When it comes to driving routes for a JFK airport pickup, George Costanza advocates taking the Grand Central to the Van Wyck, deriding Kramer’s L.I.E. route as a “suicide mission.” In the current New York Magazine cover story, “How to Escape Airport Hell”, the editors invited chauffeur Kevin Sullivan to weigh in. While he comes down squarely on Costanza’s side, he also shares some invaluable alternative routes to all three airports in the unlikely event that traffic is snarled. (Or you can skip all that and can save a fortune by taking the subway and AirTrain to JFK and subway/bus to La Guardia, which really isn’t as aggravating as it sounds.)

2007_11_jfkline.JPGAnd in the inconceivable event that your flight’s delayed, the magazine has some nearby off-airport restaurant recommendations, such as the souvlaki at the Cypriot BZ Grill near La Guardia and Singh’s Roti Shop near JFK, where the grub is so good and cheap that travelers are advised to “order half the menu.”

They also sent their gastronomically intrepid Adam Platt on a trip into the heart of airport dining darkness, and the man lived long enough to write about it. At La Guardia’s Rocco’s Yankee Clipper, Platt witnessed french toast that “looked like vulcanized rubber”, forced down “radically undercooked rib eye” and $14 martinis at Newark’s Gallagher’s Steak House, and ultimately favors the smoked chicken-and-avocado sandwich at the new Balducci’s in the JFK Delta terminal.

Other flight-delay options are weighed in the issue, including buying a day pass into one of the exclusive airport lounges ($50 admits the rabble into La Guardia’s pre-screening United Airlines Red Carpet Club, where you can monitor video of the lines at the security checkpoints and decide when to make your move). Passengers stuck in JFK’s JetBlue terminal can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi while getting a massage or wax at Oasis Day Spa. Poor slobs delayed at Newark make out the worst; the magazine seemingly leaves them for dead, suggesting they either pay $45 to drink in the Continental Presidents Club or, um, go get prescriptions filled at Gate 49’s Harmony Pharmacy.

Got coping mechanisms or survival tips for New York’s airport insanity? Send help in the comments.

Top photograph of a sign at the San Diego Airport by ThePinkSuperhero on Flickr; lower photograph of an hour-long wait for cabs at JFK by pazzia on Flickr