Airlines Don't expect this United Airlines Chicago experience when you're at JFK.

Published on August 2nd, 2017 | by Mark Chesnut

Don't expect this United Airlines Chicago experience when you're at JFK.

I Wish the American Airlines JFK Terminal Had a Disco Tunnel

For my most recent visit to Cancun (to check out the beautiful Finest Playa Mujeres and Beloved Playa Mujeres hotels in Cancun, for an Mexico hotel review in TravelAge West), I flew American Airlines from JFK nonstop to the Cancun airport. And while I like Terminal 8, the American Airlines terminal at JFK, there’s one big thing that it lacks: a disco tunnel.

THE ROUTE: New York City/John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Cancun International Airport (CUN); Boeing 737; economy class; 3 hours, 28 minutes

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THE DEPARTURE: I took the JFK AirTrain, which is an efficient and economical way to arrive at JFK airport. The check-in area at the American Airlines terminal 8 was crowded but it was quick, since I was able to immediately access a kiosk and didn’t check any luggage (they would have charged me $25 to check luggage; even though I have an American Airlines credit card that allows for a free checked bag, since for this work trip I hadn’t bought the ticket, that didn’t register).  The TSA Pre-Check line was also rather quick and without problems.

The American Airlines terminal at JFK is modern and clean. But no disco.

The American Airlines terminal at JFK is modern and clean. But no disco.

Which brings me to the tunnel. The American Airlines terminal at JFK has two large concourses, and to get from one to the other you need to go underground, where a tunnel and a moving sidewalk moves you beneath the tarmac. Have you ever been to the United Airlines terminal at Chicago? They make the experience of taking a giant mole tunnel into a disco-worthy experience, with music and dramatic and artsy lighting elements that create a multi-sensory experience that actually makes the trip enjoyable (and possibly photo- or video-worthy). I’ve also been in tunnels (in Atlanta, for example) where there original art and/or other types of exhibitions give you something to look at while you’re in the hole.

Not so with JFK’s Terminal 8. It’s a tunnel. There’s a moving sidewalk. That’s it. Not even any attention-getting sponsor advertising. Don’t get me wrong; I do like Terminal 8 — it’s roomy, clean and I’ve never found it to be annoyingly crowded. But I wish they could hire someone creative to do something interesting with that subterranean space!

Boarding for the flight was on time and by group number.

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THE AIRCRAFT: The American Airlines Boeing 737 had a the Boeing Sky interior, which was fresh and attractive. The seats had wings, but no blankets or pillows were provided.

INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: Seat-back screens offered free movies, games and TV programming — a rather good selection (although I stupidly chose to watch “The Cure For Wellness”).

AIRLINE FOOD: The flight attendants sold food and snacks. Non-alcoholic beverages and Biscoff cookies (which I love) were free. There was also a second beverage service of water and juice.

THE ARRIVAL: We landed nearly 30 minutes early at the Cancun airport. Immigration processing required a wait of about 12 minutes, which isn’t too bad, and the customs line took about 10 minutes.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.


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