Airberlin Is Vacating American’s Terminal At JFK

Filed Under: Airberlin

In terms of the passenger experience, JFK is one of my least favorite airports in the country. A majority of the terminals aren’t connected airside, which makes connections between terminals complicated and time consuming, as you have to leave security, take the AirTrain, and then reclear security.

The good news for oneworld lately has been that airlines were for a while consolidating operations at Terminal 8. Earlier this year Cathay Pacific moved from Terminal 7 to Terminal 8, meaning that passengers connecting to/from American wouldn’t need to change terminals. In addition to that, airberlin, Finnair, LATAM, and Qatar Airways depart from Terminal 8 as well.

Given the size of British Airways’ operations at JFK, they depart from Terminal 7, as there’s no room for them to co-locate in Terminal 8.

Well, airberlin looks like they’re swapping terminals at JFK. As of September 12, 2017, airberlin will operate out of JFK Terminal 7 rather than JFK Terminal 8. This means that airberlin will be moving from American’s overcrowded terminal to British Airways’ terminal, which likely has a bit more space (even though the terminal is about to undergo a renovation, and Alaska and Virgin America are moving in as well).

While airberlin is part of oneworld, they’re not one of American’s closer partners. Airberlin is excluded from the oneworld transatlantic joint venture (which includes American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia), and American has even discontinued their codeshare agreement with airberlin. So at this point the only thing that the airlines have in common is that they’re both in oneworld, and I tend to think that the big three alliances are slowly dying anyway.

Obviously this means that connections to and from American will become more complicated. If you’re connecting from a domestic American flight to airberlin, this means you’ll have to change terminals and reclear security, while if you’re connecting from airberlin to American you’ll have to change terminals (you had to clear security before as well).

In terms of lounges, presently airberlin business class passengers, oneworld Sapphire members, and oneworld Emerald members, get access to the American Flagship Lounge, which is a solid lounge.

Meanwhile in the new terminal, airberlin business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members will get access to the British Airways business class lounge.

Meanwhile oneworld Emerald members will get access to the first class section of that lounge (which is different than the Concorde Room); this still isn’t a nice lounge.

So this is an all around cut for those flying airberlin out of JFK, in my opinion.

What do you make of airberlin’s terminal move at JFK?

(Tip of the hat to Svenblogt)

  1. Lucky, if I’m connecting from an AA-metal domestic flight to AB’s business-class to Europe, could I access the T8 flagship lounge before I change terminals?

  2. JFK is great when flying Delta or JetBlue, terrible with everything else. T4 and T5 are two of the nicest terminals in the country.

  3. I spent the night at JFK for an experiment a few months ago and landed at 8pm and departed the next morning at 8am.

    I wondered around the entire night between the terminals, to be honest it was really interesting seeing the airport like that at night.

    I know…I’m odd.

  4. I fly this route often. The T8 security line is often overflowing, and Airberlin isn’t signed up for TSA Pre. Perhaps both of those will improve after the move.

  5. This move was announced internally back in April.

    AA continues its anti-AB stance and builds on the cancellation of codeshare flights between the carriers.

  6. This reminds me of something regarding the Flagship Lounge at JFK. When it first opened, I had asked if it was for outbound passengers only, or whether connecting arriving passengers could use it. Initially Lucky said no. However, I can confirm that when I flew LAX-JFK in Business, and then had a connection JFK-DCA in First, I was granted access to not only the Flagship Lounge, but also the Flagship Bridge Dining (with the orange cards) for my 3 hr layover. I have no status with AA or oneworld. And yes, because of people like me probably, the Flagship Lounge was crowded.

  7. Why doesn’t BA just add on to T8 instead of remodeling? From what I recall, T8 wasn’t fully built out according to original plans. At any rate, I don’t think it’s being used to capacity and a couple of additional gates to accommodate BA would probably suffice

    This gives AS/Virgin, airBerlin and others T7.

  8. Because you can be curb to gate in T7 in 5 minutes, which isn’t happening at T8

    And if IIRC BA owns T7 and thus has control there

  9. “JFK is great when flying Delta or JetBlue, terrible with everything else. T4 and T5 are two of the nicest terminals in the country.”

    Which is true but still speaks volumes about the deplorable quality of airports in the United States.

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