Delta's new concourse is a tantalizing preview of the LaGuardia renovation
Delta Air Lines officially moved all of its shuttle flights to its new concourse at New York's LaGuardia airport on Nov. 16. TPG got a preview of the building before it opened, but — now that it's up and running — we wanted to see what it was like as a passenger.
In the next few years, LaGuardia (LGA) will have an entirely new slate of terminal buildings (aside from the landmark Marine Air Terminal, which currently houses JetBlue's operations at the airport). As that effort moves along, the new Delta concourse is a great preview of how much the project will improve the traveler experience at LGA.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Even from the highway, the new building stands out. Bright and airy, you can see into the terminal across the water as you approach the airport on the Grand Central Parkway.
Inside the concourse, which houses gates 92 to 98, it felt for once like LaGuardia was a clean and efficient modern airport.
"This is much nicer, it's brighter, open. The other one is cramped," said Ted Woehrle, a management consultant who was flying on Tuesday's 7:59 a.m. Delta Shuttle flight to Washington.
Woerhle said he lives in Atlanta and that it was his first time on the Shuttle, though he added he has plenty of experience with LaGuardia. He often flies into the older terminal buildings when visiting family or coming to New York for business. He wasn't aware of the new concourse when he booked his flight, and when he saw he had been assigned a gate number in the 90s, he braced for the worst.
"I thought it would be run down and under construction. I thought it would be an old building," he said. "This is good!"
In many ways, Delta's new concourse feels like a new, much smaller airport in some other city. It's on the very edge of LaGuardia's property, so close to the water it can seem like the East River is lapping up against the windows from the right vantage point. And since it primarily serves Delta Shuttle flights, the gates are mostly occupied by regional jets. Still, there were a few mainline services on Tuesday morning: a flight to Birmingham, Alabama, and a delayed flight to Jacksonville, Florida. (Even a new building can't help late-arriving aircraft.)
The building itself was fairly empty and quiet at 6:30 a.m. this past Tuesday. But the crowds had begun to swell by the time my 7:59 a.m. flight to Washington Reagan National began to board.
Subtle Christmas decorations added to the celebratory atmosphere of the new concourse, which was still trumpeting its own newness with signage announcing its recent opening. Even the bathroom was nice.
During a press preview of the building last month, officials made special mention of the concessions, which are stocked by local vendors. And the prices were in line with what you might pay outside of the airport.
The H&H Bagel shop was selling a bagel with cream cheese and lox for $12.95, the same as it would in its Manhattan location.
Of course, some things still seemed to have an airport premium. Among those: a $17 omelette at the Flatiron Tavern, or a $3.25 bottle of water at the Fiorello Market. But even those prices weren't beyond the pale for a post-security airport concession.
As construction at LaGuardia continues, passengers using the rest of the airport can look forward to more improvements and comforts like those available in the new Delta concourse.
All photos by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy.