A yearlong J.D. Power survey published last week found that LaGuardia Airport ranked dead last among large American airports in customer satisfaction.
It was a truly shocking blow. Airport goers were absolutely stunned. Stunned.
Customers waiting for the Q70 airport shuttle, told about the low marks for the airport they were hustling to get to, couldn’t believe it. They didn’t have time to. They were busy explaining to tourists how to decipher the Select Bus Service kiosks outside the Roosevelt Avenue-Jackson Heights subway station. Once on the bus they were non-busily waiting in bumper-to-bumper on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. “Hold on, I have some complex math to do,” one beleaguered mother with three suitcases in tow admitted. She was staring down at the red line of traffic on her Google Maps app, calculating the likelihood of getting to the gate in time for boarding.
Frequent flyers in taxis and Ubers inched towards LaGuardia, passing the construction that is supposed to someday make LaGuardia more passable. They were confused about the low ranking.
“D’you mean the old LaGuardia is bad, or the new one?” asked one father of four hoping to catch his flight to Florida. There was plenty of confusion as cars got whole feet closer to the airport proper, because the destination looked less like an airport and more like an archeological site, one that had already been ransacked by 19th century Englishman but hadn’t been 20th-century restored.
Five out of every 15 passengers eventually figured out which lane of traffic they were supposed to be waiting in, finally arriving at the line for security. A few hours later, admitted into the hallowed precincts of LaGuardia’s terminals, they shrugged when questioned about the low ceilings, the stressful fluorescent lighting, the smell of old-hotel-after-thunderstorm that gathered around the place like unattended luggage.
“This is nothing,” said Jim from Maspeth. “One time, I had three delayed flights in a row cancelled, even though the drizzling had stopped thirty six hours earlier, and the only thing to eat was Auntie Anne’s Pretzels but just the hot dogs, not the pretzels.”
Just then an alarm system started going off and 45 minutes later the PA system announced that it had just been a test, there was no emergency.
Jim emerged unscathed from a strange new contraption called a Jabbrrbox, which is a little soundproof office you can rent while you wait if you’re into claustrophobia in Terminal B.
“This is fine,” Jim said with bravado. “I never really understood why Biden thought it was a third-world airport.”
For those who’d flown into LaGuardia and were searching for a way out, there was the pleasant choice of public transportation, the hellscape of a snaking taxi line, or an under-marked walk through construction to the parking garage where apparently Ubers and Lyfts now crowd and fight to pick you up.
“I bet this could be worse,” said an Australian off a 20-hour flight. She was looking forward to checking out the nocturnal New York City subway system.