Travel Blog: LGA

LGA tower rising above the AAL hangar.

In the coming weeks/months I’m going to be doing some airport reviews with tips, suggestions, cool things, spotting tips and where to find the best beer. My first review is none other than the airport I’ve come to hate over the years. But really, it is starting to grow on me. New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

When you fly out of Bangor you have 4 options on the major airlines. LaGuardia(Delta and US Airways), Detroit(Delta), Philadelphia(US Airways) and Reagan National (US Airways). Also you can fly direct to Orlando Sanford, St Petersburg and Punta Gorda on low cost carrier, Allegiant. Gone are the days of flying to Boston or Cincinnati and making connecting flights.

On a recent trip for a conference in the Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina area, I had a layover at LGA and decided to snap some pictures of the Delta terminals(C and D). They have undergone some major renovations in the past couple years and it really has turned out nice. Much of my disdain for the airport goes back 3 years or so when I had a run in with a gate agent that made the Grinch seem pleasant.

When I flew into LGA on the way down to RDU I arrived on the west side of Terminal C and departed from the east. This was only the second time I’d flown into Terminal C, last year being the first on my way to Florida. The return trip I arrived on the east side of Terminal C and departed from Terminal D.

New wine bar going into Terminal C at LGA.
New wine bar going into Terminal C at LGA.

There are many things being worked on right now, including what appears to be a new wine bar as well as other shops/food options on the concourse between the east and west sides of the terminal. The food court area in Terminal C is greatly improved and head and shoulders above the offerings in Terminal D. There is a burger spot along with pizza and the typical self serve snacks, drinks and salad/hot bar.

Biergarten between Terminal C and D at LGA.
Biergarten between Terminal C and D at LGA.

If you are a beer snob, like myself, you will be in beer snob heaven at Biergarten. Their selection is impressive, all ordered on the iPad at the bar(I’ll touch on this later) and reasonably priced given that you’re in an airport. I sat down and ordered a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale from Portsmouth, NH. While the beer offerings are top notch, the food seemed to leave a lot to be desired, especially given the prices. After finishing my beer I had a slab of pizza in the food court area and then proceeded to my gate.

In each of the terminals there are places you can order food and drinks, either at the bar area or at one of the East Terminal C bar/cafe area.tables with iPads to order from. Even while sitting at the bar you order from the iPad, while it’s cool, it takes the personal aspect out of it. Sometimes I wonder if this is actually a good thing, given some of the personalities employed there. I like talking to the locals, getting suggestions on food or drink options or talking about whatever topic may arise.

When you sit down in front of an iPad, it asks for your flight information to keep you informed about departure time, delays and such. You can play games, browse the web or use some of the random apps loaded on them. You swipe a credit/debit card to pay for the purchases and also charge mobile devices via receptacles or USB plugins.

Building a walkway with people mover to go between Terminals C and D has been a welcome improvement, allowing for easier movement between the 2 terminals. Previously you had to take a bus between the 2. If you try to snap a few pictures on the people mover, you’re asking to get run over by someone running to catch the flight. Trust me, I tried 3 times.

Look closely and you can see yourself sitting there for an hour waiting to take off.
Look closely and you can see yourself sitting there for an hour waiting to take off.

While the terminals at LGA have improved over the past couple years, the traffic is still horrible. When departing for RDU we pushed back from the gate, pilot comes on after safety information and says we have an hour and 10 minute flight once we’re airborne. Everyone is feeling good, thinking yeah, that’s not too bad, we’ll be in early. Then our hopes of an early arrival were dashed when he told us we were NUMBER TWENTY SIX in line for takeoff. It was as though everyone rolled their eyes, sighed had a flash back to the 90’s and Ironic by Alanis Morissette began playing in our minds. Being a plane geek this wouldn’t have been bad if I were on the other side of the aircraft as I could have snapped a few pictures of a retro US Airways in PSA livery with the smile on the nose.

All in all the LaGuardia experience in the terminal has improved from the updated Sky Club, improved food and beverage offerings to the iPads to pass the time. If they could just get the traffic problems solved LGA might not be a bad place to visit. Ok, that’s probably not true but it would be a lot more tolerable.

Here are a few more pictures from LGA. Wheels up!

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