Last night we picked up our teenage daughter from LaGuardia airport. She came in from Central America through Miami to LaGuardia (LGA). Originating as an international flight but they went through customs in Miami so the leg to LGA was domestic.
It was a bad weather night in the New York metropolitan area with thundershowers all day and heavy downpours. We knew the flight would be delayed and American Airlines updated the flight status dutifully all afternoon on their site as well as through opted-in reminders we subscribed to. It was frustrating for all of us that the flight was delayed more than two hours but pretty good use of communication overall by American Airlines.
The same cannot be said of the baggage handling at LGA. The baggage claim at LGA is not run by American Airlines or any other airline as it is unionized and the handlers are employed independently. Moreover we got into baggage claim and there were hundreds of people milling about with no signage indicating where the baggage was to be claimed. However there were a number of ancient but blank video screens.
We stood at one baggage carousel talking for ten minutes with another family whose son was on the same flight. Finally my wife (she’s the proactive one here) suspected something was not right and found out that in fact baggage from our flight was at a carousel at the other end of baggage claim. Still without any indication but she found someone who seemed to have an idea.
Then we learned that the baggage was being off-loaded to two carousels. So we had to split and have one of us at one, one of us at the other and the third standing on long line for reporting lost baggage as after 45 minutes we had begun to lose hope.
Finally my wife spotted our daughter’s bag and we were able to leave just as I was about to enter the office to report the bag lost.
Aside from this situation proving that carry-on is the only way to go (not an option when you are backpacking for three weeks), I was shocked, disgusted and disturbed that in one of the world’s busiest airports, the baggage handling was among the worst I’ve ever seen. Believe me when I tell you that Hanoi, Vietnam was cleaner and with better signage than La Guardia.
People that travel into NYC hate LaGuardia. Is it any wonder why? How does this show off my hometown to visitors from other countries? Or those that live in the United States?