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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/LaGuardia Airport

A new survey says that LaGuardia is far and away the worst airport in the country

Written by
Clayton Guse

LaGuardia Airport is in the middle of an extensive renovation. Come 2022, construction is scheduled to be completed on its facilities, transforming the place into a travel hub worthy of the nation's largest city. Until then, travelers who pass through the airport are forced to deal with a dilapidated set of structures that Joe Biden once famously compared to a third-world country. If a new study from J.D. Power is any indication, the completed renovations at LaGuardia can't come soon enough.

The organization's 2017 North American Airport Satisfaction Study surveyed nearly 35,000 people who have traveled through at least one domestic airport over the last three months. It asked participants to rate North American airports on a medley of factors, ranging from the quality of terminal facilities to airport accessibility to food options. The results showed that LaGuardia is far and away the most miserable airport on the entire continent (something that should come as no surprise to New Yorkers). The airport received a “satisfaction score” of 654 (out of 1,000), which is way short of the national average of 749. The next-lowest rating among airports surveyed was also one regularly used by New Yorkers: Newark Liberty International Airport, which clocked a score of 686. JFK, for the record, was also below the national average with a score of 727.

The work currently underway at LaGuardia promises to answer many of the gripes of the participants in the study. A new AirTrain will make it more accessible by public transportation (even though commuters will have to connect to it through Willets Point); a set of brand new terminals will make passing through the airport more efficient (and less miserable); and a redesigned layout aims to simplify the process of reaching one's gate.

J.D. Power's study is in its 12th year, and the report notes that domestic airport satisfaction ratings hit a record high in 2017—a detail that should confuse any New Yorker who's entered LaGuardia and thought, “Why is this place so terrible?” 

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