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T5 Has Landed: The new New York JetBlue Hub

As a frequent flyer between American coasts, I have become a regular customer of JetBlue, with its typically cheap(er) nonstop flights from New York’s JFK airport to San Francisco. I still remember the first time I landed in JetBlue’s Terminal 6 in August 2007. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a dingy, crowded, sorry excuse of a baggage claim area and the upstairs departures terminal wasn’t any nicer.

That is all but a distant memory, as JetBlue has cut the ribbon on its newly renovated T5 terminal – just in time for the holiday season. The state-of-the-art aviation hub is equipped with 65 check-in kiosks, 20 security lanes and a children’s play area. The terminal has a more airy feel thanks to the huge floor-to-ceiling windows with their bright silver and blue design palette. Another new amenity getting plenty of buzz is the gourmet food court, with over 20 cafes and restaurants. Normally, I detest airport food, with its over-inflated pricing and sheer lack of appetizing options. However, at least now passing the time waiting for a delayed flight (Let’s not kid ourselves completely; things won’t change that much as this is still JFK airport), won’t be as bad. As an additional perk for the business travelers, JetBlue’s terminal will continue to be a free Wi-Fi zone.

The first flight landed and disembarked at the new terminal this morning from Burbank, CA at 5 a.m. EST, to a crowd of cheers from JetBlue employees. The discount-domestic carrier has been touting the opening for over a year, and retail and restaurant developments delayed the originally-planned October 1 opening. Airline officials say the new terminal will facilitate traffic better than ever before with 26 gates and the capacity to handle 500 daily departures and arrivals.

See more Fast Company coverage here, and for coverage of today’s happenings and photos check out JetBlue’s live blog.