JFK Airport Full 2024 Guide

Whether your long flight delay or layover at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is caused by the weather or by your airline’s operational issue, this guide will ensure you make the most of your JFK layover. You’ll find info on airport lounges, amenities, sleep options, food options, transport options as well as activities to do.

Overview of JFK:

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) consists of 5 terminals, numbered from 1,4,5,7 and 8. Terminals 2 was demolished in 2023, Terminal 3 was demolished in 2013 and Terminal 6 was demolished in 2011).

In a press release from August 2021, the former Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, unveiled plans for the construction of Terminal 6 at JFK Airport, with a budget of $3.9 billion. The groundbreaking for the project was anticipated in 2022, with its inauguration projected for 2025.

Following Cuomo’s ouster, his successor, Governor Kathy Hochul, announced in November 2022 an updated budget of $4.2 billion for the development of a new state-of-the-art Terminal 6. This terminal, to be operated by JetBlue, will encompass 1.2 million square feet and include 10 gates, pursuant to a lease agreement sanctioned by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners in 2021. Terminal 6 gates are expected to be launched in 2026.

I noted from JFK’s Terminal 6 design plans that there is no mention of allocating more space to sleep amenities to increase JFK’s ZZZ Score(score for sleep quality). The redevelopment of T6 will see part of T7 demolished as noted in Corgan’s blog post. Corgan is the architect firm awarded work to design T6. Read more from Corgan’s blog about what to expect of T6 futuristic, environmentally-friendly design.

There are notable distinctions in terms of amenities and design among the various Terminals, with Terminal 4 standing out as the most modern and upgraded. Within Terminal 4, you have the privilege of enjoying the luxurious Delta Sky Club lounge.

The amenities on the Airside on most terminals are similar and can expect various dining and shopping options. There is limited seating in some terminals but you get free Wi-Fi and charging stations in all terminals.

If you have a long layover at JFK, there are plenty of activities and amenities to keep you entertained and comfortable during your stay. For those looking to relax, many of the terminals offer airport lounges with comfortable seating, complimentary food and drinks, and other perks such as showers or spa services. Some popular options include the American Airlines Admirals Club and the United Airlines United Club.

Preparing for a layover at JFK:

If your layover is under 3 hours, I do not recommend leaving the airport as navigating the subway system or the NYC traffic can make you miss your next flight. While it can take you 35 minutes to get to Manhattan from JFK using the Long Island Rail Road, and close to an hour using Uber or Yellow Cab, you don’t have control over unexpected traffic or train delays. Therefore, I suggest staying at the airport and making the most of your time there. Read this guide where I explain details regarding leaving JFK during a layover.

If your layover is longer than 3 or 4 hours at JFK, you can consider leaving the airport using the subway, Yellow Cab, Uber, Rideshare, or even Uber Copter. The Uber Copter operates during the day and can get you to Manhattan in about 8 minutes and will cost you $225. Read more details on Uber’s website here.

My favorite option is to take the Long Island Rail Road which will conveniently transport you out of JFK to Manhattan at a cost of $5 to $7. Alternatively, rideshare services are available, but they can be quite pricey, with fares potentially exceeding $100. If you prefer a traditional mode of transportation, New York’s Yellow Cab Taxis charges a flat rate of $54 to transport you to JFK.

My top place to visit if you have 5+ hours at JFK is Manhattan. This borough is by far the most exciting and has a lot to offer, especially for tourists. For example, you can visit the Empire State Building, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, or even take a stroll in Times Square.

If you have less than 3 hours at JFK, I suggest exploring the airport for some unique experiences. You can shop at duty-free shops, dine at various restaurants, or even relax at a spa. Some popular activities at JFK include visiting the TWA Hotel, trying out the airport’s famous Shake Shack, and indulging in some retail therapy. For instance, you can check out the TWA Hotel which has a vintage vibe and offers various amenities to make your wait more enjoyable. You can also visit the VR adventure center, indulge in some duty-free shopping, or simply relax at one of the many lounges available. Read about these 20 fun things to do at or near JFK in this post.

General Tips for All Terminals

  • Check the Terminal Map in Advance: Familiarize yourself with the layout of JFK and your specific terminal(s) before arrival. This can help you efficiently find lounges, dining options, and rest areas.
  • Stay Connected: Free Wi-Fi is available throughout JFK, allowing you to stay connected, work, or stream entertainment. Charging stations are also widely available, but bringing a portable charger is a good backup.
  • Dress in Layers: JFK’s indoor temperatures can vary, and dressing in layers ensures you remain comfortable regardless of the terminal or the time of year.

Terminal-Specific Tips

Terminal 1

  • International Flavors: Home to a wide array of international airlines, Terminal 1 offers diverse dining options. Consider trying some unique international cuisine during your layover.
  • Luxury Shopping: If you’re interested in luxury brands, take the opportunity to browse the high-end shops available in this terminal.

Terminal 4

  • Airline Lounges: Terminal 4 houses several airline lounges, including the Delta Sky Club. Access can vary based on your ticket class or airline loyalty status but purchasing a day pass for lounges can provide a comfortable space to relax.
  • Retail and Dining Variety: This terminal has a broad selection of shops and restaurants, catering to various tastes and needs.

Terminal 5

  • Family-Friendly Options: Terminal 5, primarily used by JetBlue, features more family-friendly dining and entertainment options, including play areas for children.
  • Rooftop Lounge: Don’t miss the T5 Rooftop Terrace, where you can get some fresh air, view the Manhattan skyline, and even bring your pet to the designated animal relief area.

Terminal 7

  • British Airways Galleries Lounge: Available for passengers flying with British Airways, this lounge offers a quiet escape from the terminal’s hustle and bustle. Eligibility can depend on your class of service or membership status.

Terminal 8

  • American Airlines Admirals Club: If you’re flying with American Airlines, consider visiting the Admirals Club for a more peaceful waiting area, provided you have access through your ticket or airline status.

Across All Terminals

  • Comfortable Rest Areas: Look for designated rest areas and seating zones with reclining chairs, especially if you need a quick nap.
  • Explore Art Installations: JFK features various art installations and exhibits across its terminals. If you have a lengthy layover, take a walk to explore these cultural displays.

Preparing for Layovers

  • Keep Essentials Handy: Keep important items like passports, boarding passes, medication, and valuables in a small carry-on bag.
  • Be Mindful of Security and Customs: If you’re arriving on an international flight and connecting to another, remember you may need to go through security and customs, even if you’re not leaving the airport. Ensure you have all necessary documents ready and be aware of items that are not allowed through security.

JFK Airport Map:

JFK Airport consists of 5 active passenger terminals, numbered 1through 8, skipping Terminals 2, 3 and 6, which were demolished. The terminals are arranged in a U-shape and are surrounded by a series of taxiways and runways. Each terminal is designed to handle specific airlines and alliances, with a wide array of facilities, dining options, and shops.

Terminal Locations

  1. Terminal 1: Primarily serves international flights and is located on the eastern side of the terminal loop. It is is known for its range of dining options, reflecting New York City’s diverse culinary scene. It also features an art gallery, showcasing rotating exhibitions.
  2. Terminal 4: A major international terminal located south of Terminal 2, directly opposite Terminal 1 across the taxiways. It serves as a hub for Delta’s international flights and several other international carriers.
  3. Terminal 5: Home to JetBlue and situated next to Terminal 4, on its west side. Terminal 5 is also known for its modern amenities and architecture. Read about JetBlue’s Terminal here.
  4. Terminal 7: Operated by British Airways, located further west of Terminal 5. It hosts a few other international airlines as well.
  5. Terminal 8: The farthest west in the terminal arrangement, primarily used by American Airlines for both domestic and international flights.

What to Expect with NYC and JFK’s Weather:

The airport’s climate mirrors New York City’s diverse weather patterns, characterized by four distinct seasons that offer a wide array of temperatures and weather conditions. This variability necessitates thorough preparation by travelers, especially those planning to rest or spend the night in terminal areas, to ensure comfort across different seasons.

In the winter months from December to February, JFK presents a cold environment, with average temperatures ranging from highs of 38-45°F (3-7°C) to lows of 26-35°F (-3 to 2°C). This season is marked by frequent snowfalls, brisk winds, and occasional ice storms, leading to predominantly short and overcast days.

Therefore, travelers are recommended to wear thick jackets, gloves, scarves, and warm hats to stay warm. A warm travel blanket or sleeping bag is essential for those intending to sleep at the airport during these cold nights.

The spring season, from March to May, sees a gradual increase in temperature, with highs moving from the mid-40s to the high 60s°F (7-20°C) by the end of May, and nighttime lows transitioning from the chilly low 30s to a more comfortable high 40s°F (0-9°C).

This period brings a combination of sunny and rainy days, with a chance of snowstorms in early March. Therefore, wearing layered clothing, including light jackets and sweaters, along with carrying an umbrella for rainy days, is advisable. A light blanket should suffice for those sleeping at the airport due to spring’s unpredictable weather.

During the summer months, June through August, temperatures rise, reaching average highs in the low to mid-80s°F (27-30°C) and warm nights. This period is characterized by high humidity levels and frequent afternoon thunderstorms, suggesting the need for light, breathable attire, sunglasses, and sunscreen. A light sheet or sleep liner is recommended for comfort during rests in air-conditioned terminal spaces.

In the fall, from September to November, JFK experiences a decrease in temperatures, transitioning to milder highs and cooler lows. This season enjoys a pleasant combination of sunny and cloudy days, with an increasing likelihood of rain and an early snow possibility by November. It is advisable to continue layering, adjusting with warmer clothing as needed, and to consider a medium-weight blanket for overnight stays in the terminal to ensure comfort during the cooler fall evenings.

Navigating JFK Terminals:

Navigating through John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) might seem a bit overwhelming at first with its huge size and complex structure, but I’ve found that with a bit of know-how and preparation, getting around here is pretty straightforward.

JFK Airport, covering a vast area of 4930 acres, features its terminals arranged in a circular pattern starting from Terminal 1 at the southern end and proceeding anti-clockwise to Terminal 8. Below is a snapshot of the airport map showing parking locations to the West and Terminal 5 at the far east:

Map of JFK Airport
Map of JFK Airport. Credit:jfkairport.com

I always rely on the AirTrain JFK to whisk me between the terminals—it’s a lifesaver for quick and easy transitions.

If you’re moving between terminals 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 like I often do, the AirTrain’s free service is the way to go.

Now, with Terminal 1’s AirTrain station temporarily closed, I switch to the courtesy shuttle bus that connects Terminal 1 with Terminals 4 and 8, which runs around the clock.

map of JFK showing terminals and ground transport including AiTrain
Map of JFK Airport

For reaching areas like the car rental services, long-term parking, or the hotel and pick-up/drop-off zones, the AirTrain also has stops at Federal Circle and Lefferts Boulevard stations. Just a heads-up, though, traveling to Jamaica Station or Howard Beach on the AirTrain will cost you a small fee.

Walking between terminals isn’t usually advisable because of the traffic, but there are sidewalks for short walks between terminals like 4 and 5 if you’re up for it. Each terminal has its own set of facilities and services, so I check ahead to see what’s available in my terminal, especially if I have time to kill.

Especially with connecting flights, it’s crucial to take the security checkpoint times into account. I always plan to pass through security again when switching terminals. JFK’s advice to arrive at least 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international ones for these reasons really holds true.

Check out this guide on getting around JFK Terminals

Where to Sleep at JFK Airport Terminals:

Navigating JFK International Airport’s terminals for a place to rest can be daunting. Here’s a succinct guide to finding that much-needed sleep between flights:

  • Terminal 1 (T1): Beyond the registration desks lies a food court with chairs and tables, doubling as a makeshift sleep area once it closes at night. Look behind the Lufthansa counter for additional seating if the centre area is full. Note: T1 closes at 2 am.
  • Terminal 2: Upstairs from the café, find a cozy spot with carpeted flooring and full-length cushioned seats nestled between the main galley and a newsstand—a serene space for relaxation.
  • Terminal 4: Operating 24/7, T4 is your best bet for free sleep spots at JFK. Challenge the noise and uncomfortable seating with noise-canceling headphones. Seek out the metal mesh bench near the Norwegian Air check-in for a less crowded option. You can also opt for innovative sleep solution by Minute Suites by booking any of its 7 suites located near Gate B39 at Concourse B in Terminal 4.
  • Terminal 5: Sleep opportunities are scarce due to noisy conditions and seating with armrests. Consider the floor for a resting spot if you’re equipped with a sleeping bag. Access to the British Airways Lounge offers two full-size couches for eligible passengers. TWA Hotels is also located at this terminal and can book a room for overnight sleep or get yourself a day room if your layover is during the day. Read more about TWA Hotel and Hotels near JFK with Shuttle.
  • Terminal 7: Offers tall, high-back chairs, though not ideal for sleeping due to armrests and limited food establishments for nighttime rest.
  • Terminal 8: Provides secluded steel benches and floor space near the AirTrain, offering a modicum of privacy.

Read full details of where to sleep in JFK Airport here.

Shower:

There are no free or public shower facilities at JFK Airport but you can rely on a number of membership-based or paid lounges with shower facilities. There are a total of 4 paid lounges with showers and 2 sleep facilities that you can access with a fee and shower. Primeclass in T1 is the only lounge that you can purchase a $54 day pass. More details below;

Shower facilities are available at 3 lounges in T1 and in 1 lounge located in T4. There are no shower facilities – either with paid lounges paid or for free at JFK’s T7 and T8.

3 Lounges at Terminal 1 with Showers:

Snapshot showing the cost of Primeclass Lounge Day Pass at JFK's T1 to access showers.
Snapshot showing the cost of Primeclass Lounge Day Pass at JFK’s T1 to access showers.
  • Air France Lounge: Located in the airside(past security) near Gate 1, this lounge offers shower facilities. To access, you must be traveling on an Air France, KLM, or SkyTeam flight departing on the same day.
  • KAL Business Class Lounge: Located airside at Gate 3, this lounge provides shower amenities. Accessible with Priority Pass membership
  • Primeclass Lounge: Situated airside next to Gates 8 & 9, offering shower services. You can purchase online lounge pass for $54. It costs $0 for bathe an infant at this lounge. Note that the Primeclass in Terminal 4 does not have shower facilities. You can purchase the day pass using Loungepass.com website here.

1 Lounge at Terminal 4 with Showers

  • Swiss Business Class Lounge: Found airside, this lounge features shower facilities. It does not accept walk-ins/day passes are not available.

Shower at JFK’s Pod and In-Airport Hotel

  • Minute Suites (Terminal 4)
  • TWA Hotel (near Terminal 5)

Parking:

If you plan on driving early to the airport out of state or anywhere in the NYC area, consider offsite parking facilities near JFK. Instead of paying a minimum of $30 for one day of parking in the airport lots, you can choose offsite parking for as low as $7.5 per day. For short-term parking, perfect for drop-offs, you can reserve a half-hour parking slot in the Blue or Yellow Garage for as low as $6, or the Orange Garage for just $4. Read more about Parking at JFK here.

If you are looking for a parking location outside JFK airport that provides shuttle service, consider parking operators such as Prime Parking JFK Parking which is just 1.7 miles from JFK and provides on-demand shuttle services.

JFK Nursing Stations:

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) now offers an invaluable amenity for traveling breastfeeding and breast pumping mothers: lactation pods by Mamava. The 13 nursing suites can be found at strategic locations across JFK’s terminals:

  • Terminal 1 features two pods; one is located outside the Air France Lounge at Gate 1, and the other can be found near Gate C70.
  • Terminal 4 is equipped with three pods, situated at Gate A3, Gate B31, and within the West Retail Hall, providing easily accessible options for mothers in the largest of JFK’s terminals.
  • Terminal 5, known for its modern amenities, houses three pods at Gates 1, 12, and 27, ensuring that nursing mothers can find a private spot no matter where their gates are.
  • Terminal 7 offers two locations; one is next to Gate 10 and another between Gates 3 and 4, accommodating the needs of international travelers.
  • Terminal 8 boasts the most pods, with three situated on the 3rd floor in an interior hallway, at Gate 14, and at Gate 42, offering convenient access from various points within the terminal.
Mamava sleep pods at JFK.jpg
Image of Mamava sleep pods at JFK.Credit: nytimes.com

Each Mamava lactation pod is designed with the utmost consideration for comfort and privacy. The pods feature two benches, providing ample space to accommodate a family of four along with their luggage. For added convenience, electrical outlets are available inside for powering breast pumps or charging devices.

A lockable door ensures privacy, allowing mothers to nurse or pump in a secure and tranquil environment. JFK’s initiative to install these lactation pods underscores its commitment to supporting nursing mothers, making travel more accessible and stress-free for families.

JFK Airport has embraced innovative solutions like GoSleep and Mamava pods, reflecting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s (PANYNJ) dedication to enhancing the flying experience and showcasing its commitment to passenger well-being. Though the advanced capsule-style pods have been phased out, JFK continues to offer state-of-the-art, compact sleep suites from Minute Suites, ensuring travelers have access to the latest in comfort and convenience.

The presence of Minute Suites and Mamava pods at JFK Airport signals its dedication to improving passenger experiences, particularly in sleep comfort, despite JFK still receiving low ZZZ score ratings. This shows JFK’s commitment to embracing beneficial technology to enhance the travel experience for flyers.

Hotels at or Near JFK

If you prefer to sleep in a traditional hotel room setting, there are several options available within a short distance from JFK Airport. Some hotels even offer shuttle services to and from the airport, making it a convenient choice for travelers with longer layovers.

Some popular hotel options near JFK Airport include:

  • The TWA Hotel: Located within the airport, this retro-style hotel offers soundproofed rooms and amenities such as a rooftop pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options.
  • Crowne Plaza JFK Airport: Just a 5-minute drive from the airport, this hotel offers spacious rooms with comfortable bedding, an on-site restaurant, and free shuttle service to the airport.
  • Holiday Inn Express JFK Airport: This budget-friendly option is also just a 5-minute drive from the airport and includes amenities such as free breakfast, a fitness center, and an airport shuttle service.
  • Comfort Inn: Only a 10-minute drive from the airport, this hotel offers cozy rooms and amenities such as a free hot breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an airport shuttle service.
  • Hampton Inn: Located just 5 miles from the airport, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with amenities such as a free hot breakfast, fitness center, and shuttle service to the airport.

I recommend picking hotels that provide free shuttle to and from JFK such as;

More JFK Airport Amenities:

JFK WiFi – Free

Since October 2018, JFK has provided unlimited, free WiFi access, a service managed and powered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in partnership with Boingo Wireless. Travelers can easily connect to the network named “_Free JFK WiFi” without the hassle of entering a password or personal information, ensuring a straightforward and secure connection process.

For those needing more than the already generous offer, Boingo provides an option to log onto Boingo.com for up to 4 additional hours of connectivity at no extra cost. However, for the majority of users, the unlimited free access meets their needs, particularly highlighted by the positive adjustments made in late 2022, which now allow for an uninterrupted connection without time limitations. Accessing JFK’s free WiFi is straightforward on any device, whether iOS, Android, Windows, or Mac, by selecting the “_Free JFK WiFi” network. This initiative by JFK and Boingo Wireless ensures travelers can remain connected and productive, transforming waiting times into enjoyable, fruitful periods during travel.

Amenities at JFK International Airport Terminals

T1:

T1 Lounges and Refreshment

  • Air France Lounge: Locate near Gate 1 for a premium lounge experience with food and beverages.
  • Arrivals Eatery: Positioned at the Arrivals with options including $2 water for a quick refreshment.

Shopping and Gifts at T1

  • 24-Hour Flower: Available at both East and West sides of Arrivals, providing gifts, souvenirs, and florist services.
  • Adams Health Services: Offering check-in services and amenities.
  • Bally: Located across from Gate 4 for luxury shopping.
  • Be Relax: A departure area spa for relaxation before flights.
  • Brookstone: Near Gate 3, offering a variety of gadgets and lifestyle products.
  • Bulgari Specialty Boutique: Near Gate 4 for high-end fashion and accessories.
  • Coach Specialty Boutique: At Gate 4 for fashion accessories.

Currency Exchange

  • ATM: Multiple ATMs located at Arrivals Level – West, Departures Level – West, Food Court, Gate 3, and Gate 4, catering to currency exchange needs.

T1 Food and Beverage

  • Dunkin Donuts: Available at Mezz Level of Arrivals for coffee and donuts.
  • Flying Tacos: In the Food Court for a quick bite.
  • Pizza Pub: Near Departures – Gate 6 for pizza lovers.
  • Starbucks Evening: Near Gate 3 for coffee enthusiasts.

Convenience and Services

  • Charging Station: At Gates 5, 7, 8 and Welcome Center outside Arrivals Area for keeping devices powered.
  • Restrooms are strategically located throughout the terminal, including Arrivals, Level 1 (East and West) area, Check-In (near phones/Baggage claim 5), Departures, and near all major gates.
  • Bag storage by SmartCarte: Offers baggage storage solutions.
  • Nursing Stations: Located near Gate 1 outside the Air France Lounge for traveling mothers.

Miscellaneous

  • Secure Wrap: Available at Check-In for securing luggage.
  • Service Animal/Pet Relief Area: Outside, Arrivals Area, East End for travelers with pets.
  • Welcome Center: Located outside Arrivals Area for airport information and assistance.

T4

T1 Food & Beverage

  • Beacon Bar: Located at New A Concourse for a variety of drinks.
  • Bento Sushi: At Gate B26 for sushi lovers.
  • Blue Point Brewery: Near Gate 34 for craft beer enthusiasts.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: Gate B26 offers a menu with $2 water specials.
  • Five Borough Food Hall: In the Retail Hall – West, for a taste of New York.
  • Shake Shack: Available at Gates B22 and B37 for burgers and shakes.

Fashion & Accessories

  • 5th & Sunset: Situated at Gate 29 for fashion and accessories.
  • Brooks Brothers: In the Retail Hall – West for classic American clothing.
  • Coach: Located in the Retail Hall – Central for luxury leather goods.

Services & Amenities

  • Air India Lounge: At Gate A5 for relaxing before flights.
  • Bag storage by SmartCarte: Multiple locations for baggage storage solutions.
  • Charging Station: Available across all gates for device charging.
  • CXI – Currency Exchange International: Multiple locations for currency exchange.
  • Family Restrooms: Located at strategic points for convenience.
  • Service Animal/Pet Relief Area: Available near Gate 31 and the Arrivals Area, East End.

Electronics & More

  • Cell Phone Purchase (AT&T) (Temporarily Closed): In the Arrivals Hall for electronics.
  • DFS Duty Free – Beauty: Main Store in the Retail Hall for duty-free beauty products.
  • Tech On The Go: Across from Gate B23 for tech gadgets.
  • Victoria’s Secret: In the Retail Hall – Central for lingerie and beauty products.

Lounges & Relaxation

  • Delta Sky Club Lounge: Near Gate B32 for Delta passengers.
  • El Al King David Lounge: On the 4th Floor for El Al customers.
  • Virgin Clubhouse: At Gate A5 for luxury waiting.

T5:

Restaurants & Cafés

  • 5ive Steak / Piazza breakfast: Central Concourse for breakfast options.
  • AeroNuova / Piazza breakfast: Also in the Central Concourse, providing a morning menu.
  • Artichoke Pizza: Located in the Food Hall, offering a variety of pizzas, including children’s menu options.
  • Caribbean Kitchen: Another Food Hall gem, bringing tropical flavors to your plate.
  • H&H Bagel: Located in the Food Hall for a classic New York bagel experience.
  • Lucy’s Asian Kitchen: For a taste of Asia, visit the Food Hall.
  • New York Sports Grill: Near Gate 10, East Concourse, for sports enthusiasts.
  • Piquillo / Piazza breakfast: Combining the Central Concourse’s breakfast offerings with a bar.
  • Re:Vive Bars: Multiple locations for a quick snack or drink, available at Food Court, Gates 6, 19, 15/16, and 24.
  • The Loft: Located in the North Concourse, serving a variety of dishes.
  • Univision: Located across from Gate 24 in the North Concourse, offering beverages and snack options.

Coffee & Tea

  • Baked by Melissa: Central Concourse, known for coffee, tea, and $2 water.
  • CIBO Horizon Bakery Café: At Gate 1, for grab-and-go options including coffee and tea.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Available at Arrivals, Check-In, and the Food Court for coffee and donuts.
  • Starbucks: Near Gate 22, serving its classic coffee and tea selection.

Grab & Go

  • Aunt Butchie’s Bakery Cafe: East Concourse near Gates 15/16, offers quick bites.
  • Cibo Express Gourmet Market: Multiple locations throughout Terminal 5 for quick and convenient meals.

Shops

  • Blue Sky Traders: At Arrivals Bag Claim 6 for travel essentials and gifts.
  • Heritage Books: Gate 29, a spot for book lovers and water at $2.
  • Herschel: Gate 20, East Concourse, for trendy bags and accessories.
  • KYLIE: Available at both East and North Concourses for gifts and souvenirs.
  • Ron Jon Surf Shop: Central Concourse for beachwear and accessories.

T7:

Lounges

  • Aer Lingus Lounge: Near Gate 1 – A serene space for relaxation and refreshment.
  • Alaska Lounge: Above TSA Security Checkpoint – Offers comfort and exclusive services.
  • Lounge @ T7: Above TSA Security Checkpoint – A haven for travelers seeking a quiet retreat.

Food & Beverage

  • Apartment 7B Deli & Restaurant: Food Court – Features quick bites, coffee, tea, and $2 water.
  • Bento Sushi: Food Court – Serves a variety of sushi options, along with grab & go and $2 water.
  • Brindle Room: Food Court – Known for its enticing bar menu and ambiance.
  • Brooklyn Rebel: Food Court – Offers a taste of Brooklyn with its diverse menu.
  • Dunkin Donuts: Arrivals Area – Your go-to for coffee, tea, grab & go options, and $2 water.
  • Dunkin’: Gate 10 – Provides a quick caffeine fix with its range of coffee, tea, and more.
  • Irving Farm Coffee Roasters: Food Court – Delivers quality coffee and tea alongside grab & go choices.
  • Johnnie Walker: Center Concourse – Features a bar with a selection of renowned beverages.
  • Le Grand Comptoir: Gate 6 – A sophisticated bar offering a unique dining experience.
  • True Burger: Food Court – Serves classic American burgers, including a selection with a bar and $2 water.

Shops

  • Duty Free Americas: Departures – Offers spirits, wine, gifts, souvenirs, and duty-free items.
  • Hudson (Gate 5/6) and Hudson (Gates 7/8): Provides a mix of gifts, souvenirs, books, magazines, and $2 water.
  • Hudson News: Arrivals Area – A one-stop shop for travel essentials, grab & go, gifts, souvenirs, and $2 water.
  • Kiehls: Above TSA Security Checkpoint – Specializes in premium cosmetic and skin care products.
  • SIM Cards (kiosk) and SIMS To Go: Gates 3-4/Arrivals Area – Offers electronic SIM cards for global connectivity.
  • Tech On The Go: Center Concourse – Your source for travel essentials and electronics.

Services & Amenities

  • Charging Stations: Available at Arrivals Hall, All Gates, Welcome Center outside Arrivals Area – Ensuring your devices stay powered.
  • Family Restrooms: Located at the Arrivals Domestic Side and Gate 9 for convenience.
  • Mamava Nursing Suites: Adjacent to Gate 9 and Gates 3-4 offering privacy for nursing mothers.
  • Restrooms: Extensively available across Arrivals, Departures, and near Check-In areas.
  • SDI Currency Exchange: Offers comprehensive currency exchange and ATM services across multiple locations.
  • Secure Wrap: Located at Check-In for your baggage storage solutions.
  • Service Animal/Pet Relief Areas: Behind Hudson News near Gate 9 and Outside, Arrivals Area, West End for service animals and pets.
  • Travelers Aid: (Phone number: 718-656-4870) – Provides airport information and assistance.
  • Water Refill Station: Located in the Food Court for convenient access to water.
  • Welcome Center: Outside Arrivals Area – A hub for airport information and assistance.

T8:

Food & Beverage

  • Angelina’s Metro Market: Arrivals – Grab & Go, $2 Water
  • Bobby Van’s Steakhouse: Main Terminal – Restaurants, Bar
  • Cascata: Concourse C near Gate 34 – Restaurants, Bar, $2 Water. Sells fast food like sandwiches. Ideal for short layover, grab-and-go bites.
  • Cibo Market: Concourse B across from Gate 6 – $2 Water
  • Drink Martini Bar: Concourse B near Gate 6 – Restaurants, Bar
  • Dunkin Donuts: Arrivals – Grab & Go, Coffee & Tea, Children’s Menu, $2 Water – Open 24 hours, before security, great for a quick coffee or snack.
  • Euro Cafe: Offers fresh coffee and sandwiches before security, making it a good stop for those in a rush.
  • Farmers Fridge: Concourse B near Gate 10 – $2 Water
  • Hudson/Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts: Gate 42 (Inside Hudson) – Grab & Go, Coffee & Tea, $2 Water
  • Mezze, Mezze Café, and Mezze Express: Various locations – $2 Water, Grab & Go
  • New York Deli: Concourse C – Near Gate 41 – $2 Water
  • New York Sports Bar: Concourse B – Near Gate 10 – Restaurants, Bar
  • O’Neals: Concourse B – Near Gate 6 – Restaurants, Bar
  • SoHo Bistro: Concourse C – Near Gate 43 – Restaurants, Bar, $2 Water. Ideal if you have a long layover and have time to kill.
  • Starbucks: Main Terminal – Grab & Go, Coffee & Tea, $2 Water
  • Villa Pizza: Main Terminal and Concourse C near Gate 38 – $2 Water

Shops

  • Bvlgari: Main Terminal – Fashion & Accessories
  • Farmers Fridge: Concourse B near Gate 10 – Food & Beverage
  • Hudson: Several locations in Arrivals and Concourses – Gifts & Souvenirs, Books & Magazines, $2 Water
  • Hugo Boss: Main Terminal – Fashion & Accessories
  • InMotion and InMotion Entertainment: Concourses B and C – Electronics
  • International Shoppes: Various locations – Fashion & Accessories
  • Jabbrrbox: Concourse B near Gate 10 – Shop
  • Kylie Cosmetics: Concourse C (across from C2 Currency Exchange) – Gifts & Souvenirs
  • LEGO: Departures – Concourse C near Gate 42 – Shop
  • Licorice & Pretzels: Concourse B near Gate 14 – Gifts & Souvenirs
  • Michael Kors: Main Terminal – Fashion & Accessories
  • New York Originals: Concourse B – Near Gate 8 – Gifts & Souvenirs, Fashion & Accessories
  • Salvatore Ferragamo: Main Terminal – Fashion & Accessories
  • Sims on the Go: Arrivals – Electronics
  • Solstice: Concourse B – Near Gate 10 – Fashion & Accessories
  • Tag Heuer/MontBlanc: Main Terminal – Fashion & Accessories
  • Urbani Truffle: Departures – Concourse B near Gate 14 – Shop
  • Victoria’s Secret: Concourse B – Near Gate 8 – Fashion & Accessories
  • Wolford: Departures – Concourse B near Gate 14 – Shop

Services & Amenities

  • Baggage Storage: Arrivals – Meehgan Services – (718) 995-9292
  • Charging Station: “Welcome Center outside Arrivals Area”
  • Currency Exchange: Arrivals, Concourse B near Gate 10, Concourse C near Gate 43
  • Family Restrooms: Arrivals Domestic Side, Arrivals International Side, Gate 3, Gate 10, Gate 33, Gate 38
  • Nursing Stations: 3rd floor in an interior hallway, Gate 14, Gate 42
  • Pharmacy: Departures – Check-In, Departures – Concourse B near Gate 14
  • Restrooms: Locations include American Admirals Club, Level 4, Arrivals Level 1 (connecting tunnel and near Baggage Claim), Departures Level 3 (near various Check-In, Food & Shops, Gates)
  • Service Animal/Pet Relief Area: Gate 38, Outside, Departures Area, Middle Island
  • Travelers Aid: (718) 656-4870 – Airport Information
  • Welcome Center: Outside Arrivals Area – Airport Information

Read more about;

Sim Card:

You may want to consider purchasing an e-sim card, which costs only $4.5 USD and provides 1GB of data at a significantly lower price. In comparison, a physical sim card would cost you a minimum of $29 for the same amount of data. You can conveniently order the e-sim online here.

Smoking:

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of JFK airport, including restaurants and bars. However, there are designated smoking areas outside the terminals for those who wish to smoke before their flight.

To indulge in smoking tobacco products at JFK airport, it is necessary to utilize the designated smoking areas situated roughly 20 feet away from the entrances and exits of JFK Terminals. Smoking indoors is strictly prohibited. Read more about Smoking at JFK here.

Pet relief areas:

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is at the forefront of accommodating the needs of traveling pets and their owners, boasting seven strategically located pet relief areas throughout its terminals. Here’s a quick guide to the specific locations:

  • Terminal 1: Near the Arrivals area, before the security checkpoint.
  • Terminal 2: Adjacent to the Delta Sky Club, right after the security gates within the Arrivals zone.
  • Terminal 4: Positioned between Gates 30 and 32, past the security checkpoint, marked with a paw print sign for easy identification.
  • Terminal 5: Houses two areas; one pre-security near baggage carousel 6, and an outdoor area across from Gate 28 at the north end Arrivals zone.
  • Terminal 7: Available post-security, nearest to Gates 9 and 10, behind the Hudson News stand.
  • Terminal 8: Features a 1000 sq foot real grass area, situated near Gate 33, on the Middle Island outside the Departures zone.

Each pet relief area offers unique amenities, from the sprawling “Woof Top” garden in Terminal 5 for a pleasant wait with seating for owners, to functional indoor areas equipped with artificial grass and doggy fire hydrants for convenience.

Mobile Charging:

Don’t let your phone lose all its juice! Charge it at thousands of charging stations located landside and airside.

Medical emergencies:

If you have a medical emergency or require medical assistance, you can head to the airport’s Medical Services department located in Building 22A. Take the free shuttle from the Terminals. These services are available 24/7 and provide immediate care for any illness or injury. Additionally, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are available throughout all terminals in case of cardiac emergencies.

Storage lockers:

Unfortunately, JFK does not offer luggage lockers, and will have to rely on private luggage storage operators to store your luggage. Below is a list with details of a few luggage storage options at JFK

  1. Smart Carte Baggage Storage
  • Location: Terminal 1
  • Pricing: Starts at $10 for an extra small bag (up to 20 inches) and goes up to $30 for extra-large bags (over 32 inches)
  • Duration: Up to 24 hours for travelers with a flight ticket
  1. Bounce Luggage Storage
  • Pricing: $5.90 per bag for 24 hours
  • Insurance: Included BounceShield Protection with a $10,000 guarantee
  • Booking: Via Bounce website or app
  • Locations: Over 300 across New York City, partnering with local businesses near JFK Airport
  1. Schwartz Luggage Storage
  • Location: Near the Port Authority Bus Terminal, minutes from JFK
  • Pricing: About $10 per bag, no reservation needed
  1. Hotel and Airbnb Luggage Storage
  • Availability and proximity depend on your accommodation’s location and policies

Below is a snapshot showing a list of top luggage storage operators at JFK:

JFK Airport Storage Options
Snapshot showing JFK Airport Storage Operators. Credit: Luggage Storage NYC.

Remember, with most of these services, it’s advisable to check if your luggage will be sealed and tagged for added security. Booking your storage in advance, especially with apps like Bounce, can make your travel more convenient and stress-free.

Lost and Found

If you’ve lost your luggage, JFK operates a centralized baggage service managed by the Port Authority’s Lost and Found Department. You can check for your lost item online or contact them at +561-408-0101. Furthermore, if your luggage is damaged, you can reach out to your airline for assistance. Read more on lost and found at JFK here.

Baby Care Facilities:

Traveling with small children? We’ve got you covered! Check out these convenient services available just for you.

Nursing Stations (Airside only):

📍 T1 (near Gate 1)

📍 T2 (Gate C70)

📍 T4 (near Gate A3, Gate B31, and West Retail Hall)

📍 T5 (near Gate 1, Gate 12, and Gate 27)

📍 T7 (adjacent to Gate 10)

📍 T8 (near Gate 14, Gate 42, and 3rd Floor Hallway)

Opening hours: unknown.

Family washrooms can be found both Landside and Airside in T4, T5, T7, and T8.

Currency Exchange:

Foreign currency exchange and ATMs can be conveniently found in multiple locations within the airport terminals for your convenience:

  • Terminal 1 – You can exchange your currency on both the Departures and Arrivals of Terminal 1’s on the West Level. There is also a currency exchange on the landside food court. On the Airside, find Forex shop near Gates 3 and 4 and at Departures Level, West Concourse Gates 1-3. These locations are strategically placed to ensure easy access for travelers arriving or departing from Terminal 1.
  • Terminal 4 – Landside, Arrivals Hall • Departures, Concourse B • Departures, Retail Hall East • Departures, Retail Hall West. Terminal 4 offers various options for currency exchange and ATMs, both in the arrivals hall and throughout the departures area. Whether you are arriving or departing from Terminal 4, you can conveniently find these services.
  • Terminal 7 – Find Forex shop at Terminal 7 on the Departures and Arrivals Hall, near gates 3/4. For travelers using Terminal 7, currency exchange and ATMs are conveniently located in both the arrivals and departures areas, making it easy to access these services before or after your flight.

JFK Airport Lounges:

  • Terminal 1 is home to numerous lounges, such as the Air France-KLM Lounge, noted for its elegant dining and relaxation options, and the Primeclass Lounge, accessible with Priority Pass, offering a premium experience to all passengers regardless of airline or class of service. Not to be missed, the Lufthansa Lounges cater to business and first-class travelers with their distinguished service and amenities.
  • Terminal 4, renowned for its luxury, houses the Centurion Lounge by American Express, a pinnacle of sophistication, and the Delta Sky Club, which promises a premium pre-flight experience. The Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club with Etihad Airways and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse also offer unique services tailored to their guests’ needs.
  • Terminal 5 features the Aer Lingus Lounge, depicting Irish hospitality at its finest, and the family-friendly USO Lounge, dedicated to serving military members and their families.
  • Terminal 8 is notable for its range of lounges, including the American Airlines Admirals Club and the Chelsea Lounge, providing a tranquil environment for travelers. The Greenwich Lounge and Soho Lounge further enhance the terminal’s offerings with their exclusive services.

If you have a Priority Pass membership, you can relax at Be Relax Spa in Terminal 1, and Terminal 5 and access a number of lounges at Terminals 1, 4, 5, and 8. Read more about Priority Pass at JFK here.

You can also access Centurion Lounge at JFK in Terminal 4 and access a whole lot of amenities which you can read here.

I have a detailed guide on JFK lounges here. Below are some airline-specific lounges you can access;

Terminal 1 Lounges:

  • Korean Air Lounge: Open to Korean Air first and business class passengers, SkyTeam Elite Plus members, and Priority Pass members.
  • Lufthansa Lounge: The Lufthansa Business Class Lounge welcomes Priority Pass members with a delightful hot and cold buffet, an open bar serving a variety of drinks, and expansive windows offering views of the parked planes. However, please note that the Lufthansa Senator Lounge is exclusively reserved for frequent flyers and Star Alliance Gold members departing from Terminal 1, and is not accessible to Priority Pass members.
  • Primeclass Lounge: Primeclass Lounge is open to Priority Pass members and offers a variety of amenities like free Wi-Fi, refreshments, and showers.
  • Air France Lounge: Available for Air France first and business class passengers, as well as SkyTeam Elite Plus members.

Read more on this guide with details on lounges at JFK Terminal 1.

Terminal 4 Lounges:

  • Delta Sky Club: Open to Delta One passengers, Diamond Medallion members, and Priority Pass members.
  • American Express Centurion Lounge
  • Emirates Lounge
  • Air India Maharaja Lounge
  • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
  • WingTips Lounge

Terminal 5 Lounge:

Terminal 7 Lounges:

  • Alaska Lounge
  • Aer Lingus Lounge
  • BA Club Lounge

Terminal 8:

  • American Admirals Club
  • BA Lounge
  • Greenwich Lounge
  • Chelsea Lounge

FAQs

What is JFK Airport’s original name?

Originally known as Idlewild, JFK Airport underwent a name change in 1943 to “Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport” but the Idlewild name persisted until it was changed to JFK in 1963. The name “Idlewild” was associated with a real estate developer who owned resort properties in Jamaica, located in Queens Borough, adjacent to JFK airport.
On Wednesday, December 18, 1963, New York Mayor Robert Wagner signed a law that changed the name of Idlewild International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport. A dedication ceremony took place on Tuesday, December 24, 1963 at 11:00 AMIdlewild changed to JFK

How big is JFK?

JFK Airport, spanning over 5,200 acres (2,104 ha), stands as the largest and busiest airport in the New York City area. With five active terminals and a total of 130 gates, its magnitude is truly impressive. To put it into perspective, the airport’s vast expanse is equivalent to about 3,968 football fields. In 2022 alone, approximately 55 million passengers traversed through JFK, highlighting its pivotal role in the transportation industry.

Nathan Kip

My name is Nathan Kip and I founded this blog, Airport ZZZ as a way to document and engage with clients in my travel consulting business. Airportzzz.com is the only source of over 2,000 fun things flyers could do during layovers.

Over the past 7 years, I have designed and planned tour packages for hundreds of clients and have recently focussed on the mission of changing boring layovers to excellent mini-vacations by giving you the best suggestions on must-do activities when flying over different airports.

Next time you or your friend are looking for suggestions on what to do in some airport, remember Airport ZZZ or Airportzzz.com. On this site, you’ll get the best suggestions available on the internet regarding hand-picked activities that will fulfill your airport experience.

I have obtained a license to provide professional tour guidance at Airports in the US and across the world. Why should you listen to my suggestions? I have flown through more than 100 airports in the world and fortunately, I have picturesstories, and tips to share with you regarding all the fun stuff you can do as you wait for your next flight.

Aside from gaining thousands of flying miles, I am also a travel consultant assisting clients with bookings and specifically advance tour bookings of things to do at airports when the layover is longer than 5 hours.

To make a 15-minute free things-to-do consultation with me, use my email, nate@airportzzz.com.

This is only recommended for flyers with long layovers of over 5 hours. If your layover is 3+ hours, you can still reach out but we cannot guarantee the ideal package that will change your layovers to mini-vacations. I only support clients flying through US airports and a select number of cities across the world.

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Name: Nathan Kip

Profession: A professional travel consultant with a focus on airport activities to do during layovers

Email: nate@airportzzz.com

Phone: +1 945 348 889

Website: airportzzz.com

Location: 322 Main Packway Street, Boston, US

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