Things to do at JFK Airport


John F. Kennedy International Airport, known colloquially as JFK Airport, is the primary gateway for international travelers entering New York City.

A plane takes off from JFK Airport. Image credit: yenwen/iStock
A plane takes off from JFK Airport. Image credit: yenwen/iStock

With six active terminals, JFK International Airport supports more than 90 airlines ferrying passengers to all parts of the globe. If you anticipate a layover at JFK or if your flight is delayed, check out the many things to do at JFK Airport.

Airlines flying out of JFK Airport

Knowing what terminal you’re flying into or out of can save you a lot of time and ease your travel. Plan ahead by finding your airline on this list.

Terminal 1

  • Air China
  • Air France (also uses Terminals 2 and 4)
  • Air Italy
  • Austrian Airlines
  • AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Cayman Airways
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Japan Airlines (also uses Terminals 5 and 8)
  • Korean Air (also uses Terminals 2 and 4)
  • Lufthansa (also uses Terminal 7)
  • NetJets Aviation
  • Norwegian Air
  • Norwegian Air UK
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Tarom
  • Viva Aerobus

Terminal 2

  • Delta Airlines (also uses Terminals 1 and 4)
  • Westjet (also uses Terminal 4)

Terminal 4

  • Aeroflot (also uses Terminals 1 and 2)
  • Aerolineas Argentinas (also uses Terminals 1, 2 and 7)
  • Aeromexico (also uses Terminal 2)
  • Aeromexico Connect
  • Air Canada
  • Air Europa (also uses Terminal 2)
  • Air India
  • Air Serbia
  • Air Seychelles
  • Alitalia (also uses Terminals 1 and 2)
  • ANA All Nippon Airways (also uses Terminal 7)
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Avianca (also uses Terminal 1)
  • Avianca Brazil
  • Avianca Costa Rica
  • Avianca Peru
  • Caribbean Airlines
  • China Airlines (also uses Terminal 2)
  • China Eastern Airlines (also uses Terminals 1 and 2)
  • China Southern Airlines (also uses Terminals 2 and 8)
  • Condor
  • Copa Airlines (also uses Terminal 1)
  • Czech Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • El Al Israel Airlines (also uses Terminal 5 and 8)
  • Emirates (also uses Terminal 5)
  • Endeavor Air (also uses Terminal 2)
  • Etihad Airlines (also uses Terminal 5)
  • EVA Air (also uses Terminal 1)
  • Gol (also uses Terminal 2)
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Hong Kong Airlines
  • Kenya Airways (also uses Terminal 2)
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (also uses Terminals 1 and 2)
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Montenegro Airlines
  • Republic Airlines (also uses Terminals 2 and 8)
  • Singapore Airlines (also uses Terminals 1, 5 and 7)
  • SkyWest Airlines (also uses Terminal 2)
  • South African Airways (also uses Terminal 5)
  • SriLankan Airlines (also uses Terminal 7, arrivals only)
  • Sun Country
  • SWISS
  • TACA
  • Thai Airways International (also uses Terminals 1 and 7)
  • Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines (also uses Terminal 1 and 5)
  • Uzbekistan Airways (also uses Terminal 1)
  • Vietnam Airlines (also uses Terminal 2, departures only)
  • Virgin Atlantic (also uses Terminals 1 and 2)
  • Virgin Australia
  • Xiamen Airlines
  • XL Airways

Terminal 5

  • Azul
  • Cape Air
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways (also uses Terminal 4)
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc (also uses Terminal 1, departures only)
  • TAP Portugal

Terminal 7

  • Aer Lingus (also uses Terminal 5)
  • Air Belgium
  • British Airways (also uses Terminals 5 and 8)
  • Eurowings
  • Finnair (also uses Terminal 8)
  • Iberia (also uses Terminal 8)
  • Icelandair (also uses Terminal 5)
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines (also uses Terminals 1 and 8)
  • Qantas (also uses Terminal 8)
  • SunExpress Deutschland
  • Ukraine International Airlines
  • United Airlines (also uses Terminals 1, 4 and 5)

Terminal 8

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Alaska Airlines (also uses Terminal 7)
  • American Airlines (also uses Terminals 1 and 7)
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Envoy Air
  • Fiji Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • LATAM Airlines Argentina
  • LATAM Airlines Brasil (also uses Terminal 1)
  • LATAM Alrlines Ecuador
  • Piedmont Airlines
  • PSA Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian

JFK lounges – relaxation amid the hustle and bustle

Each of JFK’s terminals hosts airport lounges where you can freshen up and relax while waiting for your connection or handling an extended layover or delayed flight. Most are available to premium passengers in first or business class, and some offer day passes for a small fee.

Planes waiting in line at JFK Airport. Image credit: huseyintuncer/iStock
Planes waiting in line at JFK Airport. Image credit: huseyintuncer/iStock

Terminal 1 lounges

Air France lounge

At this newly renovated lounge, travelers dine on French cuisine at the gourmet buffet and casual brasserie, with Night Service available for those on overnight flights. The La Prairie Spa, inside the lounge, opened in 2019, with massages, facials and other beauty treatments which you can reserve upon your arrival at the lounge. Free Wi-Fi helps you stay connected, and showers are available when you need to freshen up. The Air France lounge, which is located near Gate 1, is also available to Priority Pass members when space is available.

KAL business-class lounge

This lounge is located near Gate 3 and offers a cold buffet and comfortable seating with views of the tarmac. Workstations are available with printers and copiers to help you get some work done, and showers are also available. Priority Pass members and Diners Club cardholders have access to this lounge during limited afternoon and early evening hours.

Lufthansa lounge

This lounge is divided into three separate sections for Lufthansa Senator flyers, business-class, and first-class travelers. The area you have access to depends on the type of ticket you hold, your frequent flyer status, and whether you’re traveling on Lufthansa or a Star Alliance partner airline. The business-class lounge, which fills up quickly, offers a hot and cold buffet, plus limited device-charging options. The first-class and Senator lounge offer access to Lufthansa’s Wining and Dining floor, where an à la carte menu offers fine dining options, and top-shelf liquor is poured at multiple stations.

Terminal 2

Delta Sky Club

The Delta Sky Club is the sole lounge in Terminal 2, which is a Delta hub. Delta premium passengers and American Express Platinum cardholders (though no guests/family members are admitted) flying on Delta have access to this lounge, which features a buffet plus a couple of shower rooms.

JFK Airport. Image credit: Nikada/iStock
JFK Airport. Image credit: Nikada/iStock

Terminal 4

Air India Maharaja lounge

This smaller lounge at Gate B features separate reading, TV, and dining areas. The buffet features hot and cold Indian specialties and snacks, plus a small selection of self-serve liquor. Air India premium passengers enjoy free access to the lounge.

Delta Sky Club

This Terminal 4 lounge offers more than Delta’s Terminal 2 lounge. Gain access if you’re a premium passenger on Delta or Virgin Australia, if you’re a Delta SkyTeam member, or if you’re an American Express Platinum cardholder. Day passes are available for a fee when space is available. Plenty of varied seating awaits you in this large lounge, with a quiet zone that features high-walled chairs for privacy and a business center with plenty of workstations. Hot and cold food is available on the buffet, and an outdoor terrace lets you eat outside and enjoy a breath of fresh air.

El Al King David Lounge

If you’re an elite passenger on El Al Israel Airlines or a member of the King David Club, you can access this club and invite one guest to join you. Hot and cold food is available, as are showers for your refreshment. Stop in at the spa for a body treatment, or relax in a massage chair to release your muscle tension. This lounge also offers a full business center with meeting space and business equipment.

Emirates Lounge

First-class, business-class, and elite departing passengers on Emirates have access to this lounge near Gate 4, while economy Emirates passengers can pay to enter. Stylish seating is surrounded by fresh flowers and natural light, and a dedicated jetway lets premium passengers board directly from the lounge. A business center provides computers and printers, while first-class dining, cooked on-site, and a halal hot and cold buffet are also available. The lounge also features shower rooms and prayer rooms.

Etihad Premium Lounge

First-class passengers have access to private rooms for relaxing at this lounge, and everyone else can enjoy its stunning design. Guests can take advantage of a TV room, shower suites, prayer rooms, and a dining area, although you can order food to be served anywhere in the lounge from a superb à la carte menu.

SWISS Business Class Lounge

Business-class and first-class passengers, frequent flyers, and elite Star Alliance flyers have access to this small lounge, which offers traditional seating plus reclining loungers. A single shower is on-site, and while the hot food offered isn’t extensive, it’s typically quite tasty.

Virgin Clubhouse

Virgin Upper-Class flyers, Virgin Club Gold members, and some Singapore Airlines and Delta ticketholders can use this lounge, which features shower suites and a pool table. Every visitor is offered a 15-minute spa treatment for free, with other wellness and beauty treatments available at a reasonable cost. Among the dining options is a delightful afternoon tea.

Wingtips Lounge

This lounge in Concourse A is open to Wingtips and Priority Pass members, and any traveler can buy a day pass to it. Hot food is available at breakfast and dinner, with a cold buffet offered the rest of the day. Portable power chargers are made available to charge your devices.

Terminal 5

USO Lounge

Military families can rest and relax at this lounge, which offers a children’s play area, a gaming center, charging stations, and help to get event tickets for your stay in New York. A business center is also available.

Terminal 7

British Airways Concorde Lounge

This lounge for British Airways first-class passengers and oneworld Emerald members offers pre-flight fine dining with wine pairings, and staff are happy to serve you anywhere in the lounge. A business suite provides computers and printers if you need to get some work done.

Terminal 8

American Airlines Flagship Lounge

This high-end lounge for first-class passengers makes sure you’re well cared for before your flight with several shower suites, a wide selection of comfortable seating, a quiet room, and private work pods. Dining is top-notch, even at the buffet, with self-serve liquor and Champagne and access to the à la carte dining at the Flagship Bridge.

American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge

Lifetime Admirals Club members, oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, and premium class passengers all have access to this club, and you can also buy day passes. Workstation pods provide privacy for those with work to do, and a children’s room is well-stocked with games, toys and video games. Enjoy a light meal or relax in the TV lounge while you wait for your flight. Located in the lounge is the Flagship Bridge, a first-class only mini lounge serving the same fine dining meals as in the Flagship Lounge.

Hotels near JFK Airport – your bed is waiting for you

TWA Hotel

This hotel at JFK Airport opened in May and sits inside the 1962 TWA Flight Center terminal, which ceased operations in 2001. The Eero Saarinen-designed terminal has been restored and two black-glass buildings have been added to accommodate 512 rooms, a rooftop infinity pool, and a 10,000-square-foot gym.

The hotel is within walking distance to Terminal 5 and has a meeting space capable of holding up to 1600 people, if needed.

The TWA Flight Center. Image credit: littleny/iStock
The TWA Flight Center. Image credit: littleny/iStock

Crowne Plaza JFK Airport

This full-service hotel is the closest one to the airport. Many rooms feature safes and refrigerators, and a 24/7 fitness center lets you work out all the sore muscles from your flight. An around-the-clock business center and nine meeting rooms make this an ideal spot to hold a business meeting.

Radisson Hotel JFK Airport

Each of the 385 rooms in this hotel offers free coffee and tea, and free Wi-Fi and a 24/7 business center help you stay productive. The concierge and tour desk can help you make any vacation arrangements you need.

JFK shopping – luxuries and practicalities

Throughout JFK International Airport, you can find shops with the luxury goods you need as gifts as well as eminently practical items to ease your journey. Take a look at some of the most helpful shops by terminal.

Terminal 1

Snacks and reading material for your flight await you at several Hudson News outlets. If you need to pick up a gift or to augment an outfit for your next business meeting in the city, check out the high-end boutiques from Coach, Hermes, Michael Kors, and Salvatore Ferragamo, or pick up a comfortable outfit from Juicy Couture.

Terminal 2

If you need some tech gadgets for your flight or journey, stop by Tech to stay connected, or check out the Best Buy vending machine for basic electronics. Grab-and-go meals for the plane as well as reading material are available at the half dozen Cibo Express Gourmet Markets scattered through the terminal.

Terminal 4

You can meet all your electronics needs at Bluwire, or stop at the AT&T shop to update your smartphone. Here in the international terminal, you have access to a wide range of high-end designers, including Brooks Brothers, Hugo Boss, Kate Spade, Longchamp, Michael Kors, and Swarovski, and you’ll find skin care items at Kiehl’s and MAC. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store is filled with intriguing gifts, books, and art pieces, and Dylan’s Candy Bar is a prime spot to pick up a true NYC special treat to take to loved ones at home.

Terminal 5

Fill out the missing items in your toiletries kit at the Benefit Cosmetics Zoom Shop, and stop by Blue Sky Traders for travel essentials. You’ll find electronics and travel gadgets at the Best Buy Zoom Shops or Bluwire, and reading material for your flight awaits you at CNBC News, WhereTraveler Books or Heritage Books.

Terminal 7

The Duty-Free Americas shop in Terminal 7 lets international travelers save on customs in their home countries when they buy luxury goods including alcohol, perfumes, tobacco and more. Electronics for your flight are available at Tech on the Go, SIMS to Go, and the SIM Card Kiosk.

Terminal 8

Pick up gadgets and electronics at Brookstone, or check off your electronics list at InMotion or the iStore. There’s also an International Shops Duty-Free in this terminal. If you’re looking for sunglasses, check out Porsche Design and the Solstice Sunglass Boutique.

Dining at JFK – from fine dining to grab-and-go

Every terminal in JFK offers plenty of options to let you dine before you fly or to pick up food to take on the airplane if you prefer. Take a look at some of the top choices in each terminal:

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 may not feature dazzling design, but you can still get a meal at these spots:

  • Martini Bar: This retro bar features plenty of seating plus TVs to watch while you sip on your martini.
  • JikJi Cafe: If you’re in a rush, this popular counter-serve spot will fill you up with Korean and Japanese dishes including bulgogi and udon noodle soup.

Terminal 2

Grab a drink and relax pre-flight at these welcoming spots:

  • BKLYN Beer Garden: This gastropub has more than 20 brews on tap, with creative bar bites including jalapeño-topped pretzels and chicken schnitzel sandwiches.
  • Croque Madame: Not surprisingly, this is a spot for French-inspired open-faced sandwiches and other café food, as imagined by celebrity chef Andrew Carmellini.

Terminal 4

Check out these quick-serve spots and restaurants in the International Terminal:

  • Five-Borough Food Hall: Think of it as a food truck festival where you can chow down on everything from tacos and shawarma to salads and noodle bowls — and don’t miss the full bar located in a 1966 VW bus.
  • Blue Smoke on the Road: If you’ve been to this Danny Meyer BBQ chain, you know what to order here: brisket sandwiches, black pepper sausages, or a great breakfast.
  • Shake Shack: You know what you’re getting at this outpost of the popular burger spot — concretes (frozen custard shakes), breakfast sandwiches, and more.

Terminal 5

You’ll find quite a few sit-down restaurants at this terminal, plus a major food court.

  • Piquillo: Spanish food is on the menu here (think paella), and it’s also a good spot for a nice glass of wine with some charcuterie.
  • JetBlue Food Hall: Head to Boar’s Head for excellent sandwich choices (you can grab-and-go for your flight), or mix and match your favorite pasta and sauce at Fresh Italian Pasta.
  • Brasserie La Vie: Enjoy French bistro food, including moules frites and salad Niçoise at this cheery brasserie that features a very nice wine list.
  • AeroNuova: If you’re a fan of Pasta Flyer in the city, you’ll enjoy this sit-down Italian spot with a menu created by the same chef.
  • Deep Blue Sushi: People arrive at JFK early just to enjoy some of this sushi — and there are grab-and-go options as well.

Terminal 7

Sink into a great cup of coffee here, as well as choosing from the following eateries:

  • Irving Farm: Wonderful espresso brewed from locally roasted beans pairs with pre-made sandwiches.
  • Le Grand Comptoir: Sit down at this wine bar to sip some wine and enjoy some charcuterie.

Terminal 8

Grab-and-go or sit down to enjoy a meal at any of these spots:

  • Brooklyn National Deli: Ideal if you can’t leave NYC without one more hot dog or pastrami sandwich.
  • Bobby Van’s Steakhouse: Sit down to enjoy fine steaks and a full bar.

JFK Airport is a busy place, so getting to your final destination in peace and comfort is something you have to plan for. Book a reliable Blacklane car service to begin or complete your travels in style and serenity.