Is Delta THE WORST airline at JFK?

I have a confession – I like JFK airport. I know, I know, you all say that I should go and lie down in a dark room. My liking is based on two things – the fond affection I have for the BA/United terminal from the days when United used to fly there three times a day from London. When they flew the 747SP from London; a Christmas when the First Class lounge was converted to a picnic by the staff after a long delay.  Immigration used to take 10 minutes and then it was on the Carey bus to Manhattan. Things are a bit different now, but still this airport usually works. My trip here, on Virgin, was mixed – poor – taking 45 minutes from landing to a gate – good – immigration took 4 minutes – poor – 30 minutes in a taxi line and being pestered by gypsy cabs the whole time.

Anyway, my trip home is on Delta – not an airline I have flown with for probably 10 years. How bad can they be – well pretty bad so far.

The London flights check in at Terminal 2 – which involves walking outside if you get the Skytrain. TSA Security appears to have adopted the San Francisco practice of asking everyone to say their name. Whilst I was in line – the Priority Line – for 20 minutes – no one got it wrong. They had a magnificent two lines open and kept pushing people who had 90 minutes until their flight to the front of the queue. Once I got through I went to the Lounge, (or SkyClub as DL call it) in T2. Sent away after climbing the stairs with my luggage – ‘Please go to the one in T3 it will be much closer to your gate’,  I walked to Terminal 3. Why DL doesn’t let you clear Security in the Terminal you leave from I will never know.

Anyway, I am now in T3, at the SkyClub which makes United Club’s look spacious, well provisioned and maintained and pretty decent. There about 6 electrical sockets in the whole place, all hidden behind pillars. The place is set up so 80% of the seats face the TV which is showing American Football. The staff are grumpy to put it mildly and it’s just a miserable experience.

I have typically flown UA, BA or AA out of this airport in recent years and their terminals, service and lounges seem just so much better than DL.

Plus side – my flight is going on time – last nights was more than 90 minutes late. Bad side – I have to endure this for several more hours.


  1. I must admit, DL lounges at JFK are always overcrowded, I couldn’t find any where to sit, grab a drink nor gather my thoughts before my transatlantic flight to ATH back in Sept. I’m going to try and avoid that airport or go to the partner lounge if possible. I feel your pain!

  2. I believe the plan is to completely demolish Terminals 2 OR 3 (Or Both) and just use the expanded Terminal 4 for most of their departures. Delta recognizes how horrible a setup they have at JFK and wants to fix it quickly.

  3. Wait till you arrive on Delta at JFk and have to suffer through immigration in T3. Took our one 747 2 hours to clear immigration, standiing in a 90 degree room with 6 foot ceilings and noone knowing what the hell eas going on.

  4. I had been thinking of switching my TATL loyalty from UA to DL now that it has Economy Plus and you’ve given me food for thought. I find it difficult to believe that DL could devise a worse lounge than UA but I suppose it’s possible.

  5. I have to say it got worse that evening.
    The flight was oversold and they didn’t sort out the volunteers until after we had all boarded. Then they confirmed the volunteer and only then started to pull their bags off. 20 minute delay.
    Whilst we taxied to the runway the crew discovered a cat in the cabin. This is not allowed to London so we had to return to another gate where the cat (and passengers were put off), another 30 minutes whilst they pulled their bags and put on more fuel.
    If this typical DL I won’t be flying them again.

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