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OpinionColumnistsRandi F. Marshall

What can Mickey Mouse do for LaGuardia Airport?

Photo Credit: NY Governor’s Office

One adjective travelers to LaGuardia Airport wouldn’t use to describe the experience is “fun.”

But that’s the word executives from LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the consortium of private companies that’s rebuilding much of the airport and taking over some operations, used with the amNew York editorial board last week when they provided an update on the $4 billion renovation of the main terminal, connecting concourses, parking, shopping and dining.

Part of the fix, they said, will be a psychological one — improving travelers’ experiences by adding a bit of Disney-style pixie dust.

Ed Baklor, LaGuardia Gateway Partners’ chief commercial officer, worked for Disney. He said he hopes to bring a bit of the magic to Flushing. That’ll include artwork on the walls, children’s playrooms in the gate areas, and perks like TVs or other entertainment to improve the security-line experience. That might even include jugglers, part of something Baklor calls the “LaGuardia fun squad.”

LaGuardia Gateway Partners has experimented with some of those additions, including jugglers, in the existing central terminal, which it will use as a testing ground for everything from entertainment to food-court seating. There, executives will install three types of chairs and watch which ones travelers like best.

It might seem minor, but those changes could add an important layer to the LaGuardia transformation.

Now, if only that Disney magic could make the traffic and all the other delays disappear.

Randi F. Marshall is a member of amNew York’s editorial board.


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