Airports are always a stop, never the destination. Getting stuck in one — whether due to flight delays or cancellation — is an unfortunate, yet often inevitable, scenario in travel. Being stranded doesn't seem too bad if you happen to be passing through a shiny new airport in the Gulf or the famously efficient transport hubs in Asia, but your options are a lot less rosy if you're stuck in one of America's airports, which are universally panned as nearing the bottom of the international barrel. (And, given the worldwide negative attention United Airlines has received over the past few days, the public's unfavorable opinion on air travel in the U.S. doesn't seem to be easing up anytime soon.)
John F. Kennedy International Airport, the busiest international travel gateway in North America, is not exactly stellar in our book. Due to its outdated infrastructure and costly add-on services (W-Fi access will set you back $4.95 per hour), having to while away your day here is not ideal. But we're here to help you make the most of the situation. Here are six things you can do to avoid boredom the next time you're stuck on a major layover in Queens.
Make Terminal 1 Your Sanctuary
If you're in it for the long haul, it's best to get yourself situated at Terminal 1, where the biggest food court is located. The eateries here tend to stay open late, though they are mostly on the pre-security side. However, one thing you can do after getting screened is grab a drink, since there are three bars tucked between boarding gates: Martini Bar, Idlewild Wine Bar, and Medalist Bar.
Fuel Up At Terminal 4
Terminal 4 is where the food aficionados want to be. Grab a bite at Blue Smoke, Danny Meyer's American concept serving classic barbecue delights. Uptown Brasserie serves a mean blue cheese burger and catfish sandwich, which is best washed down with a glass of Aviation Gin, the restaurant's signature. This terminal is also where the airport's only Shake Shack can be found. Enough said.
Shop Around At Terminal 5
Shopping at this airport, as a whole, is nothing to write home about. However, the stores at Terminal 5 do have a few redeeming features. The best of the bunch is definitely MUJI To Go, the beloved Japanese lifestyle emporium where you can pick up minimalist toiletries, neck pillows, and various travel aids. You can also kill some time by browsing the newest nail polish colors at Essie's cutesy vending machine, or pick up some travel-sized products at Benefit's beauty kiosk.
Relax With A Spa Treatment
Get A Haircut
Longing for a trim? This might just be the golden opportunity to freshen up your look. Head to Be Relax Spa in Terminal 5 for a quick hairstyling session or a wax, using products by well-regarded brands such as Bumble and Bumble, Dermalogica, and OPI.
Unwind At A Lounge
If you're an economy class passenger and the airport fatigue is hitting you hard, forking over some dough for airline lounge access might be a wise choice. Nine of the lounges at JFK will let you in if you purchase a day pass, which will set you back anywhere from $40 to $59. You'll be able to shower, grab a bite, and flip through magazines without the nuisance of having to fight for a crappy gate seat. LoungeBuddy lets you book online without any hassle.