfast, then we Landed and I was on my way for a Weekend Getaway in San Francisco with my at the time Girlfriend.
I flew back to Washington on Sunday Night on AA in Coach since I had to pay(since I had to work Monday) with a Stop in Chicago.
Ah, TWA. It was my airline of choice in my college days (circa 1971-1976), I think because our family travel agent wrote me a standby ticket on TWA (PHL - ORD) for my first college visit when I was a senior in high school. (On that trip, there was no room on any TWA flights, so they transferred the ticket to anther airline, and I ended up flying out on North West, which I think was called Northwest Orient at the time.) I would make about 6-8 flights a year before I met a girlfriend with a car , and I preferred TWA because they designed the seats such that if there was nobody in the center seat, you could fold it down and get a nice little console. I always picked meal flights if I could because they way the PHL - ORD schedules worked if you didn't eat on the flight, you had to eat at the airport, and airport food offerings were worse than they are today. When I got to Chicago, there was no Van Galder bus to whisk me directly to Beloit, and there was no Blue Line L to whisk me downtown to Greyhound. In fact, they didn't even call it the Blue Line then. They had an epxress bus to Jefferson park, where you could pick up the L or a Greyhound, but I usually went to the Loop because the connections were terrible and waiting at the main Greyhound Station was way nicer than sitting in the Amshack-equivalent Greyhound had at Jefferson Park. By the end of my time out there, between having a car for trips home on break and the fact that I was flying to other airports besides PHL, I started flying on other airlines.
In the mid 80s towards the end, TWA had the GSA city pair contract for flights between BWI and Denver (change at St. Louis), and I was stuck on them for a number of business trips. I remember one trip in a DC-9 with a seatmate who was a Navy pilot (so he said) who made all kinds of grimacing faces as we taxied out (the the squeal of brakes and various other unfamiliar mechanical noises), took off, and maneuvered around a couple of incipient thunderstorm cells, again to unfamiliar mechanical noises. Finally, this guy turns to me and says, "Needs new flaps. Needs new brakes." As you can imagine, I was very happy to get to St. Louis. I think the connecting flight to Denver was uneventful. Soon after that, United got the GSA contract for BWI - DEN, and it was back to nice smooth non-stops. Sometimes I also flew USAirways, which also had nonstop service.
The building was landmarked, it wasn't going anywhere, it is nice to see it re-purposed. Saarinen is probably best known for the St.Louis Arch and Dulles Airport. The sweeping concrete arch roof/ceiling broke new ground. Preservationists tried to save T6 since it was an IM Pei design, but it really didn't have much to offer. It is interesting how a building that was seen by most as ahead of its time when it opened rapidly fell behind as security requirements, aircraft size, and accessibility all became much more important considerations.
Wait, a westbound red-eye in the 1980s? I thought the last of those (arriving around breakfast time on the west coast) got yanked sometime in the 1960s?
The late flights were much less common but not 100% gone. Sometimes in odd configurations. Eastern had a program called "moonlight special" with A300s at $99 coast to coast overnight with a stop in Houston. Filled the holds with cargo containers, (mostly for CF) passengers usually just got carry-on luggage.
I took a westbound NW flight in the late 60's that departed JFK around midnite. Flight 245, IIRC...stopped at Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and then Seattle. A 707 that had a handful of passenger's, but lot's of mail and freight on and off at each stop, which lasted about an hour or more. Arrived in Seattle around dawn....
IIRC, Eastern had several 'wee hour' departures from JFK to MIami and other points in their system...
Yep, in 1980 Cliff! Maybe that's why the Plane was so empty!
In the early 90's, when I slept overnight in a JFK Terminal, because there were no more flights to DFW that evening, it was because I chose that, over flying all night, first, JFK at 915PM to LAX arriving at 12:43AM, to then take the LAX 1:20AM to DFW arriving at 6:17AM. I could have done that, as I had AA Non-Rev flight privileges at the time. So I took the first flight out to DFW the next morning.
Think I woulda taken the Flights,but I never had trouble sleeping in Planes back then! Airports were another story!
I didn't sleep in the JFK AA Terminal, it was much too busy. Even after midnight, there was a very long line of people waiting to catch a flight to San Juan for the Christmas Holidays. Most people in that line had gigantic suitcases to check in. Full of Christmas gifts I suppose. I went to the next terminal over, that was not pushing out any flights. It was deserted, just a few other people in it.
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