Skip to content

AirTrain to LaGuardia could open by 2025, but travelers will have to catch it from Willets Point

Aug. 21, 2020
4 min read
AirTrain to LaGuardia could open by 2025, but travelers will have to catch it from Willets Point
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

New York politicians and civic leaders have long dreamed of a rail line to New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Built on the shore of Flushing Bay, LaGuardia (LGA) is tantalizingly close to Manhattan — but a painful 2.5 miles from the closest subway station. That "last mile" — or the distance between a destination and train station — may finally close, albeit in about five more years.

A proposed AirTran between the terminals at LaGuardia and the Mets-Willets Point subway and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station could open by 2025 if everything goes to plan, according to a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) environmental assessment of the project released on Friday. The AirTrain would close the roughly three-mile gap between the airport and the station.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

The route of the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain connecting Terminals B and C to the Mets-Willets Point subway station. (Image courtesy of the FAA)
The route of the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain connecting Terminals B and C to the Mets-Willets Point subway station. (Image courtesy of the FAA)

The AirTrain would likely be similar to one at nearby New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). It would be an elevated, automated rail line that whisks airport-goers between the Willets Point station and the terminals at LaGuardia.

The trip would take roughly six minutes from Willets Point to the new Terminal B at LaGuardia, according to the documents. This translates to a roughly 42-minute ride to Times Square if connecting to the 7 train, or as little as a 24-minute ride to Penn Station if connecting to the LIRR's Port Washington line. These estimates do not include transfer time between the AirTrain and either subway or commuter rail.

Related: LaGuardia’s new terminal is a major upgrade

The average travel time between LaGuardia and Times Square in a taxi ranges from 36 minutes to 43 minutes, according to the FAA. Those who get stuck in New York's infamous traffic know it can take even longer.

The proposal is not without its faults. Airport-goers coming from Manhattan would have to go several miles past LaGuardia to Willets Point before catching the AirTrain back to the terminals. A more direct alternative would be an AirTrain or subway extension from the existing subway line in Astoria. That idea, however, has been shot down repeatedly by elected leaders as too expensive and not feasible.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: Delta wants to speed up LaGuardia renovation project during pandemic

Travel times between LaGuardia and Manhattan via the proposed AirTrain and LIRR. (Image courtesy of the PANYNJ)
Travel times between LaGuardia and Manhattan via the proposed AirTrain and LIRR. (Image courtesy of the PANYNJ)

If built, the AirTrain could be a capstone in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's massive rebuild of LaGuardia. More than $8 billion in works are underway, including the new Terminal B that has opened in phases since December 2018. Delta Air Lines is building a new Terminal C where the first concourse opened in October 2019.

The proposed airport connection would cost at least $2.05 billion based on the FAA's report. Full funding for the project has yet to be set aside and comes at a time when municipal budgets, including those of LaGuardia operator the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, if everything goes to plan, travelers could look forward to a back-seat train ride to LaGuardia in just five years.

Related: First look at American Airlines’ brand-new concourse at LaGuardia Airport

Featured image by Getty Images

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023