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Newark's stunning new Terminal A is now open, but with some serious hiccups on day one

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Hours-long delays, a power outage and a security breach weren’t what passengers expected from the brand new Terminal A in Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) Thursday Jan 1 2.

After all, this stunning $2.7 billion facility was first unveiled in November, and the the opening was delayed for more than a month for further testing and adjustments.

Yet Avery Hoffman, the owner of New Jersey-based Lion18 Renovations, left the new terminal on opening day incredibly unimpressed.


“It was terrible,” Hoffman said of his morning at the new terminal. His JetBlue flight, a 7:15 a.m. departure for Fort Lauderdale, was one of the first to take off from the new facility, and his experience was fraught with problems.

Opening day failures

A power outage at the TSA security checkpoint halted all screening for nearly 20 minutes and shut down half of the screening lanes for about two hours.

After all machines were reconnected to main power after two hours, a security breach was identified, leading to a TSA investigation, which further hampered the screening process.


While Clear Fast Tracks were open, TSA pre-clearance was not, sending dozens of frustrated frequent flyers into hour-long queues to clear standard security.

Hoffman finally made it through security after more than an hour, arriving at gate A3 for a delayed flight because ground staff could not figure out how to operate the new jet bridge system.

Suffice it to say, Hoffman and his family, along with many other frustrated travelers, were eager to take off as they left New Jersey on Thursday — and it wasn’t just because it was a gloomy winter morning and wet.

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By early afternoon, security lines were beginning to thin and TSA preclearance lanes began to open around 1 p.m. local time.

That said, the situation throughout the day deteriorated so badly that United issued an alert to all travelers departing from Newark, saying that “we expect longer than usual queues for security checkpoints at Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport, and we encourage you.” to arrive earlier to avoid any disruption to your trip.”


Despite the failures of the opening day, the the new terminal A marks a major upgrade for the airportthat some travelers have historically avoided at all costs.

A grand opening party

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the local government agency that oversees and manages the region’s largest airports, invited a handful of media to a grand opening ceremony on Thursday.


“It’s the first day at New Terminal A and it’s taken a long time. We are delighted to welcome customers to the new facility,” said Port Authority Chief Operating Officer Huntley Lawrence.

“There have been a number of operational trials over the past few days, and sometimes you don’t find all the bugs. There were a few challenges this morning that we are working on,” he added.


Some of the issues Lawrence identified had already been addressed before the opening, such as asking Uber and Lyft to update their maps and wayfinding to direct drivers and passengers to the new facility.

Others, like the security breach and the power outage, were unexpected and made passengers wait over an hour to clear security more than eight hours after the facility opened.


Following the remarks, media were ferried to the airside area to officially open the facility with a traditional water cannon salute for a United Boeing 737-700 aircraft, registration N38727, which landed at 10:10 a.m. local time , of West Palm Beach.

For disembarking passengers, entering the new Terminal A for the first time was apparently a big surprise – many of them had lined up along the windows to take pictures of the plane and the boarding areas.

In fact, the The new facility is so physically stunning that might be enough to change Newark’s reputation.

Inside Newark’s new Terminal A

The new facility is perhaps the biggest passenger upgrade yet for Newark, and it’s a massive improvement over the outdated Terminal A, which officially closed in conjunction with Thursday’s opening.


The upgrades start from the moment you are dropped off – a new four-lane road leads directly to the vast new facility. The additional lanes should help ease the bottlenecks that plagued the old terminal.


Once inside, it only takes a few seconds to realize what an upgrade the new check-in room is. From the high ceilings to the plethora of natural light to the eye-catching artwork, the new Terminal A is simply stunning.


There are a variety of check-in experiences, including kiosks, counters, and even new dedicated premium areas.


Both JetBlue and United operate private check-in halls for premium passengers, including those with Mosaic and premier elite statusrespectively, as well as those who fly in Mint business class and United’s premium cabinsrespectively.

While security was the big bottleneck on Thursday, it’s set to become much more efficient in the coming days.

The new terminal features 16 Transportation Security Administration screening lanes that are all accessible from the centralized check-in area. Once you pass through security (or after landing), you have access to any door without needing to be screened again.

This is a major improvement over the old Terminal A, which had individual security checkpoints at each gate platform. This made logins much more difficult and caused saves during the busiest starting banks.

Just note that the security lanes feature the newer computed tomography, or CT, scanners which always seem to take longer than the older machines.

Once through security, you will be on the upper level of the central plaza area, with an unobstructed view of the departures hall.

Initially, 21 of the terminal’s 33 gates are operational. A second phase of construction is expected to be completed this summer, which will include the opening of the remaining 12 gates, as well as some additional food and beverage outlets and stores.

For now, local New Jersey-based concessionaires, such as Jersey Mike’s, Office Tavern and Grill, and New Jersey Monthly, are available throughout the terminal, and there’s plenty more passenger seating throughout. space.

Although the physical facility is a day and night improvement over the existing Terminal A, perhaps the biggest improvement is the amount of natural light which makes the space much more inviting.

That, combined with the spacious bathrooms, variety of seating options, locally inspired artwork, and trees and gardens spread throughout the terminal, made it a hit with departing travelers who seemed to enjoy the new facility.

Which airlines operate from Terminal A?

Initially, Air Canada, American Airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines (select flights only) use the new Terminal A. Delta Air Lines will move into the new facilities later this year when a 12-gate extension opens.


Of the aforementioned airlines, United is the the only one who calls Newark a hub. Although the majority of the airline’s flights will continue to operate from Terminal C now obsoletesome flights will depart and arrive at Terminal A.


United explained that it will strategically operate flights from Terminal A that have the fewest connecting passengers. Even though there is a post-security shuttle between Terminals A, B, and C, landing at the new facility and then connecting to United’s Terminal C home isn’t particularly convenient.

At this time, there are no lounges in Terminal A, although this is set to change in the coming months. The Central Plaza after security screening will house three airline lounges located on the mezzanine level above the concessions.

The south side of the living room will host a American Admirals Club and Delta Sky Clubwhile the north side of this space will be dedicated to a new United Club which will also accommodate eligible Air Canada travelers and other Star Alliance travellers.


The terminal will also house a Centurion Lounge by American Express featuring views of Newark Harbor, New York Harbor, Newark Harbor and the Manhattan skyline, a piano lounge, a jazz-themed bar and a speakeasy-themed cocktail bar. Amex is also planning wellness rooms, workstations, and multiple food buffets.

The Amex Lounge will be located in the North Hall, which will open this summer as part of the second phase of construction.

At the end of the line

Newark’s new Terminal A has been under construction since 2018 and ushers in a new era for an airport that has always been considered one of the worst in the country. At $2.7 billion, the new facility represents the largest single investment in New Jersey by the Port Authority in the agency’s 101-year history.


Although the establishment encountered some problems on the day it opened, it is well on its way to improving Newark’s reputation. High ceilings, upgraded amenities, centralized security and spacious boarding areas are just some of the upgrades you’ll find at this world-class terminal.

In fact, the next time you fly from Terminal A, you might not believe you’ve actually arrived in Newark.

The good news is that more improvements are coming to the airport, including the opening of a second phase of construction in Terminal A, as well as a larger redevelopment project that will modernize the entire airport. airport.


Until then, just cross your fingers that the security bottlenecks have been resolved and you’ll be on your way to a great experience passing through Newark.

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