A Peek Inside the New JetBlue Terminal at JFK: An Antidote to Air Rage?

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JetBlue
Photo: Sophie Donelson

The cornucopia of fine-dining options at JetBlue's soon-to-open JFK terminal isn't for everyone — some of us are fine subsisting on $8 trail mix from the Grove and a pouch of Terra Blue chips, thank you. But the affable David Rockwell and architecture super-firm Gensler recently gave a hard-hat tour that proved $743 million can buy a little something exciting for everyone. Starting October 1, JFK's landmark Terminal 5 (originally designed by Eero Saarinen) will no longer stand abandoned beside the AirTrain — it will be alive with JetBlue passengers. Among the highlights:

• Playgroundlike springy rubber floors specially designed for post-security bare feet.
• A marketplace (ahem, retail and concessions) with grandstand-style seating and JetBlue-sanctioned buskers (Rockwell cites Union Square as his inspiration).
• Four words: Ron Jon Surf Shop.
• Twice the number of required toilets, including an extra-large WC labeled "Family Bathroom," which may deter awkward foot-tapping incidents.
• A handy time-warp passage. As soon as the last speck of asbestos is wiped clean from Saarinen's 1962 terminal, passengers can be dropped curbside to reenact their own TWA-era farewells, and then proceed through the restored "flight tubes" to the new terminal.

To prevent a total meltdown on October 1 (à la London Heathrow's Terminal 5 debacle), the airline is staging a mock opening day on Saturday. More than 1,000 frequent flyers, plus crew, family, and friends, will show up, be handed empty suitcases and script, and embark upon a simulated journey — sans planes. Let's hope no one else ever has to wait around for a flight to nowhere.

High Five for T5 [JetBlue]