JFK's New Animal Terminal Will Be the Nicest Part of the Airport

John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City will open a new terminal for animals in 2016. Credit: Courtesy of Paradise 4 Paws

While flying with your dog or cat isn't the easiest mode of transportation, New York City's JFK Airport is trying to make air travel more pet-friendly with the addition of a new $48 million terminal dedicated to animals.

The 178,000-square-foot terminal, aptly dubbed The Ark, features amenities far nicer than the most posh airline clubs. They include spa facilities, a "poo chute" room with angled floors, a veterinary hospital offering general and emergency care, and species-specific habitats to accommodate horses, birds, cats, and dogs.

The terminal is open to all travelers at JFK, though it's expected to appeal to high-end pet owners and those transporting animals for competition and business. The small pet resort has individual suites ($100 a night) for animals, with a webcam option so you can keep an eye on your four-legged friend. Other amenities include obedience training and pet massage therapy. The dogs-only area features a bone-shaped splash pool, turf yard run, and full grooming services (including "pawdicures"). The cats section is set apart from the canines and features climbing trees and similar grooming packages.

Horses are housed in a small zoo, where each has an individual climate-controlled stall. Even penguins and other exotic pets have their own dedicated space. Designers worked closely with veterinarians and animal behaviorist Temple Grandin to create environments that cater specifically to each species' natural tendencies and preferences.

The Ark is officially set to open in 2016 and was designed by Gensler architecture firm. JFK commissioned a 14.4-acre lot complete with an aircraft pad on it as the building site, to reduce travel time between your pet's five-star digs and the plane. "A lot of our design is in collaboration with veterinarians and consultants to help minimize the amount of stress placed on the animal," said Cliff Bollmann, a leading airport architect working on The Ark, in The Guardian