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Delta's 'pop-up' JFK terminal hits downtown NYC

Walk along Broome Street in Manhattan’s Soho district, and you’ll encounter boutiques, bistros, art galleries—and a faux Delta Air Lines terminal.

The pop-up airport terminal T4X opened this week and offers a peek at the new amenities and sleek design you’ll find at Delta's new home at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 4 (T4), which opens May 24.

The revamp features new check-in areas with additional kiosks, a dedicated Delta Sky Priority check-in area, and a new flagship Sky Club, the carrier's largest. T4's Concourse B will boast nine new gates and seven renovated gates, dual taxiways, and upgraded baggage claim areas with more carousels.

T4X, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., showcases T4’s $4 lunch menu by James Beard Foundation Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, check-in kiosks where travelers can check or book flights, a preview of their Sky Club lounge, and the airline's simulated Sky Deck outdoor terrace. The pop-up exhibit will be open until May 22.

T4's brand concept was created by Fabian Diaz, a partner at Lippincott, who said his focus was emphasizing "moments of connection" and to "enhance your time" before heading off to your destination.

T4X reflects the atmosphere that fliers will see in the soon-to-open 24,000-square-foot, $1.4 billion expanded and renovated T4, from the seating area in check-in to the Sky Club lounge.

As for the Sky Deck seats, Diaz said: "We wanted high seating so that your line of vision is cut off, and you're immersed in your own space."

On Thursday in the faux Sky Deck, an outdoor terrace-like area with blue skies and occasional airplanes projected onto the wall, Sky Club member Adam Shimrat pulled up a tall seat and snacked on his lunch. “The chairs are very nice,” he said.

On T4X’s opening day, one customer service assistant lingering near the Delta Sky Priority check-in area said the space was “jam-packed during lunchtime” when they also gave away pairs of Yankees tickets to dozens of lucky visitors.

After the lunch rush, the clamor appeared to have died down. Visitors still stopped in to grab the $4 lunches, alluringly packaged in suitcase-like boxes and poised on a baggage claim-style conveyor belt. However, the few people who lurked in the Sky Club after 2 p.m. were customer service assistants, reporters, and marketing team members.

In the Sky Club lounge, an elegant seating area with plush red and white chairs instead of plastic bucket seats, visitors noshed on their meals and read free copies of "The New York Times" and Delta’s in-flight magazine "Sky."

“This is comfortable. I like the Wi-Fi, newspapers, being able to relax," said Jasmine Mitchell of New York City. "It's great not to be so packed in and scrambling to find a seat.” When asked whether she would join the Sky Club for these perks, she said, “Well, I don't anticipate traveling a lot this year. I used to; I would have considered it (back then) if they’d had this. It's not always fun to travel from JFK.”

Student Morgan Hocking, who lingered in the lounge on Thursday, said in between bites of his Mexico City steak sandwich, “I think this is fantastic; I’m surprised,” referring to both to the sandwich and to the space.

But when asked whether he would join the Sky Club to get the same amenities in JFK’s real-life T4, he said, “No, I don't care that much. The point is to get from point A to point B. But if it were free or maybe $5, totally.”