Delta Shuttle First Class New York LaGuardia/Marine Air Terminal – Chicago O’Hare – Flight Review

By Jonathan Spira on 16 February 2016
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Once a year, I subject myself to a trip that, on the surface, appears insane: I fly to Chicago in early February for the Chicago Auto Show. It was cold, but not quite arctic-like, in New York as I headed to the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia for the flight. I relish these departures as I can envision the Pan Am Flying Boats taking off during what was the first golden age of flight.a

Delta, which took over the Marine Air Terminal from Pan Am after the latter ceased operations in 1991, operates its Washington, D.C. and Chicago shuttles from the terminal (it moved the Boston shuttle to its main terminal building at LaGuardia when it introduced its fleet of Boeing 717 for that route).

While the terminal has no Sky Club, it operates in such a fashion that it’s possible to arrive minutes before boarding and go from curbside to airside – including clearing security (even if you don’t have PreCheck – and PreCheck makes it even faster) and walking to your gate – within minutes.

Marine Air Terminal rotunda

Marine Air Terminal rotunda

My flight was scheduled to depart at 1:30 p.m. local time and boarding was set to begin at 1 or so. Having switched departure times, I ended up not being in my usual seat, 1A, but rather in 2D. I asked the agent if 1A or any seat in the bulkhead row in first might be available and he said he’d let me know, noting that most people – unlike myself – prefer not to be in that row. A few minutes later, he paged me and handed me a paper boarding pass for 1A.


Boarding was just about to start when I received my new seat assignment and the agent invited me to board immediately. I was the first one on the plane and made myself comfortable while other passengers trickled in.

The flight attendant working in first was busy hanging up heavy winter coats (I wondered how they’d all fit in the small closet) and still managed to serve everyone a pre-departure beverage or two. She was very friendly and welcoming.

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