AAJFKLHR777
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Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:49 pm

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]
 
beeweel15
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:57 pm

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.
 
AAJFKLHR777
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:01 am

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
 
Mir
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:03 am

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
 
delimit
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:07 am

The terminal foreshadowed the in-flight experience almost perfectly.

[Edited 2011-12-29 16:08:04]
 
bohica
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:41 am

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.
 
jsnww81
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:46 am

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.
 
ARN
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:10 am

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]
 
b727
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:13 am

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
 
delimit
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:46 am

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.
 
eadc8
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:25 am

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 738 741 742 744 752 753 762 764 DC8 DC9 MD80 DC10 L1011 A300 A319 A320 A332
 
jimmyjames
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:10 am

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
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:42 am

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.
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Mir
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:00 am

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
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:10 am

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"
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:13 am

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.
 
Mir
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:24 am

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
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:26 am

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.
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usair330
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:34 am

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??   
 
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mats
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:41 am

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.
 
Mir
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:48 am

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
 
flyguy89
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:34 am

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?
 
Independence76
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:14 am

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

I second this notion.
 
redtag501
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:15 am

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.
 
Navion
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:17 am

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?
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:46 am

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 tacked on. I wish I had pics to show. I was very unimpressed with the dreary ticketing area. But, I was just glad to be airborne after 15 too long years!
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lychemsa
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:53 am

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.
 
flyingturtle
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:48 am

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.


David.
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
viscount630
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:12 pm

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 STORED in the old Tower Air terminal (almost appropriate) There were a lot of Tower logos, lounge sets etc, seen among the damaged fire-trucks, ambulances, subway cars, shop stock, filing cabinets, wrecked office equipment, etc, etc. A shot of a staircase showed a painting (?) of a Tower Air 747 on it.
RIP Dan-Air. Where the Secret was SERVICE.
 
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9MMPQ
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:43 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 27):
Just to make sure everybody has heard the stories...

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 Air. Could not find it anymore but that was unbelievable & at the same time a very entertaining read 
I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.
 
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alberchico
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:50 pm

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 should help....

http://www.amazon.com/Cockpit-Confes...ooks&ie=UTF8&qid=1325263666&sr=1-1

this book was written by a Tower Air pilot. Highly recommended !!!
short summary of every jewish holiday: they tried to kill us ,we won , lets eat !
 
PITrules
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:40 pm

Here is a photo hosted on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/canadagood/3055385328/
FLYi
 
klkla
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:11 pm

Here's an interior shot on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TA9.jpg
 
jetdr77
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:23 pm

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 the best ...... most of the people that worked there said if it was still around most of us would still be there .... if you made it at Tower like most of us did other airlines were a cake walk ..... and thanks ANet for bringing back some memories and a good chuckle at the same time
 
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NWOrientDC10
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:33 am

Quoting jetdr77 (Reply 33):
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 the best ...... most of the people that worked there said if it was still around most of us would still be there .... if you made it at Tower like most of us did other airlines were a cake walk

Here's a clip from youtube you might enjoy. I enjoyed it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIoac--hsHA

Good Day  

Russell
Things aren't always as they seem
 
Mir
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:56 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 31):
Here is a photo hosted on Flickr:

That's a lot brighter than I remember it.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Tower Air JFK Terminal In The 1990's

Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:31 am

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

Oops! I think faster than I can type.    Meant 747-100!

Quoting Mir (Reply 20):
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.

I guess I'm not going to be able to live that typo down. Don't ever tell my ex-wife about this. She was and is scared shitless of stepping on board an airplane. As a matter of fact the last time she flew was with me on that trip. She's missing out on a lot of great things life has to offer.

Quoting jetdr77 (Reply 33):
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 the best ...... most of the people that worked there said if it was still around most of us would still be there .... if you made it at Tower like most of us did other airlines were a cake walk ..... and thanks ANet for bringing back some memories and a good chuckle at the same time

  

The employees were quite friendly to me. As a matter of fact on the return leg MIA-JFK my now ex wife started spazzing out on take off due to the turn. We flew out over the Everglades with the sun shining off the fetid swamp dirtwater, the wing of couse was pointing downard, the horizon on an angle the shit I and most of us here at A-Net get a rush. Look honey, thats the Everglades! I had my usuall window seat she was next to me in the center seat. Well, she started spazzing out shaking like a Chihuahua ready to lay a loaf. Two Tower flight attendants one male and one female happened to pass our row and stopped to console her. The young woman said she used to work for Eastern on the 757 and she loved the galleys of the 757 in the aft section. The gentleman sounded a little like the late great Steven Stucker from Airplane. He said don't worry, we wanna go do down as much as you do---crash
   This was around the time Lorena Bobbit sliced and diced her hubbies pecker off. I later told both F/A's thank you and don't be surprised if you hear me on Howard Stern or Jerry Springer as being the second dude to have his lizard surgically removed by his wife! I told them both with my luck I'd get no fame nor fortune since it's been there done that and that she would have then thrown it under an MTA bus!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em9PtzQzWOg
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