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New York LaGuardia: From Worst to Best Airport in Five Years

The airport won the ASQ award for best North American airport with 25 to million 40 passengers, alongside Minneapolis/St Paul

by Fergus Cole

March 14, 2024

Photo: LaGuardia Terminal B. Courtesy of PANYNJ

According to the latest Airports Council International (ACI) survey, New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) has greatly improved in recent years, transforming itself from one of the worst airports in the U.S. to one of the country’s best.

On March 11, ACI World released its list of the world’s best airports for customer experience at the annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards, where they collected surveys from nearly 600,000 passengers worldwide in 2023.

Photo: Courtesy of PANYNJ

The awards were handed out to airports with the best overall satisfaction scores, categorized by size and region.

LaGuardia and Minneapolis

LaGuardia was named the best North American airport with between 25 and 40 million passengers per year, alongside Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport (MSP), at the latest ASQ Awards, which is a significant improvement compared to just half a decade ago when it was ranked as the worst airport in the same survey.

The latest survey involved over 4,200 LaGuardia passengers, who gave the Queens airport an average overall satisfaction score of 4.24 out of 5—an impressive 20 percent increase compared to 2018. This is particularly impressive considering the average overall satisfaction for all North American airports rose by merely 1 percent over the same period.

Photo: Courtesy of PANYNJ

The biggest gains for LaGuardia came in the ‘ambiance’ category, which has risen by 21 percent since 2018, followed by cleanliness at 15 percent. The airport also received improved scores for its security screening, gate areas, and dining facilities.

Undoubtedly, the main factor driving LaGuardia’s remarkable transformation from one of the country’s worst airports into one of its best is the multi-billion dollar investment it has received in recent years.

In June 2020, LaGuardia’s Terminal B opened its gates after a $5.1 billion refurbishment that turned it from a somewhat dilapidated building into a bright and modern state-of-the-art facility.

Photo: LGA Terminal B. Courtesy of PANYNJ

The airport’s redevelopment of Terminal C has been significant and cost $4 billion. The new and improved terminal opened in 2022 and is now twice the size of the original building. It includes a Delta Sky Club for passengers and a sensory room designed for neurodivergent travelers to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment.

Rick Cotton, Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told Condé Nest Traveler: “Taking LaGuardia Airport from worst to best is now more than just an aspiration; it’s an accomplishment that passengers have now resoundingly recognized. When we started on our $8 billion transformation of LaGuardia [in 2016], few believed we could create the world-class airport our region deserves.”

Photo: Opening of the new terminal at LaGuardia International Airport. Chris Rank, Rank Studios

Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole added: “There is no better judge of our new airports than the passengers who use them, which is why the ASQ award for best airport going to LaGuardia is so meaningful.”

Apart from LaGuardia and Minneapolis/St Paul, the other North American airports to scoop ASQ awards are:

>40 million pax/year Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
15 to 25 million pax/year Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) and Tampa International Airport (TPA).
5 to 15 million pax/year Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), Indianapolis International Airport (IND), and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).
2 to 5 million pax/year Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), and Portland International Jetport (PWM).
<2 million pax/year Fort McMurray International Airport (YMM) and Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (YXE).