Washington National Airport Will Become Worse, Just Like LaGuardia [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Two Singapore Airlines A380s towed along public road (HT: David H.)

  • Marriott hotel worker took cash deposits from guests, kept the money for herself instead of applying it against their folios. Eventually after enough people complain it’s not hard to track who did it… Not a good way to commit crime.

  • Air Seychelles goes into bankruptcy

  • Washington National airport’s ‘National Hall’ will soon be behind security. The airport wants passengers “to have all that free time to go through the restaurants and the stores.” But it’ll mean a greater distance from curb to gate, which is the opposite of the purpose of an airport, to get somewhere quickly.

    The only passengers that really benefit from this are those connecting through DCA who’d otherwise need to take the bus between piers (and the C pier is already connected to the new regional jet pier by the way).

  • I finally experienced how awful the new LaGuardia terminal is. Sure, the building is aesthetically more pleasing, but who needs a water feature? The time from curb to gate – with zero wait at security – was half the actual flying time of my New York to DC trip. Is it wrong that I miss this?

  • What to expect on your next flight, if there’s any food at all?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary, you win the internet today with your LGA comment. I was horrified how long it took from curb to gate, i cut my arrival to airports very close to maximize my business time on my trips and missed a flight for the first time in 7 years anywhere while at LGA. Its a theme park now that happens to have planes. Such a letdown in functionality.

  2. The water feature at LaGuardia is actually terrible because it compares extremely poorly to more noteworthy water features at other airports (Changi)

  3. What a shame, that Only Puke (actually Only Pukee) picture is stolen from a UK Daily Mail article

  4. i mean, all people did for years was complain about how awful LaGuardia’s old terminal was. Now that they have almost finished the redone terminal, all we hear are complaints.
    Have you ever flown to Atlanta, not just connected there? it takes quite a bit of time to get to the gate from the curb there. Denver? Same thing. Some people will never be satisfied I guess

  5. @Jason *I* did not complain about how awful LaGuardia was, and was clear from the start on the principles of what makes for a good airport. When changes were announced I explained why it would make the airport worse.

  6. You are wrong to miss it lol

    If the new terminal (haven’t flown it yet) means no longer having to hit the lounge BEFORE security, or if it means no longer being harassed about being able to take an awful bus between piers, or if it means ceilings that no longer trap and permanently affix the vague hint of NYC sewers in the air, then it’s worth it.

    I can appreciate how short the curb to gate time was at LGA and still tell you it was a hellhole of an airport that no one wanted to spend time at. God help you if you *had* to, for any reason.

  7. @Gary Correct about LGA curb to gate. I flew AA in the “old days” as it typically took me < 12 minutes from last D gate to entering a cab in the Western taxi rink when I made the trip 1-2x/week. It was a dump, but super efficient. (It reminds of the old Delta water shuttle to Marine Airt Termina, which was the most functional for me and my saddest loss.) Old terminal aligned perfectly with my priorities. That earned me the right to retire young and enjoy the new airside Centurion lounge as I come and go late am early/afternoon. They can bring in the ducks from the Peabody Hotel for all I care, though if in my road warrior days I'd be upset that they turned it into a leisure airport. (Go over to Delta where they process people like a NYC deli if you want functionality. Terminal B is for the tourists/leisure travelers and politicians. I believe that goal was in the RFP. For a change, the remit was properly executed.)

  8. I agree with 99% of your comments but completely disagree on DCA. The minimal increase in distance (literally feet as it’s simply the direction of an escalator going one way versus the opposite) will be more than overcome by the efficiency of having 2X the screening capacity. I was 2-3X per week in/out of DCA pre-pandemic and am still 3-4X per month now and I am very excited for the opening later this month.

  9. I should also add that the opening of the Centurion Lounge is the cherry on top which would have been a royal PITA in terms of access from another terminal pre-upgrade.

  10. Just a note….@StansaidAirport is one of the better UK satire twitter accounts. Along with @RAF_Luton, it makes for great aviation humor.

  11. Disagree on your take re: DCA Gary. Having pax able to spread out throughout the airside area rather than crammed into the piers will create a benefit that by itself offsets any inefficiencies from the new design. And many business travelers will avail themselves of the formerly landside restaurants which may lessen lounge congestion. I’m all for it.

  12. One of the DCA benefits will be centralizing the queuing function to one TSA facility for all of B/C rather than the four they have now. Theoretically that shortens TSA times although I acknowledge that TSA might respond by changing staffing.

    If you arrive by Metro or are parking your car in the B/C garage and are not checking a bag, then the walk to the gate should be the same. You just clear security on the east side of the Roadway in the new building (same side as you arrived) and proceed underneath the roadway.

    On the other hand, if you arrive by Metro or drive yourself with bags to check the process will clearly be longer:
    a) Walk across the roadway from the Metro to the old facility to check your bag
    b) walk back under the roadway to the new TSA screening
    c) walk back under the roadway over to National Hall

  13. @ Gary — LGA can help you attain your daily steps target. I would rather get mine in an air-conditioned airport than outside in the rain and mosquitoes.

  14. The thing I will miss most about old LGA is the garbage bag taped to the ceiling with a garden hose draining water into a bucket. A marvel of modern engineering.

  15. Have you timed your walking speed now versus 10yrs ago? We may not all be as svelte as before?

  16. I also have been looking forward to not being stuck in only one pier at DCA. And sometimes the security line is really long at one pier and empty at another, so I’m hoping this will spread it out. Once they open a Centurion lounge, that will be good with the new design, too, though it could get pretty crowded.

    Anyway, we will all try it and see shortly.

  17. Great comments and also have to disagree with Gary as a regular DCA user. Having security at the entrance means I will be able to access either of the two DCA Priority Pass restaurants easily no matter what airline I’m flying. This is especially important during COVID when food on airplanes has become worse or nonexistent. As it currently stands, I sometimes have to clear security twice just to use the restaurants. This arrangement will be even more amazing when the Centurion Lounge opens. Huge kudos to DCA for making this change.

  18. Will there be a security gate at the entrance to the “historic lobby” and walkway to Terminal A? On very rare occasions, I have travelled with a coworker on SW while I was on AA. We got dropped off at A and I walked down to B/C. Not sure how that will work if National Hall is all post-security now.

  19. Gary, that “Only Pukeet” snack was clearly never served on China Airlines (and there’s little evidence that it was ever served on any airline at all, considering how this photo was almost 14 years old), so it’s sad to see you give publicity to a completely non-aviation-related tweet from a UK satire account that obviously has a problem with Taiwanese airlines.

    The Harbin beer and mainland Chinese inspection standards on the top of the packaging should have been dead giveaways. If Stansaid Airport wanted to make that tweet sound more realistic, they probably should have gone with Air China instead.

  20. Gary, when the skybridge opens in Terminal B at LGA the walk will be shorter and rather nice above taxiing AA planes.

  21. My experience has been that in most instances (especially with Precheck), I find that lines are shorter when there is an individual security checkpoint for each pier than when there is a centralized security checkpoint.

  22. Just arrived into the new LGA terminal B (on Jet Blue) for the first time. What a disaster. I used to be able to get from gate to curb in under 10 minutes every time, sometimes as little as 5 minutes. Today was a solid 20 minutes plus another 10 minutes waiting for an Uber who was “3 minutes” away.

    My first clue to the disaster was when the sign for baggage claim pointed UP a huge escalator, and then UP another one.

    What a horrendous design. From now on every flight into or out of LGA will be like when you lose the AA JFK lottery and your gate is at the remote terminal instead of right there in front of you after security.

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