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By Joe Brancatelli

Thanks to the concentration of financial and cultural affairs and the sheer volume of passengers in the New York Metropolitan area, New York is now the most important and most combative aviation markets in the world. Four airlines, Delta, American, Continental and JetBlue, are all fighting to be king of the hill. One of the combatants, Delta Air Lines, is now making important changes at its two major New York airports.

At LaGuardia, where it controls Terminal D, Delta has announced a huge upgrade of its dining facilities. Delta has hired the same company that created the food options at JetBlue Airways’ much-praised Kennedy Airport Terminal 5 to convert the terminal’s current mishmash of fast-food options. Starting later this month, a year-long project will bring in several full-service restaurants with name-brand chefs, at least two new designer pizza joints, a wine bar and an upscale grab-and-go food court.

Over at Kennedy, the airline and the airport operator have announced plans for Delta to vacate Terminal 3. You know Terminal 3: It’s the old, dark, ugly, round, outdated building that used to be called the Pan Am Worldport. According to the new plan approved earlier this month, Delta will move its international flights to a $1.2 billion expansion of Terminal 4. Terminal 3 will be demolished and Delta will continue to run its domestic flights out of Terminal 2. The renovation is due to begin later this month and take at least two years.

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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

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