I recently flew out of New York JFK’s Terminal 5 following a family holiday. I had the opportunity to check out the spotting opportunities here and take some pictures to report back for this post.
Spotting at JFK Terminal 5 is actually quite easy and first off, I didn’t have any problems with security or other passengers by discretely using binoculars and a camera. In fact, there was another spotter using the opportunity to take some pictures of passing aircraft using a large camera lens while I was there.
New York JFK’s Terminal 5 is home to JetBlue Airways. It is one of the newer facilities at the airport, having superseded the original TWA Flight Center terminal and the hasty extension which was put up to handle expansion.
Outside T5 you can still see the TWA Flight Center, which (as we reported recently) is soon to be turned into an airport hotel and business center.
Other airlines using Terminal 5 include Aer Lingus (whom I was flying on this visit) and Hawaiian Airlines.
At the departures level there is a smoking area next to the entrance and kerbside drop-off at Terminal 5. This overlooks a couple of the gates, a runway and taxiway in the distance, and some gates at Terminal 4. As you can see from the picture above, these were dominated by international airlines, including Airbus A380s and other wide-bodies.
At the opposite end of the terminal a walkway links Terminal 5 to the AirTrain people mover which links all of the terminals. From the elevated position there are some good views across to the British Airways Terminal 7, and runway 13L/31R. You also have some distant views of some cargo and remote parking aprons.
Once through security it is quite easy to spot at Terminal 5. All three concourses can be walked along, allowing you to log aircraft parked at the gates.
Places which are particularly good for spotting include:
Gate 30. From here you can see Terminal 7 and runway 13L/31R.
Gate 15. Soft seats and a panoramic view of aircraft passing on the adjacent taxiway. A lot of Delta aircraft pass here on the way to Terminal 4. You can also see aircraft using runways 04L/22R, 04R/22L and the end of runway 13L/31R here. Photography is easy given the close proximity.
Behind you, close to gates 11 and 12, you can see across to the Delta terminal and runway 13R/31L beyond.
Whilst enjoying the views I heard a couple of automated announcements for the “T5 Rooftop”. Curious as to what it might be, I wandered along to gate 28. There I found a door with a sign and the hours of operation, so wandered through expecting a plane spotter’s paradise.
What I found was, in fact, just a dog walking/smoking area which faced the roadside area. Walking to the end I could see across to the British Airways terminal, but the view was limited and nothing compared to what was offer (in the warmth) at gate 30.
Other places for spotting at JFK
We recently put together this full guide to spotting at New York JFK Airport, which is especially useful for locations outside the airport.