I spent Wednesday afternoon talking to and observing passengers at JFK International Airport as they planned to depart NY for the Thanksgiving holiday. Contrary to reports on the news I didn't find long check in and security lines but a mostly smooth travel experience for passengers.
At jetblue's T5 check in lines were short and self service kiosk were not even being utilized. The security lines were moving at a steady pace with wait times between 5 and 10 minutes to reach airside. Two passengers Jennifer and Stephanie were transiting through JFK to get home from Italy. Jennifer was flying through to Boston and when asked why she choose jetblue she said "free baggage" was a big part of her decision. As for Stephanie she was on her way home to Sarasota. She preferred to fly jetblue but was unable to obtain a direct flight so she settled for Delta. Both of their flights were scheduled for an on time departure.
On to Delta's Terminal 2 and 3 where there was a little bit of confusion. First of all the Airtrain brige/walkway leading to T2 is now closed. Now passengers must use the parking garage elevators to reach street level and terminal. But wait, once you reach terminal 3 you can't enter the building from the front as one family found out. The family stood in frustration not exactly knowing where to go. The family of four eventually made there way up the walkway to the back of the terminal to the check Area. With improvements coming to Delta there should be a better passenger experience at JFK. Over at T2 the arrivals area was not as chaotic as in the past. Passengers seemed to be exiting with ease.
Over at Terminal 1 things seemed to be running smoothly with short check in lines and a 5-10 minute wait at security. A minor inconvenience is the scaffolding and construction going on above security. Flights seemed to be on time. Terminal 4 now has less land side area as the security checkpoint has been moved as part of the new Delta construction. The mall area now resides post security. Check in lines seemed short and flights were on time.
At AA's Terminal 8 there was a solo passenger who had trouble finding the elevator up to the check in level though she walked passed it several times. later on this same passenger was on the check in level trying to sell an empty carry on bag to fellow passengers. It was fascinating watching her attempt to make a sale. I don't think anybody was taking her up on her offer.
Good weather, on time flights, short check in and security lines made for happy passengers as they depart JFK for parts unknown on this Thanksgiving weekend.