LaGuardia Airport’s Journey From Worst to Best Mid-Sized US Airport

by joeheg

LaGuardia Airport recently ranked as the best mid-sized U.S. airport!

Just a few years ago, LaGuardia Airport was not a pleasant experience for travelers. The airport terminals were outdated, poorly designed, and lacked the necessary facilities to provide a comfortable experience. The AMEX Centurion Lounge was also located in an inconvenient hallway, requiring travelers to take an industrial-style elevator from the food court to access it. Moreover, the lounge was located before security, so travelers had to leave the lounge early enough to make it through security and reach their gate on time.

In 2016, a major rehab project started at LGA to improve an airport that was ranked as 14th worst airport in the world. The 30 million passengers in 2018 were met with an old and outdated airport that really couldn’t handle the load of people it received on a daily basis. Terminal A was built in 1939, Terminal B in 1964, Terminal D in 1983 and Terminal C (yes, in that order) in 1992. And that was the last time any sort of major upgrade or expansion was done.

The reimagining of LaGuardia Airport wasn’t easy. In 2019, it was still named the worst mid-sized airport in the US. That’s understandable, as the airport was in the midst of construction, which made traffic so bad that people abandoned cars on the side of the road and walked to the terminals.

Things started to turn around in 2020 when Terminal B reopened as the home for American Airlines, Southwest, United, and Air CanadaThen in June 2023, Delta Air Lines opened the new Terminal C, which at the time was the home to the largest Delta Sky Club (which is as nice as everyone says.)

The transformation from the old LaGuardia to the new was complete, with the only remaining gates at Terminal A, also known as the Marine Air Terminal.

Critical Praise

The renovation of LaGuardia Airport took six years and reportedly cost approximately $8 billion. Was it worth it?

Apparently so. The airport’s reviews are almost universally positive, which is a rarity for anything in New York. But it’s not just locals praising the new airport; industry types are also giving it accolades. In 2023, Terminal B was named the World’s Best New Airport Terminal and received a 5-star rating from Skytrax.

More recently, LaGuardia Airport was named the best mid-sized airport in the US, serving 25 to 40 million passengers per year.

Final Thought

During the construction, we tended to avoid LaGuardia. Getting to the airport by taxi or Uber was too much of a hassle, and we could use public transit to get to JFK or Newark. Now that the construction is finished using the free Q70 bus to connect with the subway is easy enough. LaGuardia also offers several lounges to wait for your flight, including the Centurion Lounge, Chase Sapphire Lounge, and Delta SkyClub..

Over the last six years, the LaGuardia Airport (LGA) has undergone a remarkable transformation, thanks to the infusion of 8 billion dollars. The airport is no longer the subject of ridicule by late-night comedians, as it has turned into a modern and efficient transportation hub. The airport now boasts state-of-the-art terminals, revamped runways, and advanced security systems, among other features. With these upgrades, LGA has become a shining example of how investments in infrastructure can enhance the overall travel experience.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

derek March 22, 2024 - 3:56 pm

The old LaGuardia was not that bad, in my opinion. Slamming LGA with the idea “Terminal A was built in 1939, Terminal B in 1964, Terminal D in 1983 and Terminal C (yes, in that order) in 1992. ” is too much, in my opinion. They could have built Terminal C in 1983 and Terminal D in 1992 (yes, in order) but then the terminals wouldn’t be in alphabetical order on the map, which is not what they did.

In addition, the terminal names were not letters in the beginning. Earilier names included the Marine Air Terminal, Central Terminal, Delta/Northwest Terminal. Terminal C was supposed to be for Continental but was sold for US Airways use when it opened.


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