June 12, 2018
GLA to JFK, JFK to BTV
Today I am flying from Glasgow, Scotland, UK to Burlington, Vermont, USA with a stop at New York’s JFK airport. I ended up with a long layover in NY. Almost long enough to consider just driving home. OH, we should talk about security at JFK. It was a disaster. When you fly from outside the US and through the US you have to collect your bag, recheck it, and go through security again. Each airport is set up a little differently – but the concept is the same. It’s worth planning some extra time in between flights for this reason, but at JFK I would plan on more than usual. The lines were a disaster. Rather than just get in a single line, you would get in a line, and then they would stop you, open up another line and let those people go, then stop them, let a third line go, on and on. There were people that entered a line a half hour after me that were going through security before me. Disorganized and a mess. On the scale of bad and inefficient airport security, this one is my winner of all time. And that includes standing in line for 2 hours in San Diego once. At least there it was one line where it didn’t seem like you were constantly being pushed to the back of it.
So, after my frustrations going through security, I thought I would try out an airline lounge. I have the Delta credit card, which means that I can get into the lounge for $29. I pretty much hate spending money if there is an option that I don’t have to spend money. I definitely asked myself, “is it really going to be worth $29?”. It was a long walk towards the end of Terminal B to get to the lounge itself, and it’s up an escalator so the entrance is a little unassuming and I walked by it once before realizing where it was. After heading up the escalator I asked the ladies at the front desk what was included in the lounge. I was trying to figure out whether or not it would be worth $29. They informed me that there are two buffets – a hot and cold buffet, as well as an open bar. The open bar could be fun but I had a slight headache that I was sure would end up with me taking an ibuprofen before the adventure was done which pretty much nixes the idea of having a fun little happy hour in the lounge. I thought about the food though. I was hungry. I needed to eat, airport food is expensive and I didn’t feel like dealing with masses of people. I was also going to be there long enough that I would inevitably need to buy food twice, or be smart about what I am ordering to save some for later. At this point I was leaning towards it, until she said “There is an outdoor terrace as well.” I’m sorry – what?! An outdoor terrace? After an entire day of being stuck in an airplane, some fresh air sounded great. “And it is smoke free”. Oh my gosh. Music to my ears. She asks to see my boarding pass. I hand it to her and she informs me that my flight will actually be taking off from Terminal C and they have a lounge there if I’d prefer to go there. This was fair and reasonable of her to ask and offer. The key here is though, apparently the lounge at Terminal C doesn’t have an outdoor terrace. Sold. $29 for about 5 hours in the Delta Lounge at Terminal B at JFK.
The ladies direct me, to the right is the lounge, left is bathrooms and showers. I head to the right towards the lounge area. I had always imagined places like these to be full of business travelers and I thought that myself in a sleeveless shirt and blue jeans would look out of place. I didn’t, there were college kids in sweatshirts and business travelers alike. I’m a bit hungry so the first place I go is to the buffet. They have chicken, some pesto pasta, rice, ratatouille, broccoli cheddar soup, as well as a few other things on the hot buffet. It’s not a great selection, but basic enough and good enough that most everyone should be able to find something to enjoy. I have a peanut and tree nut allergy and was able to find someone pretty easily to go find out whether or not the pesto had pine nuts in it or not. That was a win. For the cold buffet they had primarily salad, apples, and bananas.
I grab some rice, soup, and chicken and my way out to the outdoor terrace. There is a reasonable amount of seating. Full disclosure – the guy that is seemingly posing for this picture – I’ve never met him before in my life. So, I would like to thank the random dude for being in my picture and on this blog. Thanks random dude.
I was able to get a seat in the sunshine and enjoy a little Vitamin D. It was quite nice.
There was a bartender that came through the terrace area taking drink orders. The food had helped my headache a bit so I asked for a glass of chardonnay. She was efficient and I had a glass of chardonnay in a matter of minutes. When I was done she came back through and cleared my glass and asked if she could get me anything else.
After finishing my food, I went inside, curious to see what kind of seating there was. While there was a fair amount of tables and chairs set up near the buffet for eating, there were many comfy chairs facing the windows. There were charging stations attached to nearly everything.
I decided to try to take a little nap in this little cubby area. They had probably 20 of these set up. Two next to each other, and facing two more. The back and sides were high enough for some privacy, it also had a little desk table that swiveled to put your drink or book on.
I debated taking a shower just to check out the shower facilities but decided not to. I did find out that they are first come first serve, so if you want to shower it’s a good idea to put your name down early on.
I did use the toilet facilities. These were also very nice. The bathroom stall itself had doors that went all the way to the bottom. They didn’t have an indication on the front of the door whether they were occupied which I found odd. The sink area was separated so it felt like you had your own private vanity. A very nice touch was having hand lotion available.
I managed to sleep for a little bit, and then got up and had some more food. I went back on the terrace to get a bit more fresh air. Before leaving I made a hot chocolate and had the bar tender add a shot of Bailey’s to it. I also snagged a banana, apple, and a few green tea bags to go. What can I say, I’m cheap?
Overall, the experience was definitely worth $29. I have been debating getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which comes with access to many different airline lounges. This experience might have put me over the edge on getting it so as to not have to pay the fee every time.