Terminal 1 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) may be the worst terminal in the airport. There are queues everywhere, especially when traveling during the afternoon and evening rush hour.
Airside dining options are limited, and… Airline lounges are not great. Security scanning can take a long time, don’t forget to skip the lines Clear or Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Prescreening.. The terminal does not have Clear, and there is no dedicated TSA PreCheck lane.
What if I told you there was a VIP service that let you skip the security line entirely? Read on to learn more about my experience with VIP oneAnd it’s now free with Eligible Priority Pass membership.
Want more airline news? Sign up for TPG’s free biweekly aviation newsletter.
VIP One experience
After I checked in for my last Brussels flight, I headed to the main security checkpoint at JFK’s Terminal 1 to observe what was going on.
Unsurprisingly, there were queues everywhere. Security monitors were loudly shouting at passengers to remove liquids and laptops from carry-on luggage.
You have definitely made the right choice by choosing VIP One.
Instead of entering the main security checkpoint, I headed to the southeast side of the main security area and found a nondescript entrance to the VIP One security lounge between check-in rows E and F.
There was a gentleman guarding the entrance to the lounge, and he quickly greeted me after confirming that I had indeed paid for the service. (VIP One now accepts Priority Pass, so your card should be scanned here before entering.)
Reward your inbox with TPG’s daily newsletter
Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG experts.
There were a few seats in the hall, but the main feature were the two chairs in the center of the room.
Once I entered, the agent placed some security boxes on top of the boxes and asked me to remove the items in my pockets, as well as my laptop and jacket.
She quickly obliged, and then magic happened.
The agent took the boxes and my bag and opened a side door, where I found myself in front of the security line. There was a TSA agent waiting there to check my passport, and within seconds I was taken directly to the front of the X-ray machine.
The VIP One agent placed my belongings in the machine and then wished me a safe trip after I passed through the metal detector.
What could have been a 30-minute wait (if not longer) to get through security was a painless 60-second process.
VIP One with Priority Card
Perhaps the best news is that VIP One now accepts Priority Pass memberships. This means that if you have an eligible credit card that includes Priority Pass, you will be able to use the Pre-Security Lounge and the TSA designated lane before your trip.
All you have to do is show your Priority Pass membership card along with your boarding pass with same-day travel confirmation to access this space.
Purchase VIP One packages
If you don’t have a Priority Pass membership, VIP One offers three packages: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. I purchased the Silver package, which only includes VIP Express Security. The service costs $45 before tax and is marked up as professional services on my credit card. Children under 12 years old are included in one service charge.
Purchasing the service was very simple. After navigating to the VIP One website, I simply selected the desired package and entered my name and credit card information. Moments after completing my purchase, an employee called me with details about where I would be going once I arrived at Terminal 1.
If you’re flying first class on Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air or Lufthansa, you’ll have access to the Silver Package for free.
VIP One also offers a Gold ($100) and Platinum ($200) service that includes VIP fast-track insurance, as well as a personal escort from airport arrivals to the gate.
This person welcomes you to your car, takes you to check-in, takes you through security, escorts you to the lounge (if you have access to it) and finally helps you board your flight.
VIP One also offers a membership model available for purchase at the airport at an undisclosed price.
The overall impression
I’ve always been intimidated by the ground experience of flights departing from Terminal 1 at JFK. In general, the building is crowded. Not to mention that security can take forever.
However, with VIP One offers, the security process is made very easy, especially considering that it is now free for Priority Pass members.
Even if you don’t have a Priority Card, airlines typically sell Priority Boarding and Express Security packages for $15 or more, so $45 seems reasonable for a better VIP security experience than both TSA PreCheck and Clear. Maybe it will make you look forward to clearing security in Terminal 1.