Nov 08

JetBlue Donates Portion of JFK Terminal to USO

JetBlue plane tails-2 Respite for Military Travelers

OCTOBER 10, 2014 4:00 PM – New York Times

JetBlue Airways has donated a portion of Terminal 5 at Kennedy Airport in New York to the United Service Organization, better known as the U.S.O., which has turned it into a contemporary airport lounge for service members and their families.

JetBlue-USOAnd while the new lounge may not be as entertaining to the troops as, say, a Bob Hope special, it is a rare gift that will provide a much-needed respite for the active military members who pass through the airport more than eight million times a year, Brian Whiting, chief executive of the U.S.O. of Metropolitan New York, said.

U.S.O. Center T5/JFK, as its being called, is the first to open in a New York airport in more than a decade.

“Never in our organization’s 73-year history have we been the recipient of a brand new center fully stocked with computers, televisions, gaming devices and stations, furniture, iPads, food and beverages and more,” Mr. Whiting said.

The center opened this month with the help of JetBlue’s partners on the project. In addition to Gensler, the architecture firm that designed the space, and Turner Construction, which built it, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey donated funding for the lounge’s more contemporary features, like iPads and snacks.

Other contractors contributed labor and materials to the project, which was finished in less than a year for around $500,000.

Hero-photo with mobility harness

Veteran’s Service Dog

“When we realized there were no U.S.O. centers at any of the New York metro airports, we felt it was our duty to bring one back,” Michael Elliott, a senior vice president at JetBlue, said in an email.

“Although JetBlue provided a space for this center, this was truly a joint effort across the entire airport community. We put the call out to our business partners and nearly 30 answered by providing services and resources to help make it possible.”

In addition to being a comfortable place to take a load off, the center will provide entertainment, food and free Wi-Fi to members. It is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., across from baggage carousel 2 in Terminal 5, and is accessible from other terminals via the AirTrain.

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