Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. I caused quite a stir when I went against the preservationists who wanted to stop Delta from tearing down its Terminal 3 at JF Airport. The post below first appeared on the blog on May 28. Enjoy!
Delta Air Lines Terminal 3, JFK Airport. Photo courtesy of LI Refugee, via Flickr.
The chatter on the imminent closing of Delta Air Lines’ Terminal 3 — AKA the Third Worldport — was high leading up to the last flight on May 23. There are those who wax poetic about the glory days, when it was the Pan Am Worldport. And there was the glory — the first Boeing 747 flight; the first use of jetbridges; the unique flying saucer roof design; and the Panorama Room dining facility.
After Pan Am died in 1991, Delta took over the facility, and it’s been in decline ever since. And now, despite the best efforts of the group Save The Worldport, the building s scheduled to be demolished by 2014. Goodbye and good riddance, I say. Below are my five reasons why.
- Delta had to do it. The airline has invested heavily in New York, and Terminal 3 was not a welcoming facility, with flying birds, a dated interior, limited concessions and a “dark and dank” aesthetic.
- Terminal 3 was the last of the Mohicans. Every other terminal at JFK Airport has been renovated in the last 10 years, and this was crimping Delta’s style in the battle over New York City area customers.
- Terminal 3 was beyond saving. I remember when JetBlue wanted to build its own new terminal and tried to make the iconic TWA Flight Center work, but modern needs just couldn’t be adapted to the historic building. So they built T5 from scratch. Delta was even smarter, building onto the existing T4.
- T4 is a BIG win for Delta customers. I recently did an interview for a freelance article with Henry Kuykendall, the airline’s vice president of Airport Customer Service, and he was brimming with excitement on all the passenger amenities in T4.
- The history is gone. The good folks at Save The Worldport argue that T3′s unique flying saucer design puts it in the same league as the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center. But there have been so many design changes to T3, it will be very tough to get the historic designation that the TWA building has.