Well, if this is "routine" in NE-US I wonder about the risks of human beings pilots get into when flying around/below minimum-fluel-levels (short of PAN PAN)...I also wonder that FAA "tolerates" such a general behaviour...
Finally: I also ask myself why 111 didnt land at a closer airport to refuel instead of trying to land at JFK with the last drop of fuel?! The fuel left (roughly) at touch-down at JFK was below 3 min - what had the pilot of 111 had in mind if he had to go-around etc...?!
I wouldn't necessarily consider this to be "routine." The routine part are fuel concerns into the New York area. As soon as our route is changed, the FMS will spit out a new ETE, ETA, and fuel remaining at touchdown. If we get put into holding the first thing we do is call our dispatcher and tell him where we are and how much fuel we have. They will then tell us how much fuel we need from our holding position to get to the airport, plus fuel for the approach, plus fuel to fly to the alternate (assuming there is one), plus reserve (45 mins) fuel. If we're still holding when we hit this bingo fuel, then we go to some airport just below us and refuel.
There are then several levels of low fuel management. First comes just letting the controllers know of our fuel situation. This is nowhere near an emergency situation, more of a convenience. After that, once we're committed to the airport, we'd be declaring minimum fuel. This tells the controller that we cannot accept any delay vectors and should be given partial priority (I'm omitting many other details). Finally comes declaring emergency fuel. This basically means we must land at the nearest suitable airport and have less than 30 mins of fuel remaining.
That is a very dumbed down version, if you want more specifics, let me know.
An odd thing that I noticed in this clip is the pilot says they have 3.8 tonnes remaining with "9 minutes fuel remaining until we need to land." I honestly do not know what that means specifically. 3.8 tonnes is 3800kg which is 8360 lbs. To burn 8360 lbs in 9 minutes equates to 55,733 lbs/hour of fuel burn. I do not know what kind of fuel burns a B777 gets down low, but I know it is nowhere near this amount.
If he had 39 mins of fuel remaining (30 min emergency fuel +9 mins) at 3.8 tonnes, that equates to 12,861 lbs/hour fuel burn, which still seems a bit high, but plausible.
If he had 54 mins of fuel remaining (45 min reserve fuel +9 mins) at 3.8 tonnes, that equates to 9,289 lbs/hour fuel burn, which seems a bit more likely.