The Tide is Turning at LaGuardia

LaGuardia Airport is the worst. In a city with more subway stops than the rest of the nation combined, it’s only served by a few buses. The food options are grim. The Southwest gates resemble a grimy bus terminal. The former Vice President mocked it saying it was “third world.”

With all of this rightful scorn, an ambitious plan to rebuild was undertaken. Things got worse.

Construction started and the hassles multiplies. It could take up to an hour to get in our out of the airport in a cab. On busy days, the freeway was so backed up that people were getting out of cabs on the shoulder and walking the offramp and into the airport.

But it seems that the tide is turning.

They have recently opened a new procedure for Lyft/Uber and car services. It’s a little chaotic (this is New York after all), but it’s a system that is takes into account the way people are using the airport differently and is designed to solve the free-for-all in the pickup area that plagues major airports. O’Hare is a prime example of how it can go wrong.

And now the Wall Street Journal says the bathrooms are so good, they are the restrooms are the newest star of social media.

Bathrooms are often the first stop at an airport for passengers. Airports say clean, uncrowded facilities that are easy to find are actually a huge factor in how well-liked an airport is, and even in whether travelers will purchase food or shop at airport stores. Bathrooms—clean or dirty—often end up in social media, too.

It is this sort of smart focus on the passenger experience that will dictate the ultimate success of the LaGuardia rebuild. Other airports, as they remodel, redesign, and rebuild their facilities will need to consider not just how to fit in the necessities of the modern airport, but how ticketing, security, baggage, restaurants, transit, rental cars, and everything else works together to enhance the experience of their passengers.