Inside the Worst Airport in the World, JFK’s Terminal 3

  • Last week, Frommer’s picked the 10 worst airports in the world. The Observer grabbed our bags and booked it for the worst, JFK’s Terminal 3. In this week’s paper, we take a look at why New York has not one but three of the worst terminals on the planet, one each at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.

    For those who have never had the joy of flying into or out of Terminal 3—an experience that will not last long, since the place is set to be demolished in 2014—The Observer has just the ticket you weren’t looking for.

    mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

  • Delta's Terminal 3, arguably an architectural gem from the Jet Age, is set to be demolished in two years. On the outside, thinks do not look so bad.

  • Inside is a different story. Frommers recently rated this the worst airport in the world.

  • Checking in is no fun, especially at the congested AirTrain entrance, where there is only one security gate.

  • The soaring flying saucer roof is a sight to behold.

  • Yet note the effluent-catching "diapers" hanging down everywhere like moldy jungle vines.

  • Dining by the diapers.

  • There are more diapers here than in a maternity ward.

  • The terminal still has a few nice touches, like the flying-saucer light fixtures, though the light they cast is far from perfect

  • Then there are things like this walkway to nowhere.

  • Which is the real terminal? Delta promises a brighter future with banners and posters plastered everywhere of the new Terminal 4 it has planned.

  • More renderings, inside one of the gates.

  • The Neverending Concourse, built in 1971 to accommodate new, bigger jetliners. It winds round and round and round with no way through but to turn back.

  • The concourse, known as the Worldport when it opened, used to be confusing. It has only grown moreso thanks to the TSA. At least the new floor, installed by Delta in 2006, recalls the flying saucer.

  • A TSA smurf hard at work.

  • Go Gints!

  • One of the few modern amenities: iPads at certain restaurants.

  • The ceilings may be low and the roof leaks, but at least they keep things clean.

  • Now boarding... thank God.

  • Satre was right. They won't even let the pigeons out.

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