CBS2 Exclusive: A Look At A Fine-Dining, High-Tech Makeover At Newark Airport’s Terminal C

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The next time you fly into or out of Newark Liberty International Airport, you may see some major changes.

United Airlines announced Monday that its Terminal C at the airport will soon feature an assortment of high-end food options, and other accommodations that aim to make the terminal a destination unto itself.

RENDERINGS: Upgrades For Newark Liberty Airport Terminal C

CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock got an exclusive look Monday at the planned $120 million upgrade, which will affect a corridor that 22 million people pass through every year.

“The whole objective here is that you want to get to the airport early, not you need to get to airport early,” said Rick Blatstein, chief executive officer of OTG Management, which is partnering with United Airlines in the upgrade effort.

United said it is creating an unrivaled travel experience, thanks to enhanced technology, design, and dining. Blatstein told CBS2 about the highlights.

“One of the exciting things about technology – we’re going to be rolling out over 6,000 iPads here,” Blatstein said.

In fact, every seat in every restaurant will have an iPad. United and OTG have started rolling them out already, and customers can use them for free to check on their flight status, surf the Web, or order.

“It’s really cool. It’s easy – they’ll pay you with your miles,” said Sofia Weinberg, 9, of Montclair, New Jersey.

Indeed, customers can pay with frequent flyer miles, or with their credit cards.

The iPads will also be in the gate area, allowing travelers to order food or beverages at their seats and get them delivered in 15 minutes.

And seating won’t be lined up in banks of chairs that are bolted together anymore either.

“I don’t know who, 40-plus years ago, said, ‘Let’s line up all the seats in the airports,’ and then every airport around the world decided, ‘OK, we’re going to line up all the seats.’ So we’re going to change all of the waiting areas,” Blatstein said.

Most seats will be occupied with tables, as well as electrical outlets. There will be 10,000 places to plug in.

And as for good eats, there will be 55 new venues.

Among the chefs who will showcase their food are Marc Forgione, Alain Ducasse, Paul Liebrandt and Mario Carbone. Numerous cuisines will be represented including American, French, Italian, Asian, Mexican and Japanese. There will also be a whiskey bar, wine bar and beer garden.

Dining establishments will be set up in an oasis in the middle of everything. A space now occupied by a moving walkway will be supplanted by the beer garden with beer around the world.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this new project,” Carbone said.

And OTG said travel in Terminal C will not be disrupted when construction is going on

“We phase it so the customer never really gets to see it, and there’s a very minimal amount of closing,” Blatstein said. “They’ll never be a gate closed.”

The full transformation is set to be completed within 18 months.

The New York region’s airports have been criticized for lacking some of the amenities that exist at other airports in the U.S. and Europe. United operates about three out of every four flights at Newark Liberty Airport.

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