American Airlines has cut the ribbon on its first new Flagship Lounge at New York JFK; faster TSA lanes have opened at JFK’s Terminals 2 and 4; Chicago Midway gets a bunch of new food and beverage outlets and stores; Philadelphia International moves ahead with a big improvements project; more details on the new hotel coming to Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Charlotte unveils a long-term development program including an on-site hotel.
American has opened the first of several new premium airport lounges at its New York JFK Terminal 8. The newly renovated and enlarged Flagship Lounge is now available not just to first class flyers but also to business class passengers on international and transcontinental flights. (But first class travelers do have exclusive access to the new sit-down dining experience at the lounge’s new Flagship First Dining facility.) The Flagship Lounge offers quiet rooms, individual work pods, showers, a hot and cold food buffet, and made-to-order dining entrees. There’s also a “make your own cocktail” station. Later this year, American will open renovated Flagship Lounges at Los Angeles, Chicago O’Hare and Miami; and in 2018 at Dallas/Ft. Worth, Philadelphia and London Heathrow.
Elsewhere at JFK, Delta’s Terminals 2 and 4 are now equipped with those new “smart lanes” at TSA security checkpoints. Offering automated conveyor belts, larger bins, and the ability for more travelers to load up bins for the x-rays simultaneously, the new lanes are estimated to speed up the lines by 30 percent.
Three new restaurants have opened in Terminal B at Philadelphia International, with more improvements on the way. They include an Italian restaurant, a French pastry café and a German beer garden, and all feature iPads for ordering – a trend that is spreading quickly at major airport food outlets. (Passengers seem to love or hate iPads in equal measure.) They are among a total of eight new restaurants coming to the facility, all iPad-equipped, as part of a $33 million terminal redesign. That’s just a piece of a larger $900 million airport improvement project at PHL that will include substantial enhancements to basic infrastructure like elevators and escalators, along with plans by American to build a new front entrance to replace the Terminal B and C ticketing areas.
Chicago’s Midway Airport is bringing on 21 new food and beverage outlets and retail stores, the airport announced this month – all part of an ongoing $75 million improvements program. The project will increase the number of full-service sit-down restaurants at MDW from one to three, and will add other dining options ranging from a sushi outlet to a burriteria to a Dunkin Donuts. New retail stores at the airport include Tech on the Go and Sweet Indulgences. Other outlets will feature well-known Chicago brands like the Home Run Inn and Go Go White Sox.
An airport hotel with its own TSA security checkpoint? That’s one of the innovations coming for the hotel under construction at Minneapolis-St. Paul International, due to open in the summer of 2018. InterContinental Hotels Group said this month that its new InterContinental Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport will be linked to Concourse C of the airport’s Lindbergh Terminal via a climate-controlled skybridge. The 12-story, 291-room hotel will also offer two restaurants, an upper-floor “observation bar,” an InterContinental Club Lounge, business and fitness centers, and a spa. Companies will be able to schedule same-day, fly-in, fly-out meetings, since the hotel will have 20,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 10,800-square foot ballroom.
New on-site airport hotels are also coming at San Francisco, Atlanta and New York JFK, and now one has been announced for Charlotte Douglas International in North Carolina. Airport officials said this week they plan to build a full-service hotel on the site of the airport’s existing control tower, which the FAA will replace with a new structure in 2020. The tower is just north of CLT’s new hourly parking deck adjacent to the terminal. In a presentation to the Charlotte city council, airport officials said their new long-term development plan also calls for construction of an automated people-mover that would run from the hourly parking deck through the hotel to Wilkinson Boulevard, where to would link up with a new light rail line planned by the Charlotte Area Transit System.
In the market for a new credit card? See our “Credit Card Deals” tab to shop around! It helps us help you.