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Airline Travel

The “Golden Age” of the Jet Era Returns to NYC

What was it about the famous “golden age” of the jet era? The glamour? The iconic design? The opportunity to explore places unknown? Whatever the experience was, it has stuck with us since then. Many of the airlines of that era have since departed, but the sights and sounds of them still exist for us to enjoy today.

One of these iconic buildings happened to be the famous TWA Flight Center at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International airport. In 1962, designer Eero Saarinen’s newly built building made headlines around the world and became a symbol of the “golden age.” In 2001, TWA flew their last flights and the future of the terminal sat in limbo. Thankfully, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was spared the wrecking ball.

Today, the famous TWA Flight Center has reopened, not as an airline terminal, but as the 512-room TWA Hotel.

From the ceiling to the floor, the hotel is overflowing of mid-century design elements. The attention to detail hasn’t gone unnoticed right down to the signature red TWA pencils, now produced by a family-run factory in Tennessee. Rotary phones. Tulip pedestal tables. Knoll desks. TWA-branded toiletries. It’s almost as if the famous TWA airline was still flying today and opened a new hotel.

Reserve a window seat! Inside the TWA Hotel, you can watch planes take flight without the sounds of jet engines. TWA Hotel’s glass curtain wall by Fabbrica — the second-thickest in the world after the wall at the U.S. Embassy in London — is seven panes and 4.5 inches thick. The glass’ Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of nearly 50 ensures the floor-to-ceiling, full-width windows cancel runway noise.

TWA Hotel room
TWA Hotel room. Image: MCR

Room Highlights

  • Floor-to-ceiling, full-width soundproof windows
  • Full Mad Men-esque wetbar in every room
  • Free lightning fast Wi-Fi
  • Authentic Knoll furnishings
  • Vintage rotary phones retrofitted with pulse to tone converters
  • Hollywood-style bathrooms featuring custom vanities with bubble lights
  • Luxury bedding
  • Complimentary bath products

There are six restaurants and eight bars planned for the hotel, with some big names attached. Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will run a revival of the Paris Café, located in the same space as its predecessor. Locally-made, quick meals will be dished up in the historic Departures Hall, where Trans World Airlines travelers once checked in for flights.

Care for a swim? The infinity pool and its 10,000-square-foot observation deck sits on the horizon of a thrilling scene — JFK’s bustling Runway 4 Left/22 Right, with views all the way to Jamaica Bay.

TWA Hotel infinity pool. Image: MCR

How about a vintage-inspired cocktail in an airliner? Meet TWA Hotel’s Connie Plane, a 1958 Lockheed Constellation airplane with a glamorous past.

Hotel Highlights

  • 200,000-square-foot heart of the hotel in the landmark 1962 Eero Saarinendesigned former TWA terminal
  • 1962 aesthetic throughout the hotel
  • 512 ultra-quiet guestrooms (the hotel’s glass curtain wall is seven panes thick)
  • 6 restaurants and 8 bars
  • Rooftop pool and 10,000-square-foot observation deck overlooking runway 4L/22R
  • Lockheed Constellation “Connie” L-1649A Starliner repurposed as a cocktail lounge and positioned on the tarmac between the hotel and Terminal 5
  • High-end retailers and services
  • Museum focused on the Jet Age, the mid-century modern design movement and TWA
  • Authentic Solari splitflap departures board with authentic original mechanical operation
  • 10,000-square-foot state of-the-art fitness center
  • First of a kind hybridized microgrid: entirely off-grid cogeneration plant
  • Free lightning fast Wi-Fi
  • Accessible to all terminals via AirTrain
  • Connected to JetBlue Terminal 5 via Saarinen’s iconic flight tubes made famous by the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can
  • LEED certified

Getting to TWA Hotel
Located at New York City’s JFK airport, it is accessible via multiple modes of transportation. The terminal is easy to reach via AirTrain JFK—an intra-airport tram that connects with the NYC Subway system—so you can pop in between flights or on your way in or out of the airport. A layover has never been so stylish.

Lastly, the popularity of the hotel is already buzzing about and will likely stay for quite some time. You can visit the hotel, dine at one of the restaurants, or even book a day-stay to experience the TWA Hotel. As the saying goes, “what is old is new again.” Happy travels.

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