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How Did Manhattan Airline Terminals Work?  
User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6873 posts, RR: 7
Posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12751 times:

You remember circa 1940 the airlines built that terminal on the SW corner of Park and 42nd, then in the 1950s? they added the West Side Termianl near the Lincoln Tunnel (closed 1972) and the East Side near the Queens-Midtown. No idea how many other cities had them-- San Francisco's was on the SE corner of O'Farrell and Taylor I think.

Did your ticket include the ride from the downtown terminal to the airport? You checked baggage downtown? How did you know how far ahead of scheduled departure you had to show up there? Don't recall any mention of that in timetables.

51 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinerwy04lga From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3176 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12733 times:

Quoting timz (Thread starter):
Did your ticket include the ride from the downtown terminal to the airport?

AFAIK, it was just a ticketing center for a bunch of airlines. There was a private bus company that served the various airports. I don't think your ticket included that ride or if the luggage was tagged prior to the bus leaving the ticketing center. That was probably done at the airport. I don't know for a fact, though.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25652 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12682 times:

Reminds me when BOAC, BEA, Pan Am and TWA had their own terminals in London, where you could check-in and be transported by bus to LHR (and to the city terminal on arrival). I'm pretty sure you could also check your baggage there but I forget whether you had to pay a separate fare for the bus. I used the BEA and Pan Am buses to/from LHR a few times in the 1970s.

User currently offlinenomadic From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12586 times:

I used the TWA bus several times to/from LHR to their city terminal at Shepard's Bush, near the Kensington Hilton. I believe it was 5 pounds or $10.00us each way.

The mid-town airlines terminal in Manhattan did tag the luggage when you checked in. You could pick your seat as well (at least in later years) It was the old system of taking a seat tab from a wall chart and attaching it to your ticket envelope. The clerk in Manhattan would then call the airport counter indicating what seats had been assigned. People checking in downtown would usually do so well before the flight was open for check-in at the airport so it was not a frequent occurance to have the same seat given out at both locations.

Carey Limo operated the bus transportation to LaGuardia, Newark and later Idlewild airports.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):
TWA had their own terminals in London
Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 1):
AFAIK, it was just a ticketing center for a bunch of airlines. There was a private bus company that served the various airports. I don't think your ticket included that ride or if the luggage was tagged prior to the bus leaving the ticketing center. That was probably done at the airport. I don't know for a fact, though.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20743 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 12546 times:

Quoting timz (Thread starter):
San Francisco's was on the SE corner of O'Farrell and Taylor I think.

The original one in SF was at the corner of Ellis and Mason, which was torn down in the 70s to make room for the Hilton tower expansion, replaced by the one at Ellis and Taylor. You could check your bags at the terminal, then buy a ticket to SFO on the 'SFO Airporter' bus, which ran frequently. It was very cheap, like $1.50 each way back in the day.

From outlying areas, there was the helicopter service on SFO Helicopter.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineUSAirALB From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 3108 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11452 times:

CX had this in HKG in the 90s. Don't know if it still exists. Was called "CityCheck".


E135/E140/E145/E70/E75/E90/CR2/CR7/CR9/717/732/733/734/735/73G/738/739/752/753/762/772/319/320/321/333
User currently offlinee38 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 359 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11267 times:

I don't have any first-hand experience of the downtown New York airline terminals, other than a story my Dad told me when I was a kid.
Around 1967 he had some business in New York and flew from Dallas (DAL) to New York (JFK) on Braniff International Airways (BN)--727-100 going up; 707 on the return. When he arrived in New York, he took a cab downtown, but for the return, he decided to check-in at the East Side Airlines Terminal.

The East Side Airlines Terminal must have been fairly large and was probably used by most, if not all, of the airlines serving the three New York area airports because I remember he told me the Braniff ticket counter was on the second level (mezzanine) of the building.
He DID check his suitcase to Love Field at the ESAT, then boarded a Carey bus to the airport, although he did not mention if there was a charge for the bus or not.
He also told me that in order for the luggage to arrive at the airport in time for the flight, there was a check-in requirement of something like 4 hours prior to the flight. That information may have been printed in the "general information" section of the timetable.

He actually enjoyed the whole experience of traveling by plane.

Good ole' days of air travel.

e38


User currently offlineCODC10 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2436 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11271 times:

At HKG, most airlines have desks for the MTR Airport Express at the Hong Kong (Island) and Kowloon stations. On my last trip through a few months ago, UA still staffed their desk in Kowloon with an employee, not contract agent. This was extremely helpful in resolving an IRROPS issue, before I even got to the airport, that arose due to foul weather in EWR snarling outbound flights.

Anyway, the Manhattan airline terminals were large public buildings, along the lines of a Port Authority Bus Terminal, and were operated by the MTA. They contained small parking garages, airline ticket offices, coffee shops, waiting rooms and bus lanes for transfers to the area airports. Most of the properties were sold in the 70s and 80s to raise much-needed cash.

A few cool pictures of the East Side Airlines Terminal:



User currently offlineFlyPIJets From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 918 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11061 times:

I have a 1955 AA schedule that mentions east side airline terminal. Coach (bus I assume, and not stage   ) took you to LGA or EWR or IDL for $1.35. So, it wasn't a free service.

[Edited 2013-06-30 18:43:20]


Also a 1975 Delta timetable mentions to east side terminal. Fare was 3.50 to JFK and 3.00 to LGA.


[Edited 2013-06-30 18:51:44]


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User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10318 times:

That building exterior looked kind of art deco in design. What were the years of operation and what is there now?

User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3546 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10217 times:

So we went backward in service :/

User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1110 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10195 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 9):
That building exterior looked kind of art deco in design. What were the years of operation and what is there now?

1953 to 1985. Sold to developers for upscale apartment complex.

http://www.nytimes.com/1985/02/14/ny...st-side-sold-for-90.6-million.html


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20743 posts, RR: 62
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 9945 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 10):
So we went backward in service :/

In some ways yes, but in 2013 how many people would be willing to give up a Town Car service to go through a downtown terminal to check in, and then ride the bus to the airport? The latter has no air of eliteness or privacy to it at all.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineviscount630 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 239 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 9900 times:
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There was also a downtown terminal at Victoria Railway Station, serving Gatwick, for many years. Originally operated by BUA, later BCal and even BA for a while after the merger. Passengers checked in themselves and their luggage and then went straight down to the station platform to board a train right into Gatwick's own station. BOAC's terminal was almost next door to Victoria Station, but they used coaches to Heathrow. BEA used several sites and eventually centred Central London operations at the West London Air terminal on the Cromwell Road. Several European and UK airlines used BEA's facilities there.

Many UK airline timetables included town terminal check-in times and there was usually a small charge for the bus or, from Victoria, train, to the airport. Although baggage was usually checked all the way through, in early years an outbound customs check used to require passengers to identify their baggage and get customs clearance with it before proceeding to the departure lounge.

British Eagle also operated their own terminal in Kensington and for my first ever flight, as late as 1972, I well remember checking in for a Monarch flight at the North London Air Terminal near Euston (?) and being coached out to Luton.



RIP Dan-Air. Where the Secret was SERVICE.
User currently offlinesierra3tango From Bahrain, joined Mar 2013, 364 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 9661 times:

Quoting viscount630 (Reply 13):
Many UK airline timetables included town terminal check-in times and there was usually a small charge for the bus or, from Victoria, train, to the airport. Although baggage was usually checked all the way through, in early years an outbound customs check used to require passengers to identify their baggage and get customs clearance with it before proceeding to the departure lounge.

Don't think you had to pay for either the BEA or BOAC buses (might have been in the ticket price), but the LGW train was a train ticket at full fare, but you could check in your baggage at Victoria

BEA started out with a separate double decker (+baggage trailer) from Cromwell Road for each flight outbound, which was a bit of joke as the bus could carry more PAX than a Viscount! From memory the baggage trailer was disconnected near the terminal and then the PAX were offloaded at the terminal to find their way to the gate. Subsequently they gave up that theory and just had a regular bus (every 10 or 15 mins?) to LHR, at that point my memory fails me as to whether you could check in at the terminal or the airport.

The worst one was BIA to the channel islands called 'railair?' which involved a train from Waterloo (included in ticket price) to SOU and hauling your baggage by hand from the station to terminal (more like a nissen hut in those days).


User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8962 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 11):
1953 to 1985. Sold to developers for upscale apartment complex.

http://www.nytimes.com/1985/02/14/ny....html

Thanks for the link, that story answered all my questions.


User currently offlinedstc47 From Ireland, joined Sep 1999, 1481 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8306 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):
I forget whether you had to pay a separate fare for the bus

You paid directly for the BEA bus to the West London Air Terminal from LHR T1, indeed you did not have to be a BA passenger to use it. The baggage went into a trailer towed behind the bus. If I recall correctly it was then an awkward walk to the tube station up and down steps to continue your journey. Of course in those days, there was no direct underground connection to Heathrow at all, for many years the line ended at Hounslow West.

The entirely separate BOAC bus went to the former Imperial Airways Building in Victoria, just across from the Victoria Coach Station and it continued for many years after the merger of BEA and BOAC. This building is now the National Audit Office. Never used that one.


A bus in Aer Lingus colours, operated by the national transport company CIE, linked Dublin Airport to downtown Dublin for many years, initially departing from near the Aer Lingus head office, at that time in O'Connell St and later on from the (provincial) bus station in Dublin. The bus service remains but is no longer Aer Lingus branded.


User currently offlineLOWS From Austria, joined Oct 2011, 1168 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8286 times:

OS still offers this in Vienna. If you are taking the City-Airport-Train, you can check in and drop your bags there. They get taken out to the airport with the train.

User currently offlineflyingalex From Germany, joined Jul 2010, 1016 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 7796 times:

Quoting LOWS (Reply 17):
OS still offers this in Vienna. If you are taking the City-Airport-Train, you can check in and drop your bags there. They get taken out to the airport with the train.

Not just OS. Many airlines serving VIE participate in this service.



Public service announcement: "It's" = "it is". To indicate posession, write "its." Looks wrong, but it's correct grammar
User currently offlinegoosebayguy From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2009, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 7692 times:

BA have a terminal at Victoria rail station for use when flying from Gatwick. You can check in and hop on a train. They take your cases. You have to pay for the rail ticket yourself though.

User currently offlinecgnnrw From Germany, joined May 2005, 1164 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 7607 times:

When I lived in DC I remember a lot of airlines had ticketing office on/around K Street NW. Always enjoyed going down and collecting timetables and inflight magazines, etc. Ah those were the days....


A330 man.
User currently offlinerichardw From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 3755 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 7300 times:

Quoting goosebayguy (Reply 19):

When were you last at Victoria Station?


User currently offlineeljonno From Australia, joined Sep 2008, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 7230 times:

Quoting goosebayguy (Reply 19):
BA have a terminal at Victoria rail station for use when flying from Gatwick. You can check in and hop on a train. They take your cases. You have to pay for the rail ticket yourself though.

I do remember this, but it has been closed for many many years now.

Are there any trip reports that explain how it all worked in a bit more detail? Maybe some photos even? Would love to see them...


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20743 posts, RR: 62
Reply 23, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 7137 times:

Quoting eljonno (Reply 22):
Are there any trip reports that explain how it all worked in a bit more detail?

It's been eons since I was through Gatwick, but the last time I was in the 90s, I used the AA check-in facility there. It all went like clockwork. There's some info out there using Google on both the BA and AA services at Victoria.

AA had the same 2-hour check-in time for both the airport and Victoria Station, so it saved considerable time.

Airline Offers Check-in At Victoria Station



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offline777law From Monaco, joined Jul 2006, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 7138 times:

I don't think the airline bus service is dead yet -

When I lived in Seoul (2005 - 2007) KE had a bus that would pick you up at various hotels and train stations around the city and take you out to ICN. I think it cost something like KRW15,000 - 20,000 (US $15-$20). It was actually quite convenient and quite a good product. I don't know if the KE bus is still running - but it was operating for some time after ICN opened.



UA- Premier Platinum, AF / KL - Flying Blue Petroleum, BA Executive Club Silver
25 Post contains links tockeyhockey : VIE has something similar to this: http://www.cityairporttrain.com/Services/City-Check-In.aspx We used it while visiting as tourists and found it to b
26 jumpjets : Wasn't there something similar at Paddington Station [London] when the Heathrow express train service opened. I think you checked in and left your lug
27 LOWS : I know there is a check in machine where you can print your boarding passes, but only for certain airlines, at least now anyways.
28 Post contains images PROSA : This is the Corinthian, the very expensive apartment building on the site of Manhattan's East Side Airlines Terminal:
29 Highflier92660 : In Southern California back in the 1960s and continuing into the 90s, the Disneyland hotel in Anaheim had a large number of airline ticket counters lo
30 ItalianFlyer : While this is a bit before my time.....I hear that Chicago had a similar set up somewhere in the Loop. From what I understand (from old timer employee
31 Post contains links psa188 : The image you posted didn't work, but here's a link: http://thecorinthian.cityrealty.com/
32 Post contains links and images Viscount724 : One of the BEA buses with trailer. It's from the following 2006 thread. BEA West London Air Terminal (by HS748 Jun 11 2006 in Civil Aviation)
33 sierra3tango : thanks a real trip down memory lane
34 sierra3tango : I did once, taking a girlfriend to LHR (going Montreal on a AC DND card) in Dec 70. It was a double decker, when we got to Earls Court (the Smithfiel
35 CARST : Like mentioned most airlines offer this city checkin at the MTR stations in Hongkong. And I know EY has a city checkin in Dubai city and Abu Dhabi ci
36 CARST : Just found out SQ has a city checkin in Singapore and GA has one in Jakarta. SN has them in Conakry, Kigali, Kinshasa and Monrovia. RJ has a city chec
37 Post contains links flyboy_se : Swedavia, Swedish airports operator, has check in machines at the central station in Stockholm. Some of them are located next to the Arlanda Express a
38 Doona : SK used to have a terminal by the docks in central Malmö, complete with a passenger catamaran service to Copenhagen Airport on the other side of the
39 timz : Sounds like a good reason nobody would bother with the downtown terminal, if you could show up at the airport a half hour? before scheduled departure
40 type-rated : In Chicago the best known ORD bus was the one that left from the UA CTO (City TIcket Office) on Wabash near the Palmer House hotel. You'd also see a l
41 Post contains links psa188 : Just about every big city had an "airline row" where most of the city ticket offices/offline sales offices were located. Depending on the individual
42 AVLAirlineFreq : My first airplane trip that I ever remember was taking the train from Connecticut to Manhattan, checking in at the EA Midtown terminal (including chec
43 mozart : The Paddington check-in for Heathrow closed on the afternoon of 11 September 2001 and never re-opened. There is a city terminal of Luxair by Luxembour
44 milesrich : I used to use the West Side Terminal when flying through Newark. You checked your luggage in Manhattan, and it was tagged, and got on a bus to EWR. I
45 LOWS : The LH office in CGN Main Station was there when I was there last, in 2011. In Stuttgart, I didn't see it last September, but I didn't have much time
46 aquariusHKG : If I remember correctly the downtown check-in office is at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, or where the city ticketing office is The service existed dur
47 dstc47 : Which sadly leaves you waiting outside in the open air near Grand Central and also uses rather small buses. At least Carey had full size coaches, and
48 Post contains links psa188 : I *suspect* that this is because there are fewer passengers using traditional airport-to-downtown express bus service. I think that the rise of share
49 Viscount724 : During those years most carriers serving Toronto had a ticket office in the lower semi-basement level of the Royal York Hotel, then owned by Canadian
50 RCS763AV : AF still have a city terminal close to the Invalides monument in Paris. I know their airport shuttle stops in front of the terminal, but I don't know
51 PROSA : In New York the JFK Airtrain and the EWR monorail have reduced demand for express bus service. Chances are the flat-rate JFK taxi fare has been a fac
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