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DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 11:30 am


This trip report is LONG. Feel free to skip to the section on JFK - T4 or just scroll through and look at the photos. I will include detailed captions.

P E R S O N A L - I N T R O

It is has been quite a while since I've written a trip report. I basically haven't had any travel experiences that seemed unique enough to merit a trip report.

That is one reason I decided to visit JFK on Friday, May 24th, for the opening of Delta's expanded T4 operations. I figured that while it might get a lot of local news coverage and coverage by bloggers, I would be able to see it from the prospective of a Delta frequent flier who flies domestically for work, and internationally for fun!

As an intro here is the promotional video Delta put out way back in July 2011....if you watch closely at 2:35 into the video you can see "Zombie Kid"....



Living in the Fingerlakes Region of New York State I have many airports to choose from. However, since Delta expanded service at LGA my options for flying to JFK were limited. For instance, while ROC and SYR both offer frequent large regional jet service to LGA, they have only a few direct flights to JFK, and those are on the smallest of regional jets. I settled on flying out of BUF as it has CRJ-700 service to JFK. The tickets were not cheap so I decided to use my SkyPesos (also known as SkyMiles) for an award ticket.

Of course finding a round trip low award booking was out of the question. There was plenty of low award availability to JFK but nothing but high awards for flights leaving JFK in the afternoon or evening. While I am a critic of SkyMiles, I can not fault Delta for requiring high level awards for flying out of NYC on the Friday afternoon/evening of Memorial Day weekend. After several weeks of continual monitoring I was able to find a mid-level award for leaving JFK at 3:55 pm to DTW and then connecting to a DTW-BUF flight. This made the total trip cost 32,500 SkyMiles (25,000 low to get there + 40,000 mid to return DIVIDE by 2 = 32,500)

One nice perk of Delta's domestic award tickets for their elite fliers is being eligible for upgrades. For upgrades, award tickets count as the lowest fare, meaning I would be behind all of the other Platinum members but would be ahead of all Golds and Silvers (except those who bought full fare "Y" economy tickets) on the upgrade list. Sure enough my upgrade to JFK from BUF cleared several days before the trip!

P R E - F L I G H T

My flight from BUF was scheduled for a 6 am departure, which meant leaving my house VERY early for the multi-hour drive to BUF so I planned to just stay up the whole night. At around 11 pm the night before I got a call from Delta's automated system telling me that the BUF-JFK flight was cancelled....D'oh! I called into the Platinum line and the agent was not very helpful in trying to find a solution after confirming that everything out of BUF was cancelled or full. She did offer me a morning flight from SYR to LGA but that would create a problem of getting from BUF to SYR to retrieve my car after returning!

Fortunately using ExpertFlyer I was able to find availability for the ROC-LGA 6 am flight and then on the DTW-ROC evening flight, so keeping my JFK-DTW flight I would have a roundtrip that made sense. Calling back to the "Premium Sales and Services" line I got an agent who seemed very confused at first as to why I was flying to NYC for a day but was willing to change my flights to be ROC->LGA and JFK->DTW->ROC... She then informed me that her system would not let her actually re-issue the ticket without using more miles. I explained I had no intention of paying more miles as this was an IROP situation. She then put me on hold and told me it would take about 15 minutes for her to connect to the only desk with the authority to re-issue the ticket without charging more miles. After about 25 minutes on hold she came back and told me everything was all set. I had also been cleared into first class again on the flight down!

I did some quick research on how to get from LGA to JFK and there seemed to be three options. The cheapest was a combination of public buses or buses and subway for under $5, an airport transporter bus direct between LGA and JFK for $13, or a private car/taxi for about $50.

Not too long afterwards I started for the drive to ROC which is normally uneventful but after about 20 minutes on a country route found several utilities trucks blocking the way doing a power line repair which necessitated a lengthy detour!

Delta Air Lines 6299*
*Operated by GoJet Airlines
Departure 6:00 am
Arrival 7:21 am

ROC is a great little airport and I covered it extensively in this trip report: DL Y ROC->DTW->ATL From Small To The Large On DL! (by Burj Oct 25 2011 in Trip Reports)

So I won't write a lot here except for two issues....

The first is that they had a new priority line for elite fliers! This was great as it was much shorter than the normal line. There was a well dressed gentlemen standing next to the line with a ROC ID on so I asked him if there was a "PreCheck" line. When he said no apologetically I replied "I didn't think there would be, but I have PreCheck on my boarding pass so I thought I would ask..."

He perked up and asked to see my boarding pass as he had heard about airlines doing this but hadn't seen it.

Here is a blog post about it for those who are interested:

I told him it was great that ROC had a separate elite security line and he smiled and said that some people like it, some don't, and that it was really JetBlue who had pushed to have it put in!

Just as I got to the front a flight crew showed up and cut in line. When it was my turn I opted out of the nude-o-scope and had my freedom grope which wasn't as bad as at other places...

The second issue was that when I cleared security and checked the monitor for my gate I had a moment of panic as I couldn't find my flight at all...I then realized that NO Delta flights were listed! I went down to the Delta gates and none of the gate-displays had any Delta information.

Departures screen lacking any information on Delta flights.

Clever table top ad.

After using the Men's room a general announcement was made that my flight would be out of B9, at the end of the B concourse.

Nifty Dyson Airblade with a sign explaining how to use it!

A short while later an agent showed up to man the gate and was immediately mobbed by people looking for their Delta flights. She said that their computers were having problems and then made a general announcement to the whole concourse giving the gates for all the different morning Delta flights.

A dreary morning showing a lonely Delta regional jet and the ROC A concourse in the distance.

An AA regional jet in the old, and still quite classy, livery.

As we started boarding another person showed up and used duct tape to put a hand written paper sign with the flight number over the computer screen that was still showing the generic ROC airport logo/screen saver. At the bottom of the jetbridge I noticed the Captain was using a red Delta blanket to mop up since the drooping jetbridge canopy had let quite a bit of water in the cabin! The FA's were two young Asians, a male named "Yogi" and a female named "Charm." I had to wonder if those were their real names!

The flight was relatively uneventful except for the older gentleman sitting directly in front of me in 1-D who spent the while trip preaching about the Confederacy and Christianity to the guy next to him in 1-C. Alas my much needed nap would have to wait. After we landed we stopped on a taxiway and the captain came on to explain that we had landed a little early and the runway in use this morning at LGA causes traffic to back up on the taxiways so we would be waiting about 10 minutes. The older gentleman asked the FA if he could use the lav. Her eyes got wide and she pointed out the only lav was WAY in the back of the plane and she would have to ask the captain first.

Of course after calling the cockpit she explained that the captain said NO because we were on an active taxiway and might need to move with no notice. He asked if he could go as soon as the plane reached the gate and she said he could try. As I started thinking how he could have gone DURING the flight instead of talking about the Confederacy and Christ he nodded his head and started praying OUT LOUD for the Lord's guidance just as he had guided the Israelites out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea for them....

It occurred to me that it just might take divine intervention to part the sea of coach passengers trying to get off the plane to allow this guy to make it to the back to use the lav once the seat belt sign was off!

AA retro jet at LGA.

AA regional jet in the new livery...still not a fan.

A friend from up north!

When we got to the gate and the sign went off the poor guy had a hard time standing up, so many of us in first class got off before he even attempted to part the Sea of Unwashed Masses in coach!

L G A to J F K

Leaving the jetbridge and entering concourse C at LGA, I was struck by just how crowded it was! I will be flying through there in a few months with a 3+ hour layover so I hope to do an in-depth trip report then.

I did notice the new walkway connecting C and D and crossed it to visit the SkyClub in D.

Bridge connecting the C and D concourses at LGA.

Inside the C-D connector.

View from inside the C-D connector.

Panoramic view from the center of the C-D connector.

In the SkyClub I explained my situation, visiting JFK for the opening of the T4 expansion, and needing to get there from LGA. I've heard that Delta arranges transportation for people who actually buy tickets that involve flying into LGA and out of JFK and was hoping there was some kind of Delta sponsored bus/option but she told me to go downstairs to ground transportation and there was a shuttle bus for $12.

When I headed down, there was nobody at the information center or the shuttle bus stand. An airport worker walking by saw me taking pictures and told me that the desks aren't manned until 8 am but I could go outside.

Welcome to LGA! (You are on your own!)

Nobody here either!

Sure enough there was a young kid outside with a handheld device selling tickets for the shuttle bus. He said he would only take cash if I had the exact amount but was happy to take credit. Fortunately the bus arrived only a few minutes later and A LOT of people got off and took a while to collect all their luggage from the rear of the bus.

The bus to JFK, only $13 and they know the back routes too if traffic is bad!

I got on and prepared to show my receipt/ticket but wasn't asked. As we were about to pull out the kid with the credit card/receipt machine got on and handed paperwork to the driver. The driver then told him that the traffic between JFK and LGA was getting bad and that "T3 was toast!"

When we pulled away I asked if he meant Delta's T3 at JFK and we then had a chat about the changes. He said that he did the first bus transfer that morning at about 5 am and T3 looked normal, but by 7:00 am it was blocked off and cranes and other machines were there! He seemed surprised that they were tearing it down but I told him just how bad it was inside...

During this time we stopped a few times at other LGA stops and at the final LGA stop someone finally came on and asked to see everyone's ticket.

The ride to JFK was not easy as the traffic was in fact very bad. At one point we got off and started taking surface streets through Queens.

Must be getting close to JFK!

Actually plenty of domestic Delta flights use T4, including the premium Transcon flights!

The driver had taken a poll of where everyone was going and had announced he would go to T8 first, then T1, T4, and T5. When we arrived at T8 I got off and told him I would take the airtrain to T4. He concurred that would be fastest option and off I went....

Notice about the Delta change at the airtrain station.

T4 from a distance!

Rainy shot from inside the airtrain as it approaches T4...notice that the station stop is INSIDE of T4!
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RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 12:15 pm

J F K T4

One great feature of T4 is that the airtrain station is INSIDE of the terminal. I walked over to the side where Delta's area was located and took some photos before being welcomed by a Delta agent and pointed down the carpet toward the premium check-in area.

This was when I had my first inkling that the theme of the day was going to be "We are Delta...today is about US, not the passengers!"

A little blurry but notice the crowd in front of the SkyPriority check-in section.

Blocking the entrance to the new premium PASSENGER check-in area was a large group of Delta agents huddled in a circle. Once I go there and cleared my throat the leader apologized and told me to "Just head through as we are having our morning meeting." I was feeling premium already pushing my way through the crowd of people! It sounded like they were talking about handling the media and in fact later in the day I saw many of these same people guiding around various reporters and cameramen. It appears Delta assigned each media group their own "guide" to walk them around to the various events and terminal features.

Nice artwork inside the SkyPriority check-in area.

I took a few quick photos and then approached a check-in desk and was greeted by a gentleman with a CVG airport badge. After checking me in for my return flights he pointed out that they weren't for several hours. I told him how I had come just to see the expansion and he said many of them had been brought in from other stations to help out. I noted his CVG badge and asked if it was hard to see Delta expanding here while they've been reducing elsewhere (subtly referring to the blood bath that has been Delta's post merger reduction of CVG operations...). He smiled and thanked me for being a Platinum member. Feeling a little guilty....like asking a guy how it feels that his wife divorced him and immediately moved in with his best friend....I thanked him profusely and headed out.

Before going to security I headed BACK out of T4 to see the curb side area. It actually looked pretty swanky and they do have a conveyor belt for taking away checked baggage!

Curb side check-in near the T4 entrance.

View of the curb side check-in and T4 from a distance.

The beginning of the end for T3.

SkyPriority check-in desks as seen from outside of T4.

Better view of the SkyPriority check-in entrance.

Heading back into T4 I walked between the normal check-in area and the premium check-in. Two Delta agents where there talking to each other and again I had to stand close to them to get them to stop and pay attention. I then asked about PreCheck and one agent vaguely pointed me towards the new central security area but the other agent was kind enough to walk me there.

The PreCheck security literally took TWO MINUTES!

Looking at the SkyPriority check-in area through the glass, standing between it and the general check-in area on the way to security screening.

View of T4-B immediately after clearing security.

It was strange to now be airside in T4 in an area that used to be landside! I headed over to T4's B Concourse. Walking through the area that used to be security seemed a little surreal!

As excited as I was to finally be here.....it occurred to me just how LONG this walk was and despite how few people were around...some areas were pretty crowded already!

Passengers waiting to board the Avianca flight, blocking the walkway.

The start of the new expansion was clearly delineated with balloons and an actual line! I noticed that there was a large area, from about B29 to B33 with NO travelator/moving walkway!

Approaching the start of the new expansion!

The line clearly denoting where the old T4-B ends and the expansion of T4-B begins!

When I got to the entrance to the new SkyClub I found Gail Grimmet (Senior VP, Global New York at Delta Air Lines) there with two other gentlemen. I quickly congratulated her and playfully asked if she had gotten any sleep this past week. She graciously laughed and said "A little." I'm sure she didn't remember me but we had actually met about a year ago when I helped arrange for a group of Delta frequent fliers from FlyTalk to meet up in NYC for the first Delta expansion at LGA. As we parted I said "You all have really made a great improvement given all the constraints!" which elicited what appeared to be a sincere "Thank you"

Taking the escalator up to the SkyClub, it was clear that it would be a huge improvement over the previous T3 SkyClubs!

The agent who checked me actually recognized me from previous trips through JFK and mentioned that she hadn't seen me in a while. I told her that I normally try to avoid flying through NYC but had come specifically for the opening. This seemed to make her happy and she did warn me that it was starting to get hectic. She encouraged me to take a good look around and help myself to some postcards and cookies.

Cookies and postcards!

The SkyClub is BIG and smartly broken up into several different sections featuring different types of seating. I didn't take too many photos as the place was starting to fill with people and there are plenty of photos and videos on-line covering the new SkyClub.

One of several seating sections.

The dining and bar seating area.

More of the dining and bar seating area.

Just two food islands for the entire lounge? Behind the islands is the passageway to the SkyDeck and behind the windows is yet another seatings area, one with chairs and ottomans for lounging.

View of the lounging area from the passage way leading to the SkyDeck.

View of the SkyDeck from inside the lounge.

Here is video recorded by a blogger about the same time I was there...

Throughout my time there, the club seemed to be mainly filled with PR types including Delta reps, organizers, reporters, camera people, etc etc... The percentage of actual passengers was about 25%

One new feature is the ability to buy real food in addition to the normal complimentary snacks. The little computer screens were dark so I started poking one to see if it would turn on. A gentlemen walking by stopped and explained that they would be on from 10 am to 10 pm. The user picks up a table tracker, orders, pays with credit card, and then sits in the lounge. A server would then bring the order directly to where you are sitting! As an engineer what I liked about the design of the table tracker is that it had metal "knobs" that stick out on top and corresponding indents on the bottom. Thus when the trackers are stacked they are actually CHARGING! It is a clever design!

Don't get too excited..."Grab a bite..." is Delta speak for SPEND $$$. You didn't think the good food and premium drinks were included with the price of admission to the SkyClub!

Food options...

Drink options...

Several of these stations were scattered around the lounge.

Finally one was turned on. To use them you first pick a "table tracker" off of a stack and then make and pay for your $election.

I found a spot to sit down and setup my phone and laptop to charge while I got some coffee and food. All of which was standard Delta SkyClub fare. One HUGE pet peeve is that they had separate boxes of cheap hot chocolate powder mix next to the exact same coffee machines they have at the DTW SkyClubs which make hot chocolate in addition to coffee. To go off on a little tangent.... it will never be fair to compare Delta to EK, CX, SQ, etc....different companies with different circumstances. BUT if Delta can offer a decent hot chocolate in ONE club is it too much to expect to be able to get it in ANOTHER club?

Standard Delta SkyClub breakfast fare...

Hope you like carbs!

Standard SkyClub coffee dispenser, notice the box of hot chocolate mix packets on the side.

While I was getting coffee I noticed them setting up an area with lots of lights and chairs, like something in a TV studio. Sure enough there were whispers that the "Richards were coming...."

Mini-TV studio setup. The lights were super bright!

The lonely and empty T3 as seen from the T4 SkyClub.

A short time later there was a commotion and Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, and Richard Branson, Chariman of the Virgin Group, where giving a TV interview. It was interesting to watch because at one point they were getting questions from "back in the studio." We couldn't hear the questions but they could through their ear pieces. There was definitely a change in their demeanor/expression at one point as they appeared to be asked something they didn't like.

The two Richards...

Probably what it looked like to people watching on TV.

What it looked like to people in the SkyClub!

While this was still going on I finally had a chance to visit the SkyDeck without all the reporters and Delta reps in the way! It was overcast and a little cold so I couldn't fully enjoy it, but it is an awesome feature and something actually innovative for a domestic U.S. airline lounge! It had been raining early that morning and the tables were still a little wet, but amazingly the furniture was for the most part already almost dry. All of it apparently is designed to be rained on as it all had clearly been left out during the storm.

Typical of an attempt to visit the SkyDeck...reporters, cameramen, and photographers and the always present Delta reps to watch over them and keep us riff raff from interfering with their important task of giving Delta free PR!

A rare empty moment that I used to take a panoramic shot right from the entrance to the SkyDeck from the SkyClub.

Another panoramic shot, now taken from the far corner of the SkyDeck looking back at the deck entrance.

When I tried to leave, the passage way was blocked by the two Richards in a photo session. I was essentially trapped and unable to return to the club so decided to take some pictures of my own. It was a fascinating process to watch as there was a small army of Delta and Virgin reps directing them through the photo shoot, adjusting clothing and body position and lighting etc....

Two Richards as the center of attention (and yes I am waiting for Ryanair to make a certain joke in the replies). The woman in the center with the red lanyard is the one who later gave me the "How DARE you look...."

The dashing Richard try to make the stuffy Richard more relaxed....

Almost every shot involved some kind of adjustment....

More fake cheese than served in a Delta SkyClub!

Richard Anderson again repeated his joke about how we was the dull Richard and Branson was the dashing Richard and then proceeded to stand even stiffer! The two of them then mentioned the interview and Branson said something about the question that was asked and Anderson said he was mad it was even asked. Branson also made a gesture with his fingers like he was going cut Anderson's tie with a scissors.

At one point one of the main PR people shot me a quick look like "How DARE you stand there and look a them!" I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes as I was thinking "Really?! I'm the one blocked in...what am I supposed to do, jump the glass walls of the SkyDeck and climb down?!"

Unzoomed photo to show I was actually keeping a good distance away and short of going back onto the cold SkyDeck I was as far from the Richards as possible. That didn't keep the two of the PR people from conspicuously switching sides to put themselves between the Richards and the big bad scary SkyClub member!

They finally finished and walked past me to enter the SkyDeck without acknowledging my presence.

Back drop used for PR shots.

Also used for PR shots as most of the morning the Virgin model was firmly in the hands of Virgin PR people as they waited for dashing Richard to show up.

I then headed out to see the actual expansion and perhaps get a bite at the Shake Shack that everyone was talking about. The expansion is a little wider than the original part of T4-B but the travelator/moving walkways were not any wider and were noticeably SLOWER. I hope this is something they can fix because at their current glacial speed they are all but useless.

Shake Shack...I never did get to try it out!

As I was walking around more and more people started heading to the end of the expansion. At one point I even saw Frank Guzman from the Delta YouTube videos walk by....I never realized from the videos but he can't be more than 5 feet tall! Maybe they picked him to make the terminal look bigger in the videos! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evhQUDhDS2Y

When I got near the end someone behind me said hello and mentioned my FlyerTalk tag. He told me his FlyerTalk user name and it was one I instantly recognized as he is pretty active on FlyerTalk. He had a press badge and was there to cover the events for work. Before getting to gate B41 I saw they actually had it guarded by police with serious guns and even a dog! It was press only beyond that point. The big question going through my mind was:

"Wait! Why is this necessary, didn't we ALL go through TSA screening?!"

Of course the answer is that the police know that TSA is only for show and the security theatre that we all go through as the traveling public is not good enough for the important people and events...

I tried to be discrete but still managed to get a picture of some of the police and the dog!

Even Univision (Spanish language channel) was there!

Refugees from T3! Glad they were able to make the transition!

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the agent from CVG, who had checked me in, holding a pair of shoes of women's shoes. I said hello again and couldn't help but stare at the shoes and he just shrugged and smiled. From a distance a little while later I saw one of the PR/corporate types in a blue dress walk up to him and take the shoes. It made me just a little mad because he is just a normal DL customer service rep who probably agreed to come up and work to earn some extra money after Delta gutted his station and here he was being asked to hold some woman's shoes?! Maybe it is my own cultural prospective since we consider shoes dirty and normally take them off when entering someone's house or when praying...but asking a regular employee, who isn't a paid assistant/dresser/PR type, to hold your dirty smelly shoes in public just seems wrong... I am curious what other people think, please reply with your thoughts!

Not able to see anything from a distance I decided that now was a good time to actually walk the whole way distance of the B concourse and the visit the A concourse. I've often gone to T4 to drop off relatives flying on EK out of T4's A concourse and this is the first time I would be able to see it for myself!

Two Korean beauties! Ironically the Korean Air A380 (SkyTeam) went to T1 while the Asiana B777 (Star Alliance) came to T4!

Many of the new gates had these out as souvenirs to commemorate the big day!

As I headed down it again struck me how LONG the walk was and how narrow and slow the travelators/moving walkways were. It had also started to get a little crowded. I stopped near B23 where the bus station is located for going to T2 via the "JFK Jitney" or the "air side bus" as normal people call it.

The "JKF Jitney" connecting T2 and T4.

I chatted briefly with an agent standing there regarding the bus policy. In the past if you were in T2 they would NOT let you on the bus to travel to T4 unless you had a boarding pass for a flight leaving from T4. She confirmed that starting that day they have changed the policy, allowing anyone with a Delta boarding pass to ride the bus....er sorry I meant jitney. I asked specifically that if I flew to JFK on Delta from Upstate, NY on a regional jet that went to the RJ corral at the end of T2, that I would be able to take the bus over to T4 to use the SkyClub and take a shower before heading into the city. She confirmed that was the case. She also mentioned that they were planning to move the station to the otherside of T4 near B20 and that when T3 was torn down the bus ride to T2 would be quicker and easier. I asked when that would happen and she wouldn't commit to a date but said in a few months.

I nice feature of the normal terminal, a long bench, stools, and plenty of outlets!

The center part of T4, which used to be landside.

The part of the center that is now under the security checkpoint has an artistic wavy ceiling!

The Oasis lounge, now airside! I noticed it still listed Delta so I went in and asked and was told that they allow Delta SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers on international flights but normal SkyClub members were no longer welcome.

T4's A concourse seemed wider than the B concourse, but that could have been due to the lack of stores and shops. At the end the EK A380 was finally pushing back. It was about 1 pm which seemed late since the flight was listed on the departure screens as an 11:20 am flight to DXB.

Just one of MANY EK A380's.

View of the T4-B expansion from the end of T4-A. Note the circled part....

Yep...that is the SkyDeck...how awesome is the 10x optical zoom on my Sony point and shoot!

Their were quite a few agents in EK uniforms at the podium discussing the flight and they noticeably lowered their voices when they saw me in the area. Before heading back to the B concourse I went up to where the lounges are located and had to smile at the statue outside of the Air India lounge. Through the glass door of the EK lounge the desk agent noticed me so I walked away before taking a photo of the entrances.

The statue really made me smile!

The EK lounge entrance next to the AI lounge entrance. There was some good smelling food coming from one of these lounges!
Topic Author
Posts: 748
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 12:43 pm

J F K T4 - R e t u r n i n g to the S k y C l u b

On the LONG walk back to the SkyClub I noticed lots of people leaving so I assumed the big event was over. Up at the SkyClub it seemed to be filled with more passengers now and fewer corporate types. I then followed the signs to the showers and asked the dedicated attendant to use one. She handed me a towel with soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I asked for and received a dental kit (toothbrush and toothpaste) and she offered me mouthwash, deodorant (both of which I accepted), and a shaving kit. When I declined the shaving kit I joked "Do you think I need it?" and she laughed and said "No, my job is to offer it to everyone!" She walked me to shower room 2 (there are six in all). She warned me that the floor could get slippery after showering and to put my towel in the wooden hamper outside the door when I was done.

SkyClub shower room #2

SkyClub shower room #2

SkyClub shower room #2

SkyClub shower room #2

SkyClub shower room #2

After undressing I picked up the towel to hang it on a hook near the shower and noticed the tag held on with plastic fasteners! I got dressed again and went outside to ask for a new towel. The same attendant, who was now surrounded by a group of other lounge workers apologized and said "It is clean I'll remove the tag." and then proceeded to grab the tag and pull it off while I was still holding the towel and then looked at me expectantly like it was all taken care of. I was kind of in shock and stuttered "What about the plastic?!" While I was still holding the towel she proceeded to turn the end over and used her nails to pull out the plastic bits left from the tag fasteners. When I asked if I could have a clean towel she said "It is clean! Brand new! Just out of the plastic!" I'm sure I looked surprised and annoyed when I said "But when you buy towels from the store you still wash them before you use them!" She just shrugged and said "That is what we have!"

Despite a great hard product...the soft product (quite literally in this case) shows why Delta will never be in the same league as EK, SQ, etc...

So back into the shower room I went with the towel and started the shower. The shower stall design and hardware are excellent and I give Delta credit for using shower heads with a long hose that you can take off the holder and use/direct by hand. What I was disappointed by was that the water never got above lukewarm, in fact I started to shiver after a little while. I gave up as soon as I got the shampoo out of my hair and proceeded to towel off which left me covered in LINT. There was even fine towel lint on the mirrors! Clearly the towel had never been washed and I wonder what else was on the towel from factory where it had been made before they sealed it in plastic. I put it in the hamper and left to get some coffee to warm up and decided to hang out on the SkyDeck before leaving for my flight home.

As seen from the SkyDeck....a special AA aircraft arrives.

Soon after another AA aircraft in new livery!

While I was there I had a chat with another Delta frequent flier, on his way to SFO. who was wearing a Boeing 787 cap. It was nice to talk to another aviation enthusiast. After a little while a few people came out who where holding camera's including the fellow FlyerTalk member I had met before. They were getting into position to take photos of the Delta 747 leaving for NRT which was going to get a water salute! I stayed to take my own photos and one of them even climbed up the glass wall a little and joked about security getting upset. I noticed on his bag a tag for an aviation blog that I actually read on a regular basis.

The 747 finally was pushed out and started up and then the fire trucks started their canons...but as you can see from the photo one of them was having a hard time. It was in fact one of the saddest canon salutes I've ever seen. It was like New York City's special way of saying "Congrats....BUT it isn't like this an entirely NEW terminal or anything...so......"

A water solute (well more like a wave) for Delta's JFK-NRT flight...

I then said hi to the FlyerTalk guy who is also a blogger and he handed me his card....it will be interesting to see what he writes and to compare his experience as a member of the press to mine as a normal passenger.

When I headed out I stopped at the desk to grab another cookie and asked a desk attendant for the gate info for my flight to DTW and if the flight was overbooked. She typed away and then said that it was oversold by 9 and leaving from "C63...which is downstairs." I corrected her explaining it was in T2 and they had renumbered all the gates there to now be "C" gates to compliment the "A" and "B" gates that are in T4. She apologized and said she had worked in T3 since back when it, and she, were part of Pan Am. We then reminisced about Pan Am and I told her that when I was a very little kid my family would fly them to South Asia. I asked her how she felt about T3 and she said she will always have fond memories of it, but that times had changed and it had to go.

J F K T2

At the bus gate I had an experience that really summed up Delta at NYC. As I took the escalator down I got my passport and boarding pass out. At the bottom of the escalator I walked up to the woman standing at the front of the carpet leading to the door while another woman was further back at the door holding her coffee cup. The first woman was talking to another Delta person so I stood there waiting. The coffee cup woman back at the door itself looked at me and made a gesture to walk to the door while yelling out "The bus is outside to the right..." Followed by the people behind me, I started walking towards her still holding my passport open with the boarding pass assuming she would check. The first women finally stopped her conversation and started screeching "I haven't checked boarding passes!"

Coffee cup then proceeded to yell at me that I hadn't had my boarding pass checked. I said sorry and turned around to go back to the first woman when coffee cup then added, for no good reason..."Didn't you see her standing there?" I stammered out..."But you TOLD me to come over!" to which she replied "I wasn't looking at you." I then stopped turned around back to her and said in a flat tone..."You were looking directly at me." Turning around again to boarding pass checker I noted there were now about 15 people who had come off the escalator standing in line to get their boarding passes checked.

I just sat down in a chair in the row of chairs against the wall to wait for the line to go down. At that point coffee cup came over and gave the NYC equivalent of an apology. She said in a softer tone that was still far from friendly..."Lets see, you have your boarding pass so you can go board the bus...it is the one on your right..." I got up silently and walked through the door. Now I can give her the benefit of the doubt and take her change in attitude as remorse for treating a customer badly....OR I can be cynical and attribute the change to her seeing the big PLATINUM Medallion tag on my backpack which would have been clearly visible only when I turned around and walked to the chairs.... But in either case flying through NYC means accepting that you are just "self loading cargo" to most airport workers.

The bus ride itself was uncomfortable with several stop and go lurches but did offer some great views of the tarmac.

Entering T2 was a quick reminder of just how much better T4 is in comparison. The place was just crowded! I did stop to take a quick photo of the closed off walkway to T3.

Old entrance to the walkway connecting T2 to T3.

T3 as seen from T2...

At the gate I asked the agent if they would need volunteers and she said they might but it was hard to tell with all the cancellations earlier in the day. She did write down my info and told me to wait to board to see if they would need me. For the next 40 minutes she had people constantly asking her about their stand-by prospects. As I was looking at the gate display I saw I was 4th in line for an upgrade with 1 first class seat unassigned and 2 seats assigned but unclaimed (meaning the passengers hadn't checked in). Standing next to me was a Pinnacle FA looking at the stand-by list. We chatted briefly and she asked me if I had seen T4. When I told her I am one of those crazy people who came just to see T4 she laughed and said that I was one of the passengers who knew more about Delta than the employees. She was way down on the stand-by list but wasn't worried as she, another FA, and her Captain and First Officer where done flying and going home to DTW and were positive space for the later flight but just hoping to get home sooner.

Another T3 refugee!

Boarding finally started and they cleared one person from the upgrade list to first class. After they got to Zone 3, I asked the agent if she would need my seat and she said no and thanked me for offering. On board I found my aisle seat in economy comfort and the plane did seem packed. At that point various people who were on stand-by started to board and there was confusion as there were people already in seats assigned to stand-by passengers. The gate agent had finally cleared the unclaimed first class seats as she came on-board and moved two people to first and two stand-by's got their seats.

Finally the four Pinnacle crew boarded and the captain took a seat in the last row of first class, just two rows ahead of me. At this point the gate agent got back on-board with more stand-by passengers and as she walked past I signaled her and said in a low tone "That pilot flying stand-by is sitting in first but I was the next on the upgrade list and there were at least 10 other people behind me on the upgrade list..." She walked up to first, looked at the Captain and then walked back to me and said "I'd know how that happened....what is your last name again?" She then walked off and right before closing the door she told the FA's to move the captain back to a seat in row 10 and move me up to first.

Delta Air Lines 95
Departure 3:55 pm
Arrival 6:13 pm

The flight itself was uneventful except for the extended wait while taxing causing the flight to arrive about 10 minutes late to DTW. It struck me as odd that an A319 with only three rows of first class had TWO FA's working the first class cabin. I ended up chatting with them in the galley and found out that they were both pre-merger NWA who were stationed at JFK pre-merger when NWA only had about 400 FA's stationed there. One of them had just gotten back from working a European trip and was heading home. They were both super nice and admitted to not having been to T4 in the recent past as their flights always had gone to T2 or T3.

Upon arriving in DTW it struck me how, despite all the hype and excitement for the expanded T4...it was still not nearly as nice as Delta's McNamara terminal at DTW!

What a proper international terminal should be!

Wide and fast travelator/moving walkway!

Water fountain feature with terminal tram in the background. If only JFK T4 had something like this!

I went to see first hand that the beloved stones in planters in the center of the A concourse had in fact been replaced with some kinda of artificial fake wood chip looking stuff. It made me very sad.... To cheer up I spent a good 15 minutes in the tunnel connecting A concourse to the B/C concourses and watched the tunnel light and sound show!

The planters USED to have small rocks with messages written on them....

This used to look like....

.....like this!

The best airport feature ANYWHERE...the DTW light and sound tunnel connecting the A and B/C concourses!

Looks like some maintenance is on order!

Confirmation that those panels are not flimsy thin plastic!

I was glad to see the B/C SkyClub has not gotten the "Jetsons" make-over but they did remove the work area in the center with dedicated cubes and instead used that area to expand the general seating area.

Nifty foot catch to open the bathroom door inside of a DTW SkyClub.

Delta Air Lines 6143*
*Operated by Chautauqua Airlines
Departure 9:32 pm
Arrival 10:45 pm

I headed to the gate early to try to procure a better seat assignment as all I could get the night before was one way in the back of the plane. The gate agent, an older larger man, offered me 13B, which is the aisle seat on the two side of the 1-2 seating arrangement of the ERJ. I asked if there were any A seats unless the 13C was also open as "The plane is small and I'm not!" to which he replied "Yes it is open, that is why I suggested it....we big guys need to look out for each other!"

After a long day this really cracked me up! The flight back was short as I slept through most of it...but I did take a few photos as we went over the Great Lakes with a beautiful bright full moon to accompany us to ROC!

The one negative of DTW...the stupid dots on the windows!

Of course it is possible to focus past the window...but the dots are still there!

A beautiful full moon to accompany us home....

Delta's expanded operations from T4 are LONG LONG overdue and the end of T3 is bitter sweet. When it was created it was iconic...but it belonged to another time when America was a very different place. The honest truth is the T4 is not SIN, HKG, MUC, etc...heck it isn't even as nice as Delta's facilities at DTW. However it is all relative, compared to the product it offered before, operations spread across T2, T3, and T4....the expanded T4 gives Delta a much stronger hand to play that in the hyper competitive NYC market!

If you have stuck through this whole long trip report you have my gratitude! I hope it was informative and a little bit entertaining. I ask forgiveness for any typos or misspellings! I'd love to get comments and would be happy to answer questions.

In closing I would like to dedicate this trip report to my young friend M. D'Orio who loves airports even more than I do!

[Edited 2013-05-26 05:57:53]
Posts: 599
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 1999 8:21 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 1:02 pm

Excellent report and photos. Thanks for posting!!!
Posts: 2150
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 1:45 pm

Thanks for sharing, Burj.

Good report! I haven't been through T4 in quite sometime, but very cool that Delta opened an extensive new section of the terminal for them. I used to fly Delta a ton from T3 so many fond memories of trips started/ended there.

The SkyClub on the roof looks really neat; I'm really amazed however at some of the prices of the Sky Bites? Wow. Some of those dishes are expensive, and after all you're in the lounge!!

Matthew (767747)
I love to fly!
Topic Author
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 2:03 pm

Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):
I'm really amazed however at some of the prices of the Sky Bites? Wow. Some of those dishes are expensive, and after all you're in the lounge!!

I know *I* wouldn't pay those prices...but it is NYC so I'm sure there are plenty of people who will pay, as long as the quality matches the prices... I'm still bummed I didn't have a chance to try the Shake Shack....
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:49 pm

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 4:04 pm

Thank you very much for the report on the new Delta's T-4 Expansion.

The new Sky Club seems to be the main highlight, but the gates seem to be quite spread out, and lots of walking will be involved.

Thanks for sharing again!

Posts: 1092
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:59 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 4:15 pm

Great report! Thanks for that wonderful tour of T4. Indeed a great improvement over T3 and a lot better for the international competitiveness. I wonder if DL's Skyteam friends like KLM will also use the Sky Club or just stay in the Oasis Lounge.
Topic Author
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RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Sun May 26, 2013 5:40 pm

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 7):
I wonder if DL's Skyteam friends like KLM will also use the Sky Club or just stay in the Oasis Lounge.

On the sign outside of the Oasis lounge they still list KLM and a lot of other SkyTeam members. Basically for any airline using the A concourse gates of T4 the Oasis lounge is really convenient and the Delta SkyClub is FAR FAR away....

And of course for any flights operating out of the B concourse, the Delta SkyClub is really convenient and the Oasis lounge is FAR FAR away!
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:03 pm

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Mon May 27, 2013 3:26 am

Thank you very much for the nostalgic tour through T4. Last time I was there, CO had just started their 735 service to IAH. That LONGGGGGGGGGGGGG walk, was one thing I didnt look forward to.

Posts: 245
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:47 pm

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Mon May 27, 2013 4:25 pm

One question about the Sky Deck. Is the roof "open air"? Or, does it have a shelter to shield from the rain?
Topic Author
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RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Mon May 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Quoting Fshplns (Reply 9):
Thank you very much for the nostalgic tour through T4

You are welcome! Glad it was helpful!

Quoting SkyTeamTriStar (Reply 10):
One question about the Sky Deck. Is the roof "open air"? Or, does it have a shelter to shield from the rain?

If you look at the panoramic photos I have in the report..... At the very far end there is a little area with an overhang/roof above the tall white table. However since it is at the far end you can't reach it without being exposed to the sky.

The rest of the SkyDeck is open to the air BUT there are those stylish red canvas triangle pieces that would provide some shade but wouldn't help with snow/rain....
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:49 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Mon May 27, 2013 11:55 pm

Excellent trip report! Very detailed and engaging.

T4 at JFK is pretty descent, it's certainly a big step forward over the old T3. The terminal DL uses at DTW is even better indeed! Although the dots on the glass can be a nuisance when trying to take photos.

Thanks for sharing.
Posts: 245
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RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Tue May 28, 2013 10:43 am

Quoting Burj (Reply 11):

Thanks for clarifying !!
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 am

Hi Burj

Great report about the expansion of JFK T4! Looks like a huge improvement above Delta's old/current facilities in T3 (well, is there worser??). Sky club looks top notch as well.

Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
Topic Author
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RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Thu May 30, 2013 2:19 pm

Quoting b787900 (Reply 12):
Excellent trip report! Very detailed and engaging.
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 14):
Great report about the expansion of JFK T4!

Thanks! I appreciate people taking the time to comment!

Quoting SkyTeamTriStar (Reply 13):
Thanks for clarifying !!

No problem! Thanks for reading and asking.
Posts: 2500
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:24 pm

Hello Burj,

It’s indeed a LONG report! Nevertheless, it’s SO entertaining! Love it, especially the booking and pre-flight segments!

Quoting Burj (Thread starter):
When it was my turn I opted out of the nude-o-scope and had my freedom grope which wasn't as bad as at other places..

Nude-o-scope? Freedom grope? I don’t mind either of them!  

Quoting Burj (Thread starter):
She said that their computers were having problems and then made a general announcement to the whole concourse giving the gates for all the different morning Delta flights.

How many Delta flights were there? It must have been tough to fulfill the announcing task!

Quoting Burj (Thread starter):
The FA's were two young Asians, a male named "Yogi" and a female named "Charm." I had to wonder if those were their real names!

Yogi Charm… somehow I like the name combination.

Quoting Burj (Thread starter):
except for the older gentleman sitting directly in front of me in 1-D who spent the while trip preaching about the Confederacy and Christianity to the guy next to him in 1-C

And completely ignoring the call of nature! 

Quoting Burj (Reply 1):
View of the SkyDeck from inside the lounge.

Very nice! An open tarmac view!

Quoting Burj (Reply 1):
Don't get too excited..."Grab a bite..." is Delta speak for SPEND $$$. You didn't think the good food and premium drinks were included with the price of admission to the SkyClub!

So, what’s the point of lounge visit if you can’t get free food or drinks?  

Quoting Burj (Reply 1):
Probably what it looked like to people watching on TV.

I still prefer him in AirAsia outfit.   

Quoting Burj (Reply 1):
but asking a regular employee, who isn't a paid assistant/dresser/PR type, to hold your dirty smelly shoes in public just seems wrong...


Quoting Burj (Reply 2):
Another T3 refugee!


Thank you sharing and wishing you all the bests,
Friends forever
Topic Author
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: DL ROC->LGA->***JFK T4 Expansion***->DTW->ROC

Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:54 am

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
Nevertheless, it’s SO entertaining! Love it, especially the booking and pre-flight segments!

Hi! Glad you liked it!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
Nude-o-scope? Freedom grope? I don’t mind either of them!  

Um...if I ate as healthy as you do and worked out as much as you do...I wouldn't mind them either....

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
How many Delta flights were there? It must have been tough to fulfill the announcing task!

Fortunately ROC is a small to medium sized airport so only about four flights that morning...to the LGA, JFK, ATL, and DTW...

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
So, what’s the point of lounge visit if you can’t get free food or drinks?  

Well there is some free food and drinks, but the real food and premium drinks require $$$

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