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Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's  
User currently offlineAAJFKLHR777 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 13 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 10 hours ago) and read 11352 times:

Hey Guys,

I work at JFK and I drive by the old tower air terminal (if you want to call it that) every day. I believe if memory serves me correctly that it was an old maintenance facility that was converted into a terminal for tower air. How many gates did they operate? The old terminal looks so tiny, and the ticketing and gate areas look so narrow. Can somebody provide some info, history, photos?

Thanks guys.

[Edited 2011-12-29 15:52:19]

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinebeeweel15 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1807 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 hours ago) and read 11353 times:

The Tower Air terminal was the old Pan Am HR building Building 213. Tower took it over when the construction of T1 began and modified it at the back to include 3 B747 gates.

User currently offlineAAJFKLHR777 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 hours ago) and read 11342 times:

Thats beewee....I thought it was an old hangar or cargo building or something...it looks like it was a miserable way to travel back then haha

User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21882 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 hours ago) and read 11333 times:

Quoting AAJFKLHR777 (Reply 2):
it looks like it was a miserable way to travel back then haha

No laughing matter...it was miserable.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinedelimit From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1513 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 hours ago) and read 11313 times:

The terminal foreshadowed the in-flight experience almost perfectly.

[Edited 2011-12-29 16:08:04]

User currently offlinebohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2751 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 hours ago) and read 11177 times:

Before the Airtrain was built, there was a free shuttle bus from the main terminals to the subway station. It stopped at the Tower Air terminal on the way. From the bus I could see that the building was a dump on the outside. I can only imagine what it looked like from the inside. I also remember the Tower Air 747 that sat next to the road for all to see while it was being parted out. Not a good reflection of the airline.

User currently offlinejsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2074 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 hours ago) and read 11141 times:

If I remember reading correctly, the terminal was originally built by Pan Am to handle overflow flights during construction of the present-day Worldport in 1971-1973. The construction limited the number of stands at the already-constrained terminal and so an offsite solution was needed. Once the Worldport was finished in 1973, the terminal was taken out of service until Tower re-opened it.

I don't know much about its days as a Tower terminal, but I've heard plenty of horror stories about the airline itself and can only imagine the terminal was equally bad.


User currently offlineARN From Sweden, joined Feb 2001, 267 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 hours ago) and read 11064 times:

I was on a Tower Air flight ex that terminal in 91. That was their once weekly JFK-CPH-ARN-JFK flight.

From my recollection that terminal was a rather dark place. Few windows facing the apron and a small cafe and a tiny shop.

Next to our flight was a Ladeco 757 parked. So I guess a few airlines apart from Tower used the same terminal.

Tower Air was OK. Flight departed on time, earphones were working and seat pitch ok.

[Edited 2011-12-29 17:11:40]

User currently offlineB727 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 522 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 hours ago) and read 11048 times:

if the terminal was closed all that time, after PanAm stopped using it, im sure there was many traces of PanAm left behind.Anyone have any photos?

B727
Glenn


User currently offlinedelimit From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1513 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 hours ago) and read 10916 times:

There weren't, other than the big Pan Am sign on the hanger (SO bummed when they finally took tha down).

It was totally utilitarian inside. A few Tower logos and that was about it. Oh, and a crowd of people screaming at the Tower employees because their flight was 12 hours late.


User currently offlineEADC8 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 hours ago) and read 10801 times:

I flew out of that terminal in Jan of 1996 to LAX. It was small and crowded and dingy. Very few windows. It served it's purpose however. Got to and from LAX on-time. Tower Air was fine, though I only flew them one time.


721 722 731 732 733 73G 741 742 744 752 753 762 764 DC8 DC9 MD80 DC10 L1011 A300 A319 A320 A332
User currently offlinejimmyjames From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 7 hours ago) and read 10660 times:

My mom worked for Swissair at their building (when they were based at JFK in the 80s-90s). I remember it originally being filled with Pan Am 747 classics waiting for maintainance. Then, Tower took over. It was horrendous. I had friends go on their obligatory Israel trip in High School. It was one of the first times I drove alone and dropped them off (probably like 1995). It was awful... a complete wreck! Lines out the door, it took hours to check in. From stories I have heard from former colleaques at JetBlue, the terminal reflected what it was like working for, and flying, Tower. The cool thing about them though was it was all 747 classics- even to Miami. Mostly former Pan Am planes from what I remember.


JimmyJames from JFK
User currently offlinezippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5566 posts, RR: 13
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 hours ago) and read 10559 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
No laughing matter...it was miserable.

It wasn't the worst but definitely not the best. The cafe actually had big tasty muffins.
I was just excited to fly on my first 747. JFK-MIA June 26, 1995 return six days later returned MIA-JFK.

Quoting delimit (Reply 4):
The terminal foreshadowed the in-flight experience almost perfectly.

Hey, it was a two hour flight. It was my honeymoon now divorced and my ex was as scared of flying as I am at getting blood drawn or worse having a doctor squeeze the cajones (prostate) So, at least I got window both up and back. I remember my ex bitching about the lav being on the funky side.   
As mentioned there were 3 gates. the ticketing hall was like a hanger or warehouse, gate area reminded me of Terminal C at BWI back when the airport was still BAL/Friendship.



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21882 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 hours ago) and read 10512 times:

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 12):
Hey, it was a two hour flight.

Not a two hour flight to Paris. Don't you just love it when the carpet underneath your feet becomes soaked with lav fluid?   

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinethomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 4026 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 hours ago) and read 10493 times:

Quoting AAJFKLHR777 (Reply 2):
..I thought it was an old hangar or cargo building or something...it looks like it was a miserable way to travel back then haha
Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
No laughing matter...it was miserable.
Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
The terminal foreshadowed the in-flight experience almost perfectly.
Quoting delimit (Reply 9):
Oh, and a crowd of people screaming at the Tower employees because their flight was 12 hours late.

All apt statements and one many fond memories of my NY years   . Like many I too took Tower's bait and flew to SJU, never again. How they managed to stay in business for 15+ years is beyond me.



"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3635 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 hours ago) and read 10482 times:

I'll contradict most accounts here.

The check in area kind of looked like a converted hangar, but the 3 concourse finger was fine.

Much, much better than anything you find at LGA or Terminal A at EWR.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21882 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 hours ago) and read 10440 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 15):
The check in area kind of looked like a converted hangar, but the 3 concourse finger was fine.

Much, much better than anything you find at LGA or Terminal A at EWR.

In what alternate reality was this?

It was a hallway. A decent-looking hallway, but a hallway nonetheless. Let's not give it too much credit.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinezippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5566 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 hours ago) and read 10327 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
Not a two hour flight to Paris. Don't you just love it when the carpet underneath your feet becomes soaked with lav fluid?



I'll take your word for that. Again my flights were 2 hours. JFK-MIA was an ex Virgin first generation 747-700 with the original early 70's interior with patterned Kermit green panels!

The return bird was a bit newer ex CO with the interior that looked like an L1011's. Jar lid window cutouts for the pull down shades. I guess a flight to Paris or longer would be the ultimate litmus test. Believe it or not I was just so psyched to fly on my first 747 and my first flight in believe it or not 15 years! The last time I flew before that was June 1980 on Eastern to MIA from BWI. If you told me:
  • Reagan becoming POTUS
  • Eastern and Pan Am biting the dust in 1991 during a GOP administration (daddy war-bucks Bush)
  • Me not getting up in the air for another 15 years
  • W stealing an election and 8 long years of his leadership or lack thereof

I'd say, you were crazy and I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I hear is up for sale.



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineusair330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 830 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 hours ago) and read 9964 times:

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 17):
Again my flights were 2 hours. JFK-MIA was an ex Virgin first generation 747-700 with the original early 70's interior with patterned Kermit green panels!

I think you're lying! Any pics to prove you were on a 747-700??   


User currently offlineMats From Israel, joined Jul 2003, 637 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (3 years 2 hours ago) and read 9934 times:

They eventually referred to it as "Terminal 33." The Carey Bus operator from Grand Central would always ask, "Is there anyone on 'Towers Air?'"

As I recall, Tower got fined by the FAA for its long check-in lines. Passengers showed up at the airport in an appropriate amount of time, but they were told that they were late when they reached the actual counter.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21882 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (3 years 2 hours ago) and read 9889 times:

Quoting usair330 (Reply 18):
I think you're lying! Any pics to prove you were on a 747-700??

700 was for the number of things on it that could be reasonably expected to be broken by the end of the flight. To be fair, that number does include the spirits of 400+ passengers.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineflyguy89 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 2019 posts, RR: 21
Reply 21, posted (3 years 2 hours ago) and read 9720 times:

Quoting delimit (Reply 4):
The terminal foreshadowed the in-flight experience almost perfectly.

They were indeed a funny little airline weren't they? Their service was certainly deplorable, but I always did like their livery, it looked quite attractive on the 747 if I do say so myself.

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 17):
Reagan becoming POTUS
Eastern and Pan Am biting the dust in 1991 during a GOP administration (daddy war-bucks Bush)
Me not getting up in the air for another 15 years
W stealing an election and 8 long years of his leadership or lack thereof

OMG can we PLEEEZ not take this thread down a political path? thank you  
Quoting AAJFKLHR777 (Thread starter):
Can somebody provide some info, history, photos?

I too would be interested in seeing some photos, people have told me their terminal made Delta's JFK terminal look like ICN in comparison!! Now was it really that bad?


User currently onlineIndependence76 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 288 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 1 hour ago) and read 9547 times:

Quoting AAJFKLHR777 (Thread starter):
Can somebody provide some info, history, photos?

I second this notion.



"In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes." - John Ruskin
User currently offlineredtag501 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (3 years ago) and read 9333 times:

Reading accounts of the spartan Tower Air JFK terminal sort of reminds me of flying back in the 1950s. The old, so-called 1948 "Temporary Terminal" in Atlanta had semi-open ramshackle finger concourses that "stretched to Macon" as they used to say. There were no boarding lounges in those days. Constructed at ground level directly upon the tarmac, these wooden concourses were also bisected by openings with painted roadways for baggage tugs and trailers to pass through as short cuts from the flight line to the main terminal. You lined up with other passengers by your "gate" and stood waiting to board your flight somewhat exposed to the weather. If it was raining, you would be handed an umbrella at the gate with which to cross the tarmac and turn in at the base of the loading ramp or stairs. In the summer, the heat was sweltering as there was no air conditioning. Departing aircraft prop wash swept hot winds through the openings and the carried with them the intoxicating smells of aviation gasoline, exhaust, oil, asphalt and Skydrol. The ever present sounds of service vehicles, aircraft piston engines or Rolls Royce Dart turboprops on Capital Airlines' Viscounts, together with a never ending stream of flight announcements and pages over loudspeakers echoing throughout the entire terminal, created a general cacophonous din that added an element of excitement and wonder to air travel that is all but missing today.

User currently offlineNavion From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1015 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (3 years ago) and read 9328 times:

Can anyoe point out this Tower Air terminal building on Google Earth? I think I see a possible building located between Hangar Rd & W. Hangar Rd bounded by 130th Place. Is that it?

25 zippyjet : As I said before not the best of terminals but not the worst. The upper levels, corridors to gate areas reminded me of a 1950's terminal with jet ways
26 lychemsa : The Terminal was small and very cozy. That's all I remember. And the Tower Air crews were very young kids just out of High School; 18 year old types.
27 Post contains links flyingturtle : Just to make sure everybody has heard the stories... http://www.epinions.com/reviews/trvl-Airlines-US_Canada_TowerAirr Too bad they don't fly anymore.
28 Viscount630 : On a recent visit to The Imperial War Museum, in London, they had an excellent feature on the 9/11 Twin Towers wreckage and artifacts that are now STO
29 Post contains images 9MMPQ : Thanks for that one ! I can remember a thread on here ages ago with all the horror stories & a pretty funny sort of Christmas poem about Tower Ai
30 Post contains links alberchico : How Was Tower Air? (by Henpol747 Dec 7 2004 in Civil Aviation)#73 Was Tower Air A Great Airline? (by Alberchico Apr 6 2005 in Civil Aviation)#1 this s
31 Post contains links PITrules : Here is a photo hosted on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/canadagood/3055385328/
32 Post contains links klkla : Here's an interior shot on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TA9.jpg
33 jetdr77 : Being an former Tower air MX employee its all amusing to me because its all true but i have a lot of fond memories of working there the people were th
34 Post contains links and images NWOrientDC10 : Here's a clip from youtube you might enjoy. I enjoyed it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIoac--hsHA Good Day Russell
35 Mir : That's a lot brighter than I remember it. -Mir
36 Post contains links and images zippyjet : Oops! I think faster than I can type. Meant 747-100! I guess I'm not going to be able to live that typo down. Don't ever tell my ex-wife about this.
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