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Airports We Love to Hate: “Tear Down LaGuardia!”

April 29, 2010 | Posted in: Travel Tips

airports love hate laguardia

Oh, how the mighty have fallen – and I’m talking to you, LaGuardia.

Back in 1960, the airport named for one of the city’s most colorful mayors (and that’s saying something) was voted the “greatest airport in the world”. Today, a Port Authority official calls LaGuardia, “chaotic” – and, as Reuters reports, he went on to say that the facility “is so outdated that it should be completely demolished and rebuilt.”

What the 26 million passengers that fly in and out of LaGuardia would do in the meantime is beyond me.

So – what other airports should be “demolished and rebuilt”? My editor votes for LAX – Los Angeles – but adds, “They have to keep their mitts off that bizarre Jetsonian “Encounter” restaurant smack in the middle of the airport that looks like a space ship and no one you know has ever eaten there.” Whew – she can be sassy.

Anyone else with an airport candidate for destruction and rebuilding? Share in the comments, please.

17 Responses to “Airports We Love to Hate: “Tear Down LaGuardia!””

  1. Chris Williams says:

    You can add Memphis International Airport (MEM) to that list. The terminal corridors are so narrow and the ceilings so low as to trigger claustrophobia when passing someone walking in the opposite direction. Add in an almost total absence of natural light, and you have one of the least traveler-friendly major airports in the U.S.

  2. Jamie says:

    I’ve eaten at Encounters a half-dozen times. Especially when I have a 2 PM flight and am worried about LA traffic. I’ll get to the airport early, check my bag, and then go across the street to eat lunch.

    It’s actually pretty good.

  3. Frequent Flying Squirrel says:

    LAX is a disaster. Hard to get to, no real clear road to get in and out of it from, and the cell phone lot (at only 79 spaces) is so far away and annoying to navigate to, it’s as if they found the only open parcel of land in the area and put up a parking lot. Worst of all, no train service to it. I pay the extra money to fly out of Burbank if it’s possible–so very handy and easy to traverse.

    AND train service.

    LaGuardia though I’ve never had a serious problem with. At least the signs are clear as to where to go.

  4. Jerry says:

    Many airports in the U-S have gone, or are currently undergoing renovation. By and large, I enjoy most of them, much more than actually flying on cramped planes where it costs almost as much for my baggage as for my ticket. That said, sections of the St. Louis Airport have seen their better days. I agree 100% on the labrynth of despair, coffee stains and cacophony of smells that is LAX.

  5. Ted says:

    Oh in a word…well four words to be precise,

    San Francisco International Airport.

    I know they just sunk a bunch of money into a fairly new terminal but lets look at it this way.

    Runways: They are too close together to permit “dual use” when visibility is down below, and Rick correct me if I am wrong, 1000 feet. Hmmmm San Francisco known for its fog, when is visibility not down that low. Same with when it rains. Again with the Hmmm rain during the winter. Both of these issues lead up to some pretty dreadful on time performances (seriously I plan on a 60 min delay flying into or out of SFO during the winter).

    There was a plan to expand the distance between the runways a few years ago but the NIMBYs got involved.

    So I say tear it down.

  6. Rick Seaney says:


    I’m delighted with the restaurant review; please tell us your favorite dish there, so my editor will quit bugging me.


  7. Rick Seaney says:


    It’s not looking very promising for California’s airports. Thank you all for your opinions.


  8. Chris says:

    Well from someone who fly’s 5 days a week, I agree about LaGarbage! By far the worst airport in the world. Tear it down! Who cares about the 26 million who choose to go to that rat race place! After LaGarbage I would say Honolulu. For those that have been there I am sure they know it is a dump! On the other side of the scale Tampa, Phoenix and Wichita are real nice airports. User friendly, not to bad on delays and friendly people!

  9. Rick Seaney says:


    I hear a lot of very positive comments about Tampa, as well.


  10. Olga T says:

    How does DFW look comparing to other airports? I personally like it :) well, certain terminals

  11. Freddy says:

    I agree that LAX is easily the worst major airport in the U.S.A. However, if you have never been to, or worse, transferred from international to domestic at London Heathrow then you have truly never experienced hell on earth!

  12. Bill S. says:

    Hey, Rick, how about a new topic, “SERVICES OFFERED AT AIRPORTS!”

  13. Greg Salter says:

    We’ve eaten at Encounter many time and love it! Glad to hear the renovation is coming to an end.

  14. rainyb says:

    re LAX – I often have to use the Bradley Intl terminal when on my way to/from an internationl destination. That terminal is a zoo & a disgrace. It looks like a terminal in a 3rd world country. If I had a choice, I would not use LAX or fly through the US at all, but that’s another issue…..

  15. Rick Seaney says:


    You know, that’s a good idea – some of the more interesting or unusual services offered at airports. Let me look into that…


  16. Rick Seaney says:


    Glad to hear you liked Encounter – in fact, despite what my editor thinks, it seems like plenty of people have eaten there – and liked it.


  17. Rick Seaney says:


    I’m with you, I think DFW has a lot going for it.

    Thanks for writing,

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