T4 at JFK (mostly DL) poor design

Old Nov 16, 20, 11:25 am
  #1  
nrr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: jfk area
Programs: AA platinum; 2MM AA, Delta Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 9,673
T4 at JFK (mostly DL) poor design

I've flown out of nearly 30 airports in nearly 60 years of flying and the triple helix ramp design seems to be unique for T4, its not bad departing (downhill) but harder (as I get older) arriving (uphill).
Why would they design ramps like that?
Add in the "monster" size terminal, with moving "walkways" rarely 100% operational...make T4 a fun terminal to use.
nrr is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 12:00 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Programs: DL PM, MR Titanium/LTP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 8,351
I'm pretty sure the stacked jetway is due to the fact that departures are on the top floor but international arrivals need to be delivered to the lower level. It's just when you arrive on a non-international plane you have to go uphill to stay in the sterile area and then if JFK is your final destination you walk to the middle of T4 and go down an escalator to get back to the arrivals hall and baggage claim (but past customs and immigration).

In normal times all of the gates with that setup are used primarily for international arrivals and departures (or JFKLAX) and then once those planes arrive/depart, they are used as overflow for other flights.
Duke787 is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 12:09 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 19,696
Originally Posted by nrr View Post
I've flown out of nearly 30 airports in nearly 60 years of flying and the triple helix ramp design seems to be unique for T4, its not bad departing (downhill) but harder (as I get older) arriving (uphill).
Why would they design ramps like that?
Add in the "monster" size terminal, with moving "walkways" rarely 100% operational...make T4 a fun terminal to use.
Far from an unusal design. Plenty of international airports have one level dedicated to arriving international flights and the other level for departs and incoming domestic flight use.
dls25, MSPeconomist, HDQDD and 5 others like this.
flyerCO is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 1:11 pm
  #4  
nrr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: jfk area
Programs: AA platinum; 2MM AA, Delta Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 9,673
Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Far from an unusal design. Plenty ofinternationalairportshave one level dedicated to arriving international flights and the other level for departs and incoming domestic flight use.
But with a triple helix?
AA T8 at JFK seems to have a better arrangement.
LHR, CDG, CPH, ZRH don't have multi level.
nrr is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 1:19 pm
  #5  
nrr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: jfk area
Programs: AA platinum; 2MM AA, Delta Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 9,673
Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
I'm pretty sure the stacked jetway is due to the fact that departures are on the top floor but international arrivals need to be delivered to the lower level. It's just when you arrive on a non-international plane you have to go uphill to stay in the sterile area and then if JFK is your final destination you walk to the middle of T4 and go down an escalator to get back to the arrivals hall and baggage claim (but past customs and immigration).

In normal times all of the gates with that setup are used primarily for international arrivals and departures (or JFKLAX) and then once those planes arrive/depart, they are used as overflow for other flights.
I've departed and arrived at gates B2X and B3X all of them have triple helix arrangement, are there any with with BXY where XY > 20 without the triple helix?
nrr is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 1:49 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Programs: DL PM, MR Titanium/LTP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 8,351
Originally Posted by nrr View Post
I've departed and arrived at gates B2X and B3X all of them have triple helix arrangement, are there any with with BXY where XY > 20 without the triple helix?
Yes -- once you go down the escalator it reverts back to normal jetbridges (B42 and higher). Those gates only don't service any international flights (except Canada flights with pre-clearance) so no need to segregate arriving passengers.

All airports that have widebody international traffic do this in some manner it's just whether they do it in the jetbridge itself or force you up/down stairs/escalators immediately after you de-plane. At my home airport RDU, for international flights you get off the jetbridge and then immediately have to go up an escalator/stairs because at RDU the departures level is on the jetbridge level and international arrivals are up on the second level.
Duke787 is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 2:11 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 19,696
Originally Posted by nrr View Post
But with a triple helix?
AA T8 at JFK seems to have a better arrangement.
LHR, CDG, CPH, ZRH don't have multi level.
The design varries. Some use a vary step incline on jetbridge. The NYC is better in that respect.
flyerCO is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 2:22 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: DL DM 3MM 360
Posts: 315
Having only 1 SC 3/4 of mile down T4 is also a poor design, especially with the lack of people movers, as is closing off all the baggage claim exits except the one by the A concourse. Curb to last gate is almost 1 mile walk and vs.
SJC ORD LDR likes this.
p100a is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 3:06 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 11,708
It's not really any secret that this terminal is a giant pain. Whatever genius came up with the design should be forced to drag my luggage from TSA to the plane every time I fly through there, though I guess that NY planning for you.

The problem was the haste with which this project was undertaken. T3 needed to be replaced for a long time and rather than sitting down and doing this in stages, they decided to go all in on the T4 expansion plan. It really is a shame because I feel like given proper planning and funding DL could have come up with a great facility that replaced T2 and T3 and consolidated operations in their own terminal, but oh well.

The one nice thing about DL being in T4 now is the new Centurion Lounge.
MSPeconomist likes this.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 3:30 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Antonio
Programs: DL DM, Former AA EXP now AY Plat, NW Plat, Former CO Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 19,696
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
It's not really any secret that this terminal is a giant pain. Whatever genius came up with the design should be forced to drag my luggage from TSA to the plane every time I fly through there, though I guess that NY planning for you.

The problem was the haste with which this project was undertaken. T3 needed to be replaced for a long time and rather than sitting down and doing this in stages, they decided to go all in on the T4 expansion plan. It really is a shame because I feel like given proper planning and funding DL could have come up with a great facility that replaced T2 and T3 and consolidated operations in their own terminal, but oh well.

The one nice thing about DL being in T4 now is the new Centurion Lounge.
There is a plan that will tear down T2 and make a new terminal that's basicallya T4/T3 combined terminal . If/when this happens is anybodies clue.
flyerCO is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 5:07 pm
  #11  
nrr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: jfk area
Programs: AA platinum; 2MM AA, Delta Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 9,673
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
It's not really any secret that this terminal is a giant pain. Whatever genius came up with the design should be forced to drag my luggage from TSA to the plane every time I fly through there, though I guess that NY planning for you.

The problem was the haste with which this project was undertaken. T3 needed to be replaced for a long time and rather than sitting down and doing this in stages, they decided to go all in on the T4 expansion plan. It really is a shame because I feel like given proper planning and funding DL could have come up with a great facility that replaced T2 and T3 and consolidated operations in their own terminal, but oh well.

The one nice thing about DL being in T4 now is the new Centurion Lounge.
Besides the CL being nicer than the SC, you don't have to "back track" to use it: say you are departing from B24 you have to walk to SC at B32 and then BT to your gate, with the CL you make a bee-line right to your gate!
cmd320 likes this.
nrr is offline  
Old Nov 17, 20, 1:45 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Hands of Fate
Programs: MR LT(!)TE, DL PM MM, HTZ PC, 2V Fanboi, CBP GE, Uber Gold
Posts: 4,853
Originally Posted by nrr View Post
I've flown out of nearly 30 airports in nearly 60 years of flying and the triple helix ramp design seems to be unique for T4, its not bad departing (downhill) but harder (as I get older) arriving (uphill).
Why would they design ramps like that?
As previously mentioned, international arrivals need to arrive on a separate level (downstairs), so somehow you need to be able to connect your jetbridges to two different floors. You can basically do this with a ramp or with stairs/escalators/elevators. The latter are much more expensive to maintain, and if the elevator or escalator fails you've basically lost a gate. So the ramp approach is more resilient. The design of the ramp is then based on a number of factors, including type of planes to be supported, height differences between floors to be managed, ADA considerations (% grade), etc.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
It's not really any secret that this terminal is a giant pain. Whatever genius came up with the design should be forced to drag my luggage from TSA to the plane every time I fly through there, though I guess that NY planning for you.

The problem was the haste with which this project was undertaken.
If you look at the footprint of the terminal relative to the runways and taxiways, the long, thin extension of T4 is basically the best option short of rebuilding the whole airport from scratch, which of course would be a lot more expensive and complicated. There should have been more moving walkways from the start, but the post-TSA section was originally landside (and who wants to rush through a shopping mall, I ask ironically), and the gate section wasn't that big (or busy) originally (DL extended it twice). They did infill some walkways (the ones that you have to walk up a ramp to get to).

Re the SC location, IME does try to make the "premium" flights leave from the adjacent gates, though of course some backtracking is occasionally necessary.
bennos is online now  
Old Nov 17, 20, 1:52 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 11,708
Originally Posted by bennos View Post
If you look at the footprint of the terminal relative to the runways and taxiways, the long, thin extension of T4 is basically the best option short of rebuilding the whole airport from scratch, which of course would be a lot more expensive and complicated. There should have been more moving walkways from the start, but the post-TSA section was originally landside (and who wants to rush through a shopping mall, I ask ironically), and the gate section wasn't that big (or busy) originally (DL extended it twice). They did infill some walkways (the ones that you have to walk up a ramp to get to).
It was the best (realistically only) option for expanding T4, yes. But my point was that if Delta had planned this earlier on and invested more money into the project, rather than just being stuck out at the end of T4 they could have built their own facility in the footprints of T2 and T3 the way AA did out at T8 (in place of the former T8 and T9). Delta instead decided to go with the fast and cheap option, and we all know what kind of work that leads to...
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 17, 20, 3:35 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS MVPG, DL Gold, UA 1K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium + LT Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 4,391
Also, the more convenient arrival exit for those without luggage has been closed for a while now, so you have to walk all of the way to A concourse to exit terminal. If your plane is parked in the high 30s/40s gate, plan accordingly and wear something comfortable.
Repooc17 is offline  
Old Nov 17, 20, 3:40 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 11,708
Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
Also, the more convenient arrival exit for those without luggage has been closed for a while now, so you have to walk all of the way to A concourse to exit terminal. If your plane is parked in the high 30s/40s gate, plan accordingly and wear something comfortable.
Perhaps there's a business opportunity here for someone to start a mini-Uber company within JFK T4 using those little roofless golf carts they transport disabled/HVCs around in. I'd probably pay $3-5 for a ride from the high B gates to the exit.
cmd320 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: