ArchGuy1
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JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:02 pm

What exactly was the experience of flying in and out of JFK Airport in New York City like in the 1960's and 1970's because I know that it is horrible today based on secondhand accounts.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:36 pm

It was pretty horrible then, too. Traffic was less, but the road access still crowded. Terminals were new but nearly obsolete after opening. Just about all US-bound flights landed there, so it was busy. Fragmentation has actually helped by ending the days of landing at JFK, clear in, then connect to ATL, DEN, DAL, etc.

GF
 
 
jfk777
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:10 pm

The 1990's was a rejuvination period for JFK with terminal 1 and the new Terminal 4 replacing the IAB. AA's new T8 replaced the old T8 and UA T9.
 
jfk777
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:12 pm

The 1980's was the "nothing got done decade", PA & TWA were in dire financial straits as was EA so nothing got replaced or spruced up. Thing got so bad at the IAB four foreign airlines built Terminal One to their specs, LH, AF, JAL and KAL, it opened in 1998.
 
triple3driver
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:15 pm

ArchGuy1 wrote:
What exactly was the experience of flying in and out of JFK Airport in New York City like in the 1960's and 1970's because I know that it is horrible today based on secondhand accounts.

It's not necessarily horrible, depends on the Terminal. 7 is really the only one that I would call terrible, 1 and 2 are fine, 4 and 8 are decent, and 5 is pretty good, and I would call it the best out of the 3 NYC airports. Now I can't necessarily speak for the 70s, but in the 80s, the airport was worse than it is now, and much more crowded, whereas in the 90s and 2000s, it got much better to where it is now
If you can walk away from it intact, it was a good landing!
 
Ionosphere
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:20 pm

I only recently realized how small the original Terminal 1 was. It's amazing L-1011s flew out of that terminal. I'm surprised it wasn't torn down sooner.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:23 pm

Just curious as to when 'JFK' replaced the 'Idlewild' moniker ?
 
ArchGuy1
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:25 pm

JannEejit wrote:
Just curious as to when 'JFK' replaced the 'Idlewild' moniker ?

Not long after JFK was assassinated.
 
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jaybird
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:06 pm

To me - it was WONDERFUL! As soon as I turned 12 in the 60s - my folks let me fly to JFK for the day (thank you TWA for the $12 Saturday fare). There was the TWA terminal .. the shack that National/TransCaribbean/TransCanada (and someone else) were in .. the American terminal .. the United terminal .. the Eastern/Mohawk terminal .. the Northwest/Northeast/Braniff building .. the Pan Am building .. and the IAB .. and they were NOT connected. I walked around from building to building (they were not connected) .. took great shots of the ramp from the road .. picked up lots of timetables and brochures .. had cheesecake for lunch at the Eastern terminal .. was a great time. Shows you how things have changed 'cuz now - you would not let a 12yo spend the day at JFK alone. Thanks mom & dad!
 
ArchGuy1
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:50 pm

jaybird wrote:
To me - it was WONDERFUL! As soon as I turned 12 in the 60s - my folks let me fly to JFK for the day (thank you TWA for the $12 Saturday fare). There was the TWA terminal .. the shack that National/TransCaribbean/TransCanada (and someone else) were in .. the American terminal .. the United terminal .. the Eastern/Mohawk terminal .. the Northwest/Northeast/Braniff building .. the Pan Am building .. and the IAB .. and they were NOT connected. I walked around from building to building (they were not connected) .. took great shots of the ramp from the road .. picked up lots of timetables and brochures .. had cheesecake for lunch at the Eastern terminal .. was a great time. Shows you how things have changed 'cuz now - you would not let a 12yo spend the day at JFK alone. Thanks mom & dad!

Did you visit New York City as well.
 
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SCFlyer
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:23 am

jfk777 wrote:
The 1990's was a rejuvination period for JFK with terminal 1 and the new Terminal 4 replacing the IAB. AA's new T8 replaced the old T8 and UA T9.


AA's current T8 wasn't completed until 2007ish. The old T8 and T9 were both AA's terminals entirely by the end of the 90s.

UA and NW moved out of T9 in 1991. UA to T7 and NW to the old T4/IAB.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:27 am

jfk777 wrote:
The 1990's was a rejuvination period for JFK with terminal 1 and the new Terminal 4 replacing the IAB. AA's new T8 replaced the old T8 and UA T9.


Except that T8 opened in stages starting around 2007 and T4 replaced the IAB around 2002-2003.
 
727LOVER
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:48 am

ArchGuy1 wrote:
JannEejit wrote:
Just curious as to when 'JFK' replaced the 'Idlewild' moniker ?

Not long after JFK was assassinated.


December 24, 1963
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:54 am

triple3driver wrote:
ArchGuy1 wrote:
What exactly was the experience of flying in and out of JFK Airport in New York City like in the 1960's and 1970's because I know that it is horrible today based on secondhand accounts.

It's not necessarily horrible, depends on the Terminal. 7 is really the only one that I would call terrible, 1 and 2 are fine, 4 and 8 are decent, and 5 is pretty good, and I would call it the best out of the 3 NYC airports. Now I can't necessarily speak for the 70s, but in the 80s, the airport was worse than it is now, and much more crowded, whereas in the 90s and 2000s, it got much better to where it is now



Perfect summation.

JFK was in a period of decline from the 70s-early 90s as NYC was in a period of decline.

Everything felt as if its best days were behind it.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:57 am

SCFlyer wrote:
jfk777 wrote:
The 1990's was a rejuvination period for JFK with terminal 1 and the new Terminal 4 replacing the IAB. AA's new T8 replaced the old T8 and UA T9.


AA's current T8 wasn't completed until 2007ish. The old T8 and T9 were both AA's terminals entirely by the end of the 90s.

UA and NW moved out of T9 in 1991. UA to T7 and NW to the old T4/IAB.


UA split its operation at JFK between T7 and T6 (the old IM Pei former Sundrome, TWA Domestic Terminal, and which eventually became the original JetBlue Terminal before being demolished). UA operated JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO from T6 until 2004, when it launched PS and reconsolidated at T7. By then, UA had dropped much of its network from JFK (EZE and GRU moved to IAD, NRT was dropped, HKG ended after just 2 months), and there was more space at T7 again for a consolidated UA operation there. UA also switched from 767-200s to 757s for the PS operation.
 
cokepopper
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:18 am

You literally took your life in your hands driving on the Belt parkway and prayed the whole time you wouldn’t break down.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:41 am

Depended on the time of day.

Prior to DL/B6's domestic buildup in the early '00s, you could essentially go bowling on JFK's runways in the morning, with little to worry about.

At sunrise, you had a handful of South American, east Asian, and California arrivals + Concorde arrival/departures... and that was about it, until maybe 11ish am.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
anymaninfc
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:55 am

JannEejit wrote:
Just curious as to when 'JFK' replaced the 'Idlewild' moniker ?


Name change was official on Dec. 24, 1963.
 
CairnterriAIR
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:58 am

It has always been chaotic getting in and out of the place, though back in the mid 70’s it was a little more classy passenger-wise. People were still dressing up to fly, and in the Summer if you had relatives arriving from Europe it was a big event and outing. At least my family would short term park and enjoy the rooftop observation of the tarmac and try to pick out arriving relatives’ planes. For a kid like me, seeing those 707’s, 747’s, and the occasional Concorde, it was great. Seeing relatives off was even more fun, as back then you could see them off at the gate. Seeing my brother board a massive Pan Am 747 in 1978 really was a thrill for my then 8 year old self. Other things seen there back then, flight insurance desks, those little sit down desks with TV sets mounted where for a quarter you could watch local tv for 30 minutes, religious groups trying to push their faiths’ ideas on you...usually via pamphlets or paper magazine, and of course phone booths. And all while the place was still crazy and busy, there was a more controlled and classy feel to it. By the mid 80’s things were becoming more as you see today.
 
muralir
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:03 am

I transited through JFK to international flights in 1985 (as a kid), and 2001. I've also flown into NY via JFK numerous times. I think JFK is okay if your final destination is NY, but it's absolutely awful as a transit airport, and that didn't change the last time I went through. The main problem is that none of the terminals are connected, which means not only do you have to go through security again, you usually have to go outside and either wait for a shuttle or try to hoof it while dodging traffic and crowds on the narrow sidewalks. Heck, the last time I transited, in 2001, due to construction, I think I had to drag my bags through a fence as I walked down some shady sidewalk, following detour signs hoping I ended up at the right terminal. Multiple all that misery during the wintertime...

Until probably the 1990s, it didn't matter though. NYC was the primary transit point for most passengers going to Europe (including lots of Asia / Africa pax transiting through LHR and other European hubs), plus, every foreign airline would start with a flight to JFK. Even places like ORD and LAX had European and some Asian service, but very few international flag carriers. So basically you had no choice but to deal with JFK for a lot of international travel.

I'd say JFK has gotten better simply because it no longer serves as much transit traffic. Due to capacity constraints and fragmentation, transit traffic has transitioned to other big airports, and JFK is increasingly an O/D airport serving the huge NYC demand. As an O/D airport, it's not so bad.

Note, I don't necessarily fault JFK for this. Due to historical quirks, JFK's terminals are owned and operated by the airlines, which really doesn't lend itself to having a unified terminal layout. And there's really not much room for expansion, so there's no point in trying to make it a transit megahub again, when it can barely handle the O/D traffic it has right now. So as a premier O/D airport (with declining transit traffic), the layout is probably not much of a hindrance and probably not worth a massive, expensive reconfiguration.
 
MR27122
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:26 am

70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, 10's....no matter the decade, the point of terminus for JFK was always & shall apparently alway be, the fricken' BELT PARKWAY!!!
 
TARTRESED
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:34 am

By the late 1970s, it was no longer a friendly place for picture taking. But, at times one could see a great variety of aircraft that will remain In memory forever.
 
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william
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:32 am

Who or why was the roadway system designed so you cannot drive to the adjacent terminal? Try taking a shuttle to JFK that has to visit all the terminals and you will quickly have the same question.
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:51 am

The only time JFK is a pain is when you are connecting and require a change of terminals. Otherwise the smaller terminals make walks shorter, ignoring some of the epic ones in T4 for regional flights.

T8 opened earlier than some have noted. I first flew through there in mid 2006, connecting through the satellite and the apron between the main building and satellite was used by US Helicopter.
https://youtu.be/V-3fkl0kHDw

william wrote:
Who or why was the roadway system designed so you cannot drive to the adjacent terminal? Try taking a shuttle to JFK that has to visit all the terminals and you will quickly have the same question.


It used to be a big loop that went in and out on the Van Wyck but in part because of the JFK Expressway being built the roads got all messed up.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:56 am

I was amazed when I was on my first intercontinental flight to LHR in June 1976, and there must have been 30 747's lined up on the taxiways at rush hour waiting to take off.
 
NiMar
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:30 pm

Yeah, I foggily remember flying to Europe in the early 80's (I was like 6) and recall the pilot saying we were like 40 or 50 in line to take off. Crazy.
 
NiMar
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:37 pm

fbgdavidson wrote:
The only time JFK is a pain is when you are connecting and require a change of terminals. Otherwise the smaller terminals make walks shorter, ignoring some of the epic ones in T4 for regional flights.

T8 opened earlier than some have noted. I first flew through there in mid 2006, connecting through the satellite and the apron between the main building and satellite was used by US Helicopter.
https://youtu.be/V-3fkl0kHDw

william wrote:
Who or why was the roadway system designed so you cannot drive to the adjacent terminal? Try taking a shuttle to JFK that has to visit all the terminals and you will quickly have the same question.


It used to be a big loop that went in and out on the Van Wyck but in part because of the JFK Expressway being built the roads got all messed up.


I've played around on Google Maps trying to improve JFK and/or try to match the Cuomo plan and a clear improvement would be to reroute the JFK expressway to merge with a widened Van Wyck near where the CONRAC is/will be (just before Federal Circle). It would really make the rats nest of roads inside the Terminal area much simpler. Here's the map. If the view works there is a toggle between my ideas and Cuomo's (based on the few generally available images) :Google Map of my JFK ideas
 
1ffb2002
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:04 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
triple3driver wrote:
ArchGuy1 wrote:
What exactly was the experience of flying in and out of JFK Airport in New York City like in the 1960's and 1970's because I know that it is horrible today based on secondhand accounts.

It's not necessarily horrible, depends on the Terminal. 7 is really the only one that I would call terrible, 1 and 2 are fine, 4 and 8 are decent, and 5 is pretty good, and I would call it the best out of the 3 NYC airports. Now I can't necessarily speak for the 70s, but in the 80s, the airport was worse than it is now, and much more crowded, whereas in the 90s and 2000s, it got much better to where it is now



Perfect summation.

JFK was in a period of decline from the 70s-early 90s as NYC was in a period of decline.

Everything felt as if its best days were behind it.


Actually, TWA in the early 1980's purchased Terminal 6 from Pan American after the National merger. They invested significantly air side to build a fill-in building between the circular boarding areas and adding 4 narrow body gates. The addition more than doubled the air side floor area. The existing circular air side boarding areas had two or three wide body gates, so the terminal had plenty of capacity and was primarily for domestic departures and some European flights. This allowed TWA to build a significant feeder flights from most major U S domestic cities either non-stop or one-stop to connect with the international North Atlantic operation, which also was significantly expanded by adding flights to Scandinavian cities and many overlays to the primary European destinations as London, Paris, Rome, and Madrid during the peak season. It was quite an operation in the late 1980's. TWA also added flights out of JFK to SJU, HNL (1-stop over STL) and the Bahamas. TWA was not financially troubled in the 1985 to 89 era. The airline was quite profitable and was the largest carrier across the North Atlantic. In fact, during the Summer months, TWA flew more RPA's than the largest airline at the time, United. However, TWA was a very seasonal airline and traffic was always light across the system during the off peak winter months across the Atlantic.
 
global2
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:16 pm

My earliest memory of JFK is 1971, pulling up under the giant oval canopy of the Pan Am Worldport. From the perspective of a small child, it was a wondrous place; when I see clips of the terminal in some old movies ("Come Fly With Me" or that scene in a James Bond film where he arrives there) you get a sense of the glamour and excitement--it really felt that way. The place was bustling, I was fascinated by the Solari boards click-clacking away all the flight announcements. We got to wait in a swanky lounge with my Dad's colleagues prior to boarding. Upon our return to New York eight months later, we flew on Pan Am on my first 747 flight from LHR. We arrived at the IAB. I can recall the soaring arch of the arrivals hall, and seeing the Tri-Faith chapels across the lagoon, and the big fountain. In the distance was the giant, colorful stained glass facade of the American Airlines terminal. Compared to some of the other airports I had seen by then in different parts of the world, JFK still felt modern and special. The open, spread out design was very different from the compact all-in-one terminals I had been through elsewhere.

A few years later, 1977, we flew on JAL. I remember the small, individual check-in offices at the IAB, and waiting upstairs in a windowless waiting area. That wasn't very exciting.

In 1980, we flew on Eastern to the Caribbean. The main check in counter in EA's terminal was very large, I've read as large as the main concourse at Grand Central. But the fluorescent lighting seemed dated, and the concourses out to the planes I believe were just painted over cinder block, and having to climb a narrow staircase to the jetway. We had to fly back on BWIA standby because Eastern left us in a lurch when Hurricane David approached. We came into T7, late at night and had plenty of time to hang out and explore the nearly empty terminal while we waited for our ride to show up. I thought T7's geometric architecture was elegant and modern.

1983, I flew on NW to Tokyo. Their terminal was very crowded, and by now felt quite dated.

After that, it started to become obvious that the whole Terminal City complex was obsolete and not aging well. We all know how things have played out since, and huge investments have been made to modernize JFK. Unfortunately we lost some notable architectural gems. I recommend a visit to the TWA Hotel to try and relive some of that glamour that air travel used to encompass.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:26 am

To chime in on resources, https://historicaerials.com/viewer is a wonderful tool for seeing the change over time in places.

Sorry that there's no direct link to any page; you'll need to type in JFK, and it takes you to a map of that airport. Click on aerials, and choose a year. In the list, the earliest satellite image is from 1954. Pretty amazing to see how it has changed and disappeared and reappeared later on!
 
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millionsofmiles
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:24 am

When i was a kid, my parents had an already well-worn copy of an amazing guidebook called, “NY At Your Fingertips.” It was a very thick book with no pictures but amazing descriptions of places; buildings; hotels; etc. from the early 60s.

There was an entire section describing each of the terminals at JFK Airport. I was already an av geek at that point, and I would read and re-read how the authors waxed poetic about each of the terminals, which were still at the time considered monuments to the airlines which sponsored their construction.

A couple of things stand out in my memory...

Despite paragraphs and paragraphs which described and praised the TWA terminal; the stained glass at the AA terminal; the saucer of the Pan Am terminal, the book was less than complimentary about the Eastern terminal, and especially, the Northwest/Northeast/Braniff terminal. (Delta didn’t move over to this terminal until the Northeast merger.)

After all these years, I remember that the book said that nobody knew why the ticketing lobby of the Eastern terminal was so big, and about the Northwest/Northeast/Braniff terminal, all the authors could muster was a terse, “Straightforwardly functional terminal.”

Frankly, both terminals reflected the austere nature of their management. The Northwest terminal reflected the stern, penurious, stoic nature of Donald Nyrop, and the Eastern terminal reflected the sternness of Eddie Rickenbacker, who felt that jetbridges were an unnecessary luxury.

I sure wish I could find that book.
 
cedarjet
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:40 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Terminals were new but nearly obsolete after opening. Just about all US-bound flights landed there, so it was busy.

To be clear, all international arrivals were at the International Arrivals Building (IAB), not the individual terminals
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timz
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:04 pm

Eventually PA and TW international arrivals started using their own terminals -- dunno when. Late 1960s?
 
richierich
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:58 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:
jfk777 wrote:
The 1990's was a rejuvination period for JFK with terminal 1 and the new Terminal 4 replacing the IAB. AA's new T8 replaced the old T8 and UA T9.


Except that T8 opened in stages starting around 2007 and T4 replaced the IAB around 2002-2003.


Correct, which meant that the IAB was a real sh!t show around the turn of the millennia. As in, avoid at all costs.
One thing I didn't see mentioned was the AirTrain. This eliminated the horrible rental car and long term parking buses, so transiting around the airport and connecting to two different subway lines has been vastly improved in the 15+ years the AirTrain has been in operation, even if the elusive one-seat ride to Manhattan can not be done by rails.

Also, is anybody going to mention the worst terminal of them all? No, it is not T2 or T7, not even close! Tower Air operated their flights out of a hangar somewhere near the entrance to JFK Airport when coming down the Van Wyck. It was not pretty! That terminal mercifully closed and became a hangar once more the day Tower ceased in 2000.

In this respect, after all of the billions of dollars thrown at the airport since the 1970s, JFK is a much more sorted and connected airport than it used to be. Yes, it is far more crowded and congested, but it is also far more efficient and most of the current terminals are effective if not quite good. None may ooze the character of the old Pan Am terminal or TWA Saarinen building, but I don't think anybody will suggest that T4 is worse than the old IAB or T1 worse than the old Eastern mess.
None shall pass!!!!
 
bluemeatball
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:43 pm

I flew out of IDL/JFK several times beginning with Jan 1961 on a BOAC 707 to LHR ( admittedly only 5 at the time so memories are few); Arrived on PA 114 in the summer of 1963; cleared customs thru the IAB and connected with an old "school bus" to the American terminal to catch a NY Airways Vertol 107 for a heli ride to EWR. Deparrted PA terminal in July 1966 (this was during the big air strike which made a CRW-ATL-SJU flight into a CRW-PIT-EWR (two night stay) JFk-STT-SJU) on a 727-21. Departed PA terminal July 1967, flight 90 I believe to BRU. This connection involved riding 3 Carey buses to get from EWR to JFK. Arrived from AMS on KL DC-8-63 in June of 68. Arrived from CPH on PA in July of 1969; Departed Dec 1977 on KL 747-206B from JFK- AMS and return on Jan 78. All of the arrivals required clearing customs in the IAB. Never seemed to remeber any difficulties. In Jan of 78, used a taxi to get from the IAB to the Eastern terminal to make a close connection.
 
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airporthistory
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:12 am

I just launched Part 4 of my history of Idlewild/JFK, focussing on the design of the first three airline terminals -those of UA, EA and AA- that were opened in 1959-1960: https://www.airporthistory.org/kennedy-4.html

You can read read about the International Arrivals Building (opened 1957) here: https://www.airporthistory.org/kennedy-3.html

There's lot of images. It should give you a good feel for what it was like!
 
nycbjr
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:02 pm

airporthistory wrote:
I just launched Part 4 of my history of Idlewild/JFK, focussing on the design of the first three airline terminals -those of UA, EA and AA- that were opened in 1959-1960: https://www.airporthistory.org/kennedy-4.html

You can read read about the International Arrivals Building (opened 1957) here: https://www.airporthistory.org/kennedy-3.html

There's lot of images. It should give you a good feel for what it was like!


Wow! Great work!
 
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PA110
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:25 pm

I remember JFK in the 60s as a child going back and forth to Holland out of the IAB on KLM. It was generally a windowless experience, with the exception of the waiting lounge on the second level which looked landside. There were no jet bridges back then and all pax were escorted from the departure lounge down the dark hallways to an exit door and then across the tarmac to the aircraft. During peak departure times, planes seemed to be parked completely randomly leading to several pax boarding the wrong aircraft. (this was far more common than anyone cared to admit back then).

Little did I know then that I would be working at the IAB in the 80s. We now had jet bridges which managed to be integrated into the terminal fairly seamlessly - unlike Eastern's Terminal 1 which was a complete clusterf***. Because of Terminal 1's design, the jetbridges were not level with the terminal building. The departures level of the terminal was too low. A set of stairs connected the departure area with the jetbridge out to the aircraft. It was murder on skycaps with Miami-bound wheelchair passengers.
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
 
LAXffDUB
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:12 pm

william wrote:
Who or why was the roadway system designed so you cannot drive to the adjacent terminal? Try taking a shuttle to JFK that has to visit all the terminals and you will quickly have the same question.


The original roadway layout was a continuous loop which took drivers past each of the terminals. It allowed them to access each one in succession on the right as needed. There were no parking structures, only surface lots which were accessed from the left side of the roadway. That layout necessitated crosswalks and traffic lights which bogged down the traffic flow. It was redesigned as part of the T4 build so as to allow each terminal direct access and exit via the main airport roadway while also allowing returns to other terminals. Dedicated parking structures were built at that time with footbridges connecting them to their respective terminal.

In addition, there used to be a continuous sidewalk connecting all the terminals; it was possible to walk to any particular one. That was ripped out as part of the current roadway configuration (again, to eliminate crosswalks and traffic lights). This was also done as part of the planning for construction of the AirTrain which was to be the preferred way of connecting the terminals by foot while also linking the airport to the LIRR and NYC Subway system.

It's unfortunate the Airtrain didn't get routed airside of the terminals. My understanding is that logistics and related expenses ruled it out. The only airside connection I'm aware of is DL running its jitney between T2 and T4. Pretty much everyone else connecting to a different terminal has to exit, get on the AirTrain and get rescreened for their next flight (ie: going between T4 and T8).
 
timz
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:58 pm

airporthistory wrote:
You can read read about the International Arrivals Building (opened 1957) here: https://www.airporthistory.org/kennedy-3.html

Can you reverse that backwards pic of IAB curbside -- that late-afternoon color pic by Dmitri Kessel?
 
bob75013
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:34 pm

ArchGuy1 wrote:
What exactly was the experience of flying in and out of JFK Airport in New York City like in the 1960's and 1970's because I know that it is horrible today based on secondhand accounts.



To a 9 year old flying KLM from Idlewyld to Amsterdam in 1959 it was a pretty exciting place.
 
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airporthistory
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:24 pm

timz wrote:
airporthistory wrote:
You can read read about the International Arrivals Building (opened 1957) here: https://www.airporthistory.org/kennedy-3.html

Can you reverse that backwards pic of IAB curbside -- that late-afternoon color pic by Dmitri Kessel?


Done! Thanks for pointing out that mistake. Much obliged!
 
dampfnudel
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:51 am

I flew almost every summer as a kid with my mom out of JFK to visit my grandmother and other relatives near Frankfurt. It was like night and day comparing the two airports, with JFK as night and FRA as day. The TWA terminal was okay, but the rest sucked. Basically, Kennedy mirrored the decline of the city it was located in. Some people will say it’s still bad, but anyone who used the airport 30-40 years ago will know it has significantly improved.
A313 332 343 B703 712 722 732 73G 738 739 741 742 744 752 762 76E 764 772 AT5 CR9 D10 DHH DHT F27 GRM L10 M83 TU5

AA AI CO CL DE DL EA HA KL LH N7 PA PQ SK RO TW UA YR
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:03 am

What a great job on your site!

Such detailed info.

While it has the wistfulness of nostalgia, all 3 of those terminals morphed into awful, crowded, dated terminals within a decade of opening.

The problem was they were built before the industry morphed the jet age modernity. The 70s and 80s: jumbo jets, crowds, and security just destroyed these relics.

Their state of the art design in 1959 proved unworkable in 1979.

Ironically, JFK stayed frozen in time until 1994 when T1 construction began
 
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ro1960
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:13 am

First flight to JFK from ORY (or CDG, not sure) on a PK 747 in 1988. Horrible endless immigration line. Screaming officers. No windows at the IAB. On the return flight we got beverage service during the 45-minute queue for take off in the late afternoon European rush.
You may like my airport photos:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aeroports
 
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lesfalls
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:49 am

jfklganyc wrote:
What a great job on your site!

Such detailed info.

While it has the wistfulness of nostalgia, all 3 of those terminals morphed into awful, crowded, dated terminals within a decade of opening.

The problem was they were built before the industry morphed the jet age modernity. The 70s and 80s: jumbo jets, crowds, and security just destroyed these relics.

Their state of the art design in 1959 proved unworkable in 1979.

Ironically, JFK stayed frozen in time until 1994 when T1 construction began

Was the construction of T1 delayed to the bureaucracy of the NYC Unions and the PA? Just bringing it up as any infrastructure project in the U.S costs much more than any infrastructure project in other western countries nowadays.
Lufthansa: Einfach ein bisschen mehr.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:07 pm

T1 was not delayed.

Conditions at the international building became so bad, that 4 airlines got together and formed TOGA, which built T1

The international building and the central terminal at LaGuardia are testaments to just how mismanaged, corrupt and incompetent the Port Authority is.

Those two terminals were the only terminals run directly by the port authority at the New York city airports.

They were the two worst terminals
 
COEWR787
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:03 pm

My first memory of JFK is departing from JFK to LHR on a BOAC Super VC-10 back in 1966.

My second memory is arriving into JFK on a Sabena 707 in 1977. As I recall the IAB was nothing to write home about but not that horrible either, except for the US Immigration Officers, even back then. :)
 
KlimaBXsst
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Re: JFK Airport in the 1960's and 1970's

Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:20 pm

KlimaBXsst wrote:
Amazing original design that seemed to leave the architects engineering the practicalities of work place form and function of society rather than root functionalities of an airport.

Aesthetically, “architecturally” the original CDG was amazing, but one has to remember an airport is not a fixed monument to be gawked at even though attractiveness is important.

This is something we really need to remind UKer’s about Heathrow.


This applies to Americans’s and the awful JFK too.
Aesthetically the A 340 got it right!

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