LaGuardia Airport traffic reaches new level, TSA warns to arrive early

The TSA at LaGuardia Airport is warning travelers to allow for extra arrival time due to construction.
The TSA at LaGuardia Airport is warning travelers to allow for extra arrival time due to construction. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez

Heading to LaGuardia Airport? Leave yourself plenty of time, and then add a bit more for good measure.

Construction woes getting to the Queens airport have been leaving travelers struggling to make their flights, according to the TSA.

The agency warned Wednesday that passengers should arrive a minimum of 2 to 2 ½ hours before their scheduled flight — and even earlier during Labor Day weekend.

The construction, part of the rundown airport’s multibillion dollar redevelopment plan, has reportedly been causing people to abandon their taxis and cars and walk along the Grand Central Parkway to the airport.

But the airport is in dire need of a face-lift, and Vice President Joe Biden once famously described it as what someone might find in “a Third World country.”

A spokesman for LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the group overseeing the renovation, said they are “committed to improving the current situation” but suggested passengers build in extra travel time.

“As construction on the new Central Terminal has gotten underway, a combination of factors have caused traffic delays getting into and out of LaGuardia Airport,” the spokesman, Chris Bastardi, said in a statement. “We are aware of the stress this is causing, realize it is untenable, and apologize to passengers. We are working around the clock to address this issue as quickly as we can, together with the Port Authority. LaGuardia’s congestion issues are not new, and they underscore why the airport needs to be fixed.”

Adding to the congestion on Tuesday, was the temporary closing of checkpoints when two people carrying a small child walked up the exit lane inside one of the terminals, according to the TSA. The people were quickly spotted by a TSA officer and turned around, only remaining in the a “sterile” area for about 20 seconds.

But a new contract security guard “erroneously” closed the checkpoint, according to the agency.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been warning travelers for weeks, posting on Twitter: “Due to construction, #LGA terminal roadways may be congested. Please allow extra time when traveling to the airport.”

The agency wrote on its website that “parking will be limited and some roads will be closed or detoured.”

The agency suggested passengers use several alternatives to get to the airport, including a new “cellphone lot” in Lot P10, where people can park for free up to two hours and wait for arriving passengers, or take public transportation to the airport.

But unlike neighboring Kennedy Airport, public transportation options to LaGuardia are limited. Currently, there are four public bus lines that go to the airport, including the M60 Select Bus Service, which drops commuters off in upper Manhattan.