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Delta is spending $1.5 billion to upgrade New York’s largest airport — see the improvements so far

Delta new check-in at JFK Terminal 4.Delta is investing $1.5 billion into New York-JFK Terminal 4.

Delta Air Lines

  • Delta Air Lines is investing $1.5 billion into New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  • The carrier has already opened an upgraded check-in lobby, 10 new gates, and a new cargo building.
  • Delta One flyers will eventually have a dedicated check-in lobby and an exclusive lounge at Terminal 4.
In December 2021, Delta Air Lines broke ground on its $1.5 billion upgrade at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Improvements target the passenger experience and airport infrastructure.Delta.Delta’s Terminal 4 expansion broke ground in December 2021.

Delta Air Lines

Source: Delta Air Lines

The carrier previously split its operations between Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, which were not directly connected. Travelers could take a complimentary shuttle bus to reach the other without re-clearing security.Delta sign at JFK that says Terminal 2 is closed and to proceed to Terminal 4.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: JFK

But, as of January 14, 2023, Delta has officially consolidated its operations to Terminal 4 to offer passengers a “seamless travel experience.”Delta Air Lines at JFK.Delta Air Lines at JFK.

Ron Adar/Shutterstock

Source: Delta Air Lines

The project will complement the carrier’s $4 billion investment into the neighboring LaGuardia Airport, which got a completely new Terminal C that opened in June 2022.Delta Air Lines' new Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport.

Delta Air Lines

I toured Delta’s brand new $4 billion Terminal C at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and now I can’t wait to fly out of it as a passenger

The overhaul touched every part of the facility, including gates, security, bag claim, and check-in. Delta even added a sensory room and opened a new Sky Club lounge.Delta Air Lines' new Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport.The new sensory room at LGA Terminal C.

Taylor Rains/Insider

While the JFK project is not as substantial as LaGuardia, it shows Delta’s commitment to New York airports, with investments totaling $7 billion since 2010.LGA Terminal C.

Taylor Rains/Insider

New York’s completely renovated LaGuardia Airport is nearly done after 7 years of construction — see inside the new B and C terminals, one being the world’s best

Delta still has work to do at JFK, but it has so far opened updated gates, ticket counters, and most recently a new cargo facility — take a look.Delta Sky Club Terminal 4 JFK AirportA Delta plane at Terminal 4 JFK taken from the Concourse B Sky Club.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

The first big upgrade is check-in. Delta has added more stations so it can more efficiency accommodate customers.Delta's new check-in lobby at Terminal 4.Delta’s new check-in lobby at Terminal 4.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

The airline has also added more bag drop locations and self-service kiosks…Delta's Terminal 4 self-service kiosks and bag weight.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

…a digital wall backdrop, which has information like flight status and Sky Club crowds…The blue digital wall backdrop at Delta Terminal 4.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

…and a dedicated Sky Priority area, giving premium travelers more space.The dedicated Sky Priority lane with red sign.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

On the far right side of the Terminal 4 check-in lobby is the Delta One check-in area.The Delta One check-in area in JFK Terminal 4.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

Only a handful of eligible travelers can use this space, including those in Delta’s long-haul or transcontinental business class, Delta 360 members, KLM world business class passengers, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, and Virgin’s flying club gold members.Delta One next to Virgin Atlantic business class sign.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

Eventually, Delta plans to build a separate room for Delta One travelers, as well as a dedicated TSA lane that connects directly to the check-in lobby, Ryan Marzullo, Delta’s managing director of design and construction, told The Points Guy.Kiosks at the Delta One check-in space at JFK Terminal 4.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: The Points Guy

Customers will also find upgrades past security, including 10 new spacious gates in Concourse A…Delta employees at the new JFK Terminal 4 gates.One new one was opened in Concourse B, with another 28 to follow.

Delta Air Lines

Source: Delta Air Lines

…and a temporary Sky Club Express lounge located on the second level near security. But, the lounge will only remain open until summer 2023, which is when a new 14,000-square-foot Sky Club is slated to open.Delta new Terminal 4 Sky Club rendering.Delta new Terminal 4 Sky Club rendering.

Delta Air Lines

Source: Delta Air Lines

Although Delta already has a Sky Club by the B gates, increased operations in Terminal 4 could contribute to even more overcrowding that already impacts Delta’s lounges.A line outside the new Sky Club at LGA Terminal C.A line outside the new Sky Club at LGA Terminal C.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

In addition to two Sky Clubs, the carrier also plans to add a one-of-a-kind lounge dedicated to Delta One flyers. The 36,000-square-foot space will feature a “personalized, dedicated level of service that further elevates the lounge experience.”A business-class suite on Delta's Boeing 767-300ER.Delta One suite on the 767-400ER.

Delta Air Lines

Source: Delta Air Lines

Other future improvements include upgrades to bag claim and arrivals, new artwork and bathrooms, and 28 additional gates in Concourse B.The green mosaic art leading into the bathrooms.The restrooms at LGA Terminal C (pictured) have mosaic artwork representing NYC.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

Delta is also upgrading its cargo operations — a business that allows the airline to generate more revenue by carrying freight in the belly of passenger planes.Delta cargo being loaded into an aircraft.

Delta Air Lines

Source: Delta Air Lines

Delta’s vice president of cargo, Rob Walpole, told Insider it has had to adjust its cargo business through the pandemic, capitalizing on the increased demand for air transport created by bottlenecked shipping ports.Delta cargo loading into an aircraft.Delta got permission from the FAA to transport cargo in the passenger cabin during the pandemic. (These were cargo-only flights.)

Delta Air Lines

Source: Delta Air Lines, We chartered a boat with a logistics expert to look at port congestion up close and saw how American greed is leading to shortages and empty shelves

As a result, Delta pocketed $1 billion in cargo revenue in both 2022 and 2021. That is compared to $753 million in 2019.Delta Cargo sign at JFK.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

To further increase capacity, the airline recently opened a 15,000-square-foot cooler, which is essentially a giant refrigerator that will handle things like produce and pharmaceuticals.A door in the cooler with a sign for perishable goods and the temperature to store them at.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

The building has four chambers and direct ramp access, meaning workers can quickly get the temperature-controlled products from the cooler to the aircraft in line with healthy safety guidelines.Inside one of the Delta cargo cooler chambers.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Delta Air Lines

Walpole said New York-JFK’s location allows the carrier to efficiently transport freight to places like Europe, Latin America, and the Midwest. The airline currently has 35 flights a day to Europe, which is a large pharmaceutical manufacturing market.A worker moving cargo around warehouse.Inside the cooler at Delta’s Atlanta hub.

Delta Air Lines

With the new facility, Walpole told Insider that the carrier expects to increase revenue by 300%.Inside the cooler at Delta's Atlanta hub.Inside the cooler at Delta’s Atlanta hub.

Delta Air Lines

He further explained the cooler will help Delta continue to grow the lucrative revenue stream post-COVID, despite the recent downtick in cargo demand due to economic uncertainties, like inflation and the war in Ukraine.Delta shipping vaccines during the pandemic.Delta shipping vaccines during the pandemic.

Delta Air Lines

Source: IATA

“Revenue may go down because cargo is a cyclical business,” he said. “We look to increase our share of premium products, which will enable us to increase our yield per unit.”Worker loading Delta cargo onto an aircraft.

Delta Air Lines

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