October 25, 2014

Who can fix New York City’s crumbling airports? State governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping someone will, and recently announced a $500,000 design competition for JFK and LaGuardia in tandem with an $8 billion overhaul of the region’s international airports.

Speaking at LaGuardia alongside Vice President Joe Biden, Cuomo called on designers to create master plans that would increase public transportation options, such as better rail access and ferry service from Manhattan to the Queens airport. For JFK, winning designs will enhance the existing rail services, add more service amenities, and upgrade airport facilities across the board.

The two airports need all the help they can get. T+L readers have named JFK the country’s fourth worst airport and LaGuardia fared even more poorly. It earned the number one spot on our list of America’s worst airports, ranking lowest in categories like check-in and security, baggage handling, Wi-Fi, staff communication, cleanliness, and overall design.

Joe Biden agreed with the T+L list, and likened LaGuardia to a third-world country earlier this year.

The T+L Take? Both LaGuardia and JFK have undergone significant improvements at the hands of resident airlines like Delta and JetBlue, which have spruced up their own terminals. This initiative from Cuomo is a welcome sign that the state government will contribute a substantial effort as well.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

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