Inside LaGuardia Airport’s Posh New Central Terminal Concourse, Now Open to Passengers

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After years of mounting criticism, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made it his mission to transform “what is now an outdated and poorly designed complex into the world-class airport New York has always deserved.”


The new concourse, which will be home to Air Canada, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, is part of the $8 billion overhaul of the much-maligned airport. United Airlines will join that group and start using the new concourse in 2019.

Passengers check in at kiosks and check-in counters in the old terminal building and only enter the new building after clearing security.

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After a short walk, I entered a beautiful, modern, and airy terminal that could have been an airport in another city, if not in another country.

The new concourse features soaring 55’ (18-meter) ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that bring natural light into the terminal, allowing for an indoor park with benches and live fig trees (even larger trees are on order, according to the airport’s guest experience manager).   A children’s play area allows young travelers to design their own airplanes and watch their design take off from a virtual LaGuardia runway on a giant display.

Passengers and employees alike – from shop clerks to travelers to TSA agents – were smiling as they became acquainted with their new surroundings. The clerk at one of the smaller food shops told me, whilst I was paying for a bottle of water, to make sure to visit the rather striking new restrooms. (She was right, incidentally, they are rather striking in their design.)

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