In an attempt to work out any kinks and predict future problems with their brand new Terminal 5, opening October 1, the corporate folks over at JetBlue decided to hold a test run on Saturday. They invited all their frequent fliers and staff members, promised a free BBQ lunch (read well done burgers and some dogs) and a duffel bag, and somehow bamboozled over a thousand people into spending their Saturday waiting around in an airport lobby. Of course, team Eater was there wasting the afternoon with the best of them in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the terminal's much talked about 12 sit down restaurants. Our reactions, and more construction porn than you can handle, ahead.
1) No surprises here: so far the place looks just like a regular old airport terminal. Besides the food portion, there's nothing really extraordinary going on in terms of design. Let's just say it's no TWA terminal 5.
2) The main five restaurants that make up "Restaurant Row" are all kind of pushed together to the left side of the main lobby once you pass through security. Aero Nuova and 5ive Steak are to the immediate left, split apart by a wave of a structure that will house the tapas bar Piquillo. The brasserie La Vie and sushi bar Deep Blue are across from them, with a seating area, dubbed "al fresco dining," in the middle.
3) None of the restaurants look even close to being ready. They are all in early plywood stages with nary a tile nor a piece of paneling for the anxious trial guest to gaze upon. According to the OTG reps (the restaurants' management group), all of the restaurants are being constructed offsite and the pieces will all come together a week or two before the opening.
4) Besides restaurant row, each wing of the terminal will have its own sit down restaurants including Loft, a steakhouse, a Mexican restaurant Revolucion, and plenty of bars.
5) The thing that impressed us most: the concept of food terminals with touch screens at the gate. Each group of four gates will have a counter of about a dozen interactive screens where you can order anything from a full dinner to a beer and it will be delivered straight to you. You swipe your credit card next to the screen and you're done. Boom.
6) The future of the old TWA terminal 5 is still up in the air. A JetBlue rep told us it could be used for a transit museum, shops, a members' area, or a spot for more refreshments. They've submitted proposals to the Port Authority and and awaiting a response.
· The JetBlue Food Court Renderings Unleashed [~E~]