As Delta Air Lines gets closer and closer to opening its new terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, we are learning more about the features and dining options that passengers can expect.
Delta is spending over $1 billion on the new terminal, which will bring the airline into the 21st century at JFK and greatly improve the passenger experience.
SSP, in partnership with JFKIAT and Delta this week announced a celebrity chef-inspired lineup of new food and beverage options for the forthcoming Terminal 4 expansion project. Restaurants include the now world famous Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, and Uptown Brasserie.
However, something that Delta passengers at New York LaGuardia and Minneapolis have become accustomed to encountering will not be found at the new Terminal 4 facility – iPads. Delta, in partnership with OTG Management, transformed the once depressing LaGuardia terminal into a high-tech facility, with wonderful dining options. In tow, OTG brought along the newest generation of its iPad based ordering and entertainment system, which has been an absolute hit with passengers. The iPads are set up virtually everywhere at LaGuardia, enabling passengers to order food right from their gate, check flight status, charge up their phone, and browse the web for free.
While the SSP announcement will bring many well-known restaurant franchises to terminal 4, the iPads will not be included. JFK’s terminal 4 is operated by JFKIAT, and the firm has an agreement with SSP until 2026. This precludes Delta from utilising OTG Management – which operates the iPads for Delta at LaGuardia and Minneapolis – at the new Terminal 4.
From the passenger’s point of view, the lack of iPads at Delta’s new terminal may be confusing, much like sending a new aircraft into service with no inflight entertainment or connectivity. Adding to the potential confusion for passengers, an older generation of the OTG iPad system is currently deployed at JFK in Terminals 2 and 3.
Terminal 3 is currently scheduled for demolition, however. This older system is missing many of the features the newer system offers, such as multi-language support and credit card processing, and is prone to malfunctioning.
When asked if Delta would develop an iPad solution for Terminal 4 without the help of OTG, Delta spokeswoman Leslie Scott said the carrier current has no plans for such a project. Delta does plan to provide ample power and USB outlets at gate seating areas, however.
Pat Murray, executive VP of SSP, has emphasized a more personal touch over the OTG iPad system. “We’re certainly all in favour of making life easier for our customers, and technologies can be truly enabling. However, we mustn’t confuse gadgetry with great service. It’s the human contact of friendly and well-trained staff, outstanding food and engaging environments that really make the difference,” says Murray.
SSP is taking its own approach to technology, and will feature other “conveniences” that will be revealed when the new restaurants open at JFK, adds Murray.
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