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Head-to-head: Which new LaGuardia terminal is better for travelers?

June 18, 2022
10 min read
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New York City's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is no longer the “third-world country” facility that then-Vice President Joe Biden once famously called it.

The airport is undergoing a significant redevelopment project, and much of the (long-overdue) new LGA has finally opened.

The customer-facing work on the new Terminal B is now complete, and Delta Air Lines just inaugurated service from its brand-new Terminal C earlier this month.

Nowadays, most travelers passing through LGA will check in, clear security and arrive at a gorgeous new terminal. (The exception is the Marine Air Terminal, home to Spirit Airlines and JetBlue's Boston shuttle, which will remain open in its historic design.)

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If you’re flying on American Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines or United Airlines, you’ll be using Terminal B. If you’re on Delta, WestJet or Frontier Airlines, you’ll be using Terminal C.

Now that LaGuardia’s two main terminals, B and C, have entered the 21st century, we'll compare them head-to-head on many of the elements that are most important to TPG readers.

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Curb-to-gate experience

Perhaps the biggest complaint about the new LGA is that getting from the curb to the gate takes much longer than it did in the past.

That’s largely because of new pedestrian walkways and a multi-level design that helps ease roadway and aircraft taxiway congestion.

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(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Before the new terminals opened, I could reliably get to my gate within ten minutes of arriving at the airport. Now, it’s much more variable.

Terminal B

Terminal B is made up of three distinct buildings connected via a set of pedestrian bridges.

The central departures and arrivals hall is where all flyers check in, clear security, collect bags and enjoy some pre-flight shopping and dining.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

There is a western and an eastern concourse, each of which is connected to the main hall via an elevated pedestrian bridge.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Getting from the curb to the gate requires just one trip up an escalator and one trip down an escalator. It can take about 15 minutes (without factoring in security) to walk from the drop-off lane to the farthest gate in either concourse.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Terminal C

Meanwhile, getting from the curb to the gate — and walking between gates — will likely take much longer in the new Terminal C.

Terminal C also has a central arrivals and departures hall (called the "Delta Sky Way"), but you’ll need to go up an escalator (or elevator) to get to the central security checkpoint.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

From there, your flight will depart from one of four piers of gates: 60-69, 70-79, 80-89 or 90-99.

While Delta is roughly 80% finished with LGA construction, getting to the 60s and 80s gates will require traversing a temporary walkway that’s sure to slow you down.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Also, if you’re connecting within Terminal C, the walk could take 20 minutes from the farthest gate in the 60s concourse to the farthest one in the 90s concourse.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While it may generally take longer to pass through Terminal C, there is one big advantage to this terminal: There’s a dedicated express drop-off curb designed for those traveling exclusively with carry-on bags.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

There’s an escalator (or elevator) and pedestrian bridge that takes you directly to the security checkpoint, saving you the time and hassle of dodging between travelers dropping off checked bags.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Likewise, there’s a dedicated pedestrian bridge right next to security that’s connected to the parking garage, making it much easier for those leaving their cars at the airport to get to or from the terminal.

Security checkpoint

Terminal B

For frequent flyers, this one is pretty simple — Terminal B doesn’t have any Clear security lanes.

Instead, the terminal offers its own priority-branded security channel that’s available for $15 per trip per traveler. Dubbed “B-Fast,” this product can definitely be a time-saver, especially during peak travel windows.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

In addition to “B-Fast,” Terminal B has dedicated lanes for TSA PreCheck, and priority lanes for premium passengers and elite members in addition to general security.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You can view live security wait times for both terminals on LGA’s website.

Terminal C

As with most Delta terminals nationwide, you’ll find every possible type of security lane in Terminal C, including Sky Priority, TSA PreCheck, Clear general, Clear PreCheck and general screening.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Digital pylons display live security wait times right at the entrance to each lane.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While access to Clear is likely enough for frequent flyers to prefer Terminal C’s security checkpoint, it’s also more technologically savvy — hanging above the checkpoint is a digital art installation made of 34 lenticular panels.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The scenes change with every Delta departure out of LGA. For instance, when a flight to Florida departs, the display will change to a beach.

Lounges

Terminal B

Of all the airport terminals nationwide, LGA's Terminal B could easily be crowned the “lounge king." The terminal features an impressive variety of lounges for travelers.

There are three airline-branded lounges: a United Club, an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge and an American Airlines Admirals Club — each of which was built within the last few years and designed in an open-air style with plenty of amenities.

In addition, Terminal B is home to a signature American Express Centurion Lounge; a Chase Sapphire-branded lounge is in the works as well.

There’s even a Minutes Suite Express and a Be Relax Spa, both of which offer complimentary experiences for travelers holding a Priority Pass membership.

Terminal C

Delta’s Terminal C may not feature as many lounges as Terminal B, but it does have a brand-new flagship Sky Club.

Located right in the center of the airside area of the arrivals and departures hall, the new Sky Club spans nearly 32,000 square feet on a dedicated level above the terminal.

With beautiful finishes, floor-to-ceiling windows and bespoke amenities, the Sky Club at LGA is one of the airline’s nicest and most luxurious.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Plus, it’ll only get better, as Delta is working on the second phase of construction which will bring the lounge's overall area to more than 34,000 square feet. It will also add a year-round Sky Deck outdoor terrace.

Delta is keeping the legacy club near Gate 81 open during the construction process.

Dining and amenities

Everyone has different cravings at the airport, and both terminals have plenty of concessionaires to satisfy those hunger pangs.

Perhaps the most interesting difference between the terminals is that you won't find a Starbucks location in Terminal B. Instead, the terminal has a Dunkin outpost as well as New York City's famous Irving Farm coffee roasters.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Meanwhile, in Terminal C, you'll find four Starbucks stores throughout the concourse.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

In terms of general amenities, both terminals feature fantastic airside views. They have floor-to-ceiling windows, upgraded (and spacious) restrooms and a plethora of outlets in all seating areas.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Terminal B's centerpiece water feature is an eye-catching amenity that you won't find in Delta's Terminal C.

Ride-hailing pickup

Terminal B

When you land in Terminal B, using a ride-hailing service isn’t the most seamless experience.

You’ll need to exit security, pick up your checked bags and walk across a long hallway to the parking garage.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Once there, you’ll find a level dedicated to ride-hailing pickup. You’ll need to locate your driver by row and space number.

It can get quite crowded in this pickup area, and the cell phone reception isn't great either.

Terminal C

Meanwhile, in Terminal C, ride-hailing cars pull up to the standard arrivals curb. There’s no need to walk to a separate area, which is especially convenient for those with checked bags.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Your Uber or Lyft will pull up just steps from the baggage claim.

Parking

Both terminals are connected to a covered parking garage, and you can monitor live availability and prepay for your spot on the airport’s website. There are electric vehicle chargers in both lots as well.

That said, there are some interesting differences between the two lots.

Terminal B

The Terminal B parking garage is connected to the terminal at both the check-in and baggage claim levels. It spans seven levels and has 3,129 parking spaces.

The daily rate is $39, and there are ten EV spots in the garage.

Terminal C

The garage at Terminal C is only connected to the main terminal at the security level. For those without checked bags, that’s a big timesaver both on departure and arrival.

However, if you’re checking bags, you’ll need to take a few extra trips on elevators and escalators when parking in Terminal C.

Parking is also $6 more expensive per day here, with the daily total climbing to $45. This is likely because there are "just" 1,440 spots in this lot.

Bottom line

Ultimately, the LGA terminal you use will largely depend on which airline you’re flying.

The differences aren’t big enough to necessarily choose one airline over another, but there are some interesting considerations if you’re indifferent to the airport's carriers.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Whether it’s access to more lounges in Terminal B or the availability of Clear security checkpoints in Terminal C, be sure to do your research before you arrive at the airport.

When you arrive, be prepared to walk — the biggest similarity between the two new terminals is that it’s going to take you much longer to get from the curb to the gate.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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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.

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  • 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