LaGuardia, I Surrender

I have a great idea! Let’s build an airport in the middle of an overdeveloped area where it’s bounded by a 10-lane freeway on one side, and a river on the other! Then, let’s build four different terminals in four separate buildings and leave them entirely disconnected from each other, except by an unreliable city bus! Then, let’s completely overload it with gates so we have to pad the length of every flight to include the time it will inevitably wait to take off! Then, let’s have the nerve to call this airport “convenient,” because it’s slightly closer to the city center than the region’s other two airports!

36% of all flights at LaGuardia were delayed last year. So, there’s better than a one-in-three chance that any flight there will be delayed. I’ve been on the wrong side of those odds every single time. This is not an exaggeration: I have flown in and out of LaGuardia ten times since 2003, and I have never had a flight leave from LaGuardia or arrive at LaGuardia on time.

laguardiasucks.JPGAfter the first time, I figured it was just a fluke.

After the second time, I chalked it up to delays elsewhere in the country.

After the third time, I called it bad luck.

After the fourth time, I started to see a trend developing.

After the fifth time, when I lost an entire day of my Florida vacation, I swore I would never fly out of LaGuardia again.

After the sixth time, when my flight from Florida was cancelled and I was forced to sit in the middle seat of an exit row in front of a screaming baby, I swore I would never fly out of LaGuardia again.

After the seventh time, when I had to run through Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in a dash worthy of a Catch Me If You Can-like soundtrack (sans Tom Hanks chasing after me) to make a connection, I swore I would never fly out of LaGuardia again.


After the eighth time, when I nearly missed my sister’s high school graduation because of a cancelled flight and had to run in sweltering June heat with a heavy suitcase after being rebooked on another airline, I swore I would never fly out of LaGuardia again.

After the ninth time, when I was stuck at a bar in Logan Airport in Boston for an entire Sunday afternoon while a Red Sox game was on NESN, I was somewhat grateful, but I swore I would never fly out of LaGuardia again.

After the tenth time – Friday night, after a week of 14-hour workdays and serious sleep deprivation, I looked forward to a relaxing ski weekend in Vermont beginning with a nice drink at a bar with ice sculptures followed by a good night’s sleep – only to get stuck in a nearly-empty terminal for three hours and not get to my hotel until 2:00 in the morning – I SWORE I WOULD NEVER FLY OUT OF LAGUARDIA AGAIN.

I mean it this time. Really, I do.



Filed under Life in NYC

12 responses to “LaGuardia, I Surrender

  1. o great…
    i never flew out of there yet…but my boyfriend suggested that we fly from there in sept. for my brother’s wedding. UGHHH!!!
    i hope i dont get screwed over.
    thanks for making me freak out a bit…

  2. Thanks for the heads up.
    Ive only ever gone out of Newark, and I think Ill stick with Newark and JFK.

    Sorry though, that you had to endure all of this just so we know not to use that airport.

  3. Rattling the Kettle

    Let me see if I got it straight: You live in the East Village, and you were flying to Vermont. And you chose to fly out of LaGuardia, instead of taking a JetBlue flight (a better airline than whatever you flew) out of Kennedy (which is actually closer to you than LGA).

    You got what you deserved.

  4. marjorie

    Westchester County! That’s the way to go. By far my most favorite airport.

  5. Rattling the Kettle:
    1. I was leaving from work in Midtown.
    2. LaGuardia is 9 miles from the East Village; JFK is 17 miles away.
    3. The US Airways flight I took was the earliest flight to Burlington that I could take after work (8:50pm); the JetBlue flight leaves at 10:50pm and was actually $20 more expensive.
    4. Even if I “got what I deserved,” that doesn’t explain the other 9 incidents.

  6. Rattling the Kettle

    You’re right. I didn’t google-map it until after I finished being snarky.

  7. Chris, I am so with you on this one. We’ve had to fly out of or into LaGuardia for work, and it sucks every time. We’ve started going to JFK, though once you go through security there, it’s no man’s land… but at least we have a better chance of an on-time flight.

  8. PJ

    Hey, that sounds like Sydney airport. The experience is the same yet we only have 4 million people in the city compared with NYC’s 8 million!

  9. LMC

    the delays are due to laguardia having two perpendicular runways that are shorter than the average runway. any bit of wind renders one runway useless. if you are in midtown, go to newark.

    -consultant on a first name basis with the TSA screeners at laguardia.

  10. Gwin

    I could’ve written that post in 2000, when the last straw for me was missing a rehearsal dinner for a wedding I was in because my flight out of LGA was delayed 3 hours.

    For a time after September 11, flights were generally on time out of LGA because the airlines had scaled back so much…however, now the airport is back to its original nightmarish state. It’s generally worse when you are going to a less high-profile destination since the LGA folks are more apt to “bump” departure/arrival times for those flights.

    That being said, I agree with the “choose Newark” folks. Just two days ago I was leaving Louisville on the same day as several other people — we were all headed to NYC. My flight to EWR was on time; their flights into LGA landed several hours late.

  11. Pingback: Dream Analysis: Dreams That Go Bump in the Night « east village idiot

  12. Rachel

    I had the same experiences. . .but with the Newark airport. I kept swearing I would never fly out of Newark again. . . and then I moved out of the state so I wouldn’t have to.

    ok, well that wasn’t the reason.

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