The 6:05 AM departure of a CRJ-700 to Washington Dulles International Airport on Sunday morning marked both a beginning and an end. It began a new chapter for United Airlines at LaGuardia Airport. At the same time, it marked the completion of the next phase of construction on LaGuardia’s new Terminal B.
The opening of United’s five new gates marked the completion of LaGuardia’s Eastern Concourse. Much of that concourse opened last fall when American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Air Canada moved to the spacious new terminal. However, United’s move had to wait until what remained of the old Central Terminal Building’s ‘A’ Pier was demolished. That demolition project commenced within days of the initial opening. Six months later, the ramp for gates 40-45 has replaced the last of ‘A’ Pier.
Coinciding with the move of United’s gates is the opening of a new United Club. Located airside near Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge, the new United Club overlooks the concourse. Beyond that is a view of the ramp and runways out the terminal’s expansive windows. Inside, the Club is adorned with photos of classic Douglas airliners at LaGuardia and over NYC.
As was the case since it opened, the Eastern Concourse is accessed through a temporary walkway from the existing ticketing area. United’s ticket counter remains in its previous location alongside other airlines in both the new and old concourses. That arrangement will remain in place until sometime in the first half of 2020. At that time, the first of two pedestrian bridges will open connecting the new headhouse to the Eastern concourse.
Access to the United Club is currently up an escalator bank from the main concourse level. That will change once the headhouse and pedestrian bridge open next year. Long term, the lounges will be located on a landing between the escalator banks connecting the pedestrian bridge to the concourse. The eventual entrance will be a grand descent filled with amazing airport views.
What’s still to come at LaGuardia:
While LaGuardia will be under construction for the next several years, the eventual shape of the airport is now becoming clear. To the east of the new headhouse, the shell of the Central Hall is in place. This cavernous space will connect Terminal B to Terminal C. It will also be the location of one of the two stations at the airport for the new AirTrain.
To the west, some of the steel framing is already in place for the Western Concourse. More construction there should be occurring soon since the relocation of United’s gates allows their previous concourse to be demolished. That demolition is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.
Still relatively untouched are Delta’s C and D Terminals. Both will be replaced by a new Terminal C, which will have 37 gates spread across 4 concourses. Construction is underway on new roadways needed for the new facilities. Replacement of the terminal buildings will follow.
If there is one thing that is crystal clear from the portions of the terminal that have already opened, the new terminal spaces are not your father’s LaGuardia. Massive windows are everywhere, and the space is generally warm and inviting. It’s also considerably more spacious in just about every way.