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Thunderstorms May Spice Up Your Ho Hum LaGuardia Flight This Week

Dashed Arrow Gothamist

On Monday, automobile traffic clogged all roads leading to and from LaGuardia Airport, stranding travelers trying to get home after landing and forcing those trying to make their flights to make a mad dash for their terminals on foot. Sunday's thunderstorms meant more flights rescheduled for Monday, with some people waiting hours for their flight to take off. In other words, it was just another "Peak Travel" day at America's Saddest Airport. With more thunderstorms forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, travelers flying out LGA may want to consider rescheduling their flights.

The National Weather Service is predicting a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms at LaGuardia after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, with the chance of precipitation hovering around 50 percent through Thursday night. The forecast is concerning enough that Delta, LaGuardia's biggest carrier, is offering passengers an opportunity to reschedule their flights for a different date.

But let's say you roll the dice and decide to fly out of LGA anyway. The Port Authority is recommending that you arrive at the airport with three hours to spare. Not leave three hours beforehand, ARRIVE 180 minutes before your scheduled departure. This is because nearly 90 percent of travelers to LGA choose personal vehicles, taxis, or app-based for-hire vehicles over mass transit, and because the airport will be mired in construction for at least the next two years. The congestion these factors create all but guarantee that even if you take the (free!) M60 LaGuardia link, you will be stopped short of your terminal, as you sit amidst a sea of cars, many of them with one or two people sitting inside.

And don't forget the dread "Ground Delay Program," which essentially means that there's too many flights and not enough runways thanks to traffic and/or delays, giving the Federal Aviation Authority the ability to further delay your flight. (Check on all FAA/government flight delays in real time here. The "help" buttons include a handy glossary of terms.)

This past Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been the driving force behind the $8 billion LaGuardia renovations, sent out a press release announcing that he was taking charge...of notifying the public about the request for proposals for the new "Central Hall" that's being built at the airport.

"Like Ellis Island's Great Hall and Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central, LaGuardia's New Central Hall Will Be Iconic Gateway to New York," the release stated. Left out of the release: how traffic to LGA could be mitigated, and what the governor or the Port Authority are doing about it.

We've asked a spokesperson at the Port Authority if they are doing anything differently to address the difficulty of getting to LaGuardia, and will update if they respond.

"No, look, what's happening at LaGuardia is in some ways unavoidable," Cuomo told WNYC earlier this month. "You need to operate an airport. You need to build a new airport. You need to do it on a tiny plot of land in a very high volume environment. And traffic on high volume days is an almost unavoidable inconvenience."

Right now, the FAA says that due to thunderstorms, flights into LaGuardia are delayed an average of 54 minutes.

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