In terms of the passenger experience, JFK is one of my least favorite airports in the country. A majority of the terminals aren’t connected airside, which makes connections between terminals complicated and time consuming, as you have to leave security, take the AirTrain, and then reclear security.
The good news for oneworld lately has been that airlines were for a while consolidating operations at Terminal 8. Earlier this year Cathay Pacific moved from Terminal 7 to Terminal 8, meaning that passengers connecting to/from American wouldn’t need to change terminals. In addition to that, airberlin, Finnair, LATAM, and Qatar Airways depart from Terminal 8 as well.
Given the size of British Airways’ operations at JFK, they depart from Terminal 7, as there’s no room for them to co-locate in Terminal 8.
Well, airberlin looks like they’re swapping terminals at JFK. As of September 12, 2017, airberlin will operate out of JFK Terminal 7 rather than JFK Terminal 8. This means that airberlin will be moving from American’s overcrowded terminal to British Airways’ terminal, which likely has a bit more space (even though the terminal is about to undergo a renovation, and Alaska and Virgin America are moving in as well).
While airberlin is part of oneworld, they’re not one of American’s closer partners. Airberlin is excluded from the oneworld transatlantic joint venture (which includes American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia), and American has even discontinued their codeshare agreement with airberlin. So at this point the only thing that the airlines have in common is that they’re both in oneworld, and I tend to think that the big three alliances are slowly dying anyway.
Obviously this means that connections to and from American will become more complicated. If you’re connecting from a domestic American flight to airberlin, this means you’ll have to change terminals and reclear security, while if you’re connecting from airberlin to American you’ll have to change terminals (you had to clear security before as well).
In terms of lounges, presently airberlin business class passengers, oneworld Sapphire members, and oneworld Emerald members, get access to the American Flagship Lounge, which is a solid lounge.
Meanwhile in the new terminal, airberlin business class passengers and oneworld Sapphire members will get access to the British Airways business class lounge.
Meanwhile oneworld Emerald members will get access to the first class section of that lounge (which is different than the Concorde Room); this still isn’t a nice lounge.
So this is an all around cut for those flying airberlin out of JFK, in my opinion.