Golden Age of Flight: Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, New York – Review

By Paul Riegler on 17 February 2016
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Flying the Delta Shuttle out of the Marine Air Terminal harkens not only to the golden age of flying but it’s also as close to flying private as most people will get. Most passengers pass through the new shuttle entrance, missing the historic rotunda with its amazing skylight, the James Brooks’ WPA “Flight” mural (a Great Depression era project that stands 12’ (3.7 meters) high and 235’ (72 meters) wide and depicts the relationship of man and aviation). By doing this they also deprive themselves of departing New York City much in the same manner as air travelers did in the 1940s.

While the terminal lacks some amenities, such as a Delta Sky Club when compared to the larger terminals at LaGuardia, it makes up for it in its small-town atmosphere with very personal and friendly service.

The $4 billion planned remake of LaGuardia Airport that Governor Cuomo announced last summer, makes it likely that Delta will consolidate its operations in the new terminal building. Therefore it’s advisable to get in a few visits as soon as you find convenient.

Signs inform visitor's of the terminal's history and significance

Signs inform visitor’s of the terminal’s history and significance

Given that the terminal is on the National Register of Historic Places, a list of buildings and sites that the U.S. government has deemed worthy of preservation, it’s unlikely that the terminal would be knocked down the way the Pan Am Worldport was at John F. Kennedy International Airport, but at some point it may no longer serve commercial aviation.

The Marine Air Terminal is truly the last of its kind. It is the only remaining airport still in operation that inaugurated the age of air travel in the United States. Seaplanes, such as the Pan Am Clipper, a magnificent Boeing B-314 aircraft with a wingspan of 152’ (46 meters) and a capacity of up to 74 passengers and 10 crew, were its mainstay. Capable of cruising at 188 mph (302 km/h), the double-decker flying boat featured private compartments, elegant dining room, and sleeping quarters, including a honeymoon suite at the rear of the cabin.

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