For decades, the justification for flying into New York’s LaGuardia Airport was the significantly shorter drive into Manhattan than from John F. Kennedy Airport (20 minutes versus 40 minutes when there’s no traffic, which is almost never). Using LaGuardia surely wasn’t about a better quality of experience—just eight years ago, then-Vice President Joseph Biden said that going through LaGuardia resembled “something in a Third World country.” Ouch.
But $4 billion goes a long way towards improving an experience. That’s what was spent between Terminal D upgrades that debuted in mid-2021 and the construction of a brand-new Terminal B that serves American, United, Southwest, and Air Canada. This week, Terminal B was fully opened, thanks to a new western skybridge that allows access to a second concourse featuring panoramic views of Manhattan. The first concourse opened in mid-2020 but contains fewer than half of the 35 gates within the terminal.
Spanning 1.35 million square feet, the new terminal has a four-level arrival and departure hall that’s 850,000 square feet—50 percent larger than the hall in the previous terminal. It offers 75 self-service kiosks in a central check-in area, nine baggage carousels, and digital signage showing security wait times and the latest Covid-safety advisories. In addition to 17 food and retail outlets, the terminal has a 3,000-car parking garage plus new covered and convenient pick-up facilities for both taxis and ride-sharing vehicles.
For skeptical travelers, there’s one more thing: Terminal B received the prestigious UNESCO Prix Versailles architecture and design award in the airport category.
What’s more, LaGuardia’s upgrade is not done yet: The completion of Terminal C, another $4 billion project, is expected by mid-2022, providing Delta passengers with a much-improved travel experience.