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JFK vs. LaGuardia: Which Airport Should I Fly Into?

Comparing Airport LGA to JFK When you’re flying out of an airport, there are plenty of things to consider: frequent flyer lounges, restaurants, and so on. But when you’re flying into an airport, there’s usually a single overriding concern: how fast you can leave. This is why our passengers often ask us: “Which of New York City’s airports should I fly into?”

Delayed Flights Comparison

If you’re a serious traveler, you may want to bookmark the US Department of Transportation website. From this page, you can select the most-used airports in the country and review all kinds of statistics, including an on-time performance summary. We checked out the most recent results for JFK, LaGuardia and, for good measure, Newark Liberty International Airport. Here’s how they compare, from best to worst:

Percent of Arriving Flights That Were On Time
(March 2015 – February 2016)

Airport Arrivals Departures
JFK 77 79
Newark 76 75
LaGuardia 73 76

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Construction at LaGuardia airport may impact your decision.  A full airport renovation through 2021, often causes considerable ground-side congestion.  Read the full story on LaGuardia Construction.

As you can see, you’re more likely to be delayed if you’re flying into LaGuardia. In fact, of the 29 most-used airports in the country, LaGuardia ranks dead last in terms of the percent of arriving flights that were delayed from March 2015 to February 2016. It’s also the worst major airport in the country in terms of the percentage of flights that were canceled during this period (3.5%, compared to 2.7% for Newark and 1.6% for JFK).

In this respect, Newark and JFK are only slightly better choices, but they are better than LaGuardia.

What About Going Through Immigration?

Experienced international travelers know that getting off the plane in your home country isn’t the end of the road: You still have the immigration line ahead of you. But once again, the U.S. government tracks flight processing times, more commonly known as “wait times.” LaGuardia isn’t tracked and results vary by terminal at JFK and Newark, but the bottom line is that immigration lines are shorter on average at Newark than they are at JFK.

Getting to Your Home or Hotel

If you’re heading into New York City, LaGuardia is the closest: It’s just 8.6 miles from LaGuardia to Midtown Manhattan, compared to 14.7 miles from JFK and 16.6 miles from Newark. If you’re going from LaGuardia to Connecticut or from JFK to Connecticut, LeGuardia is also the closest: It’s 32 miles from Stamford, compared to 38 for JFK and 59 for Newark.

Construction and Traffic at LaGuardia

With all of that being said, it is well worth noting again that traffic in and around LaGuardia may impact your decision.  The airport construction is expected to take 4 years.

“LaGuardia Airport is beginning a multi-billion-dollar redevelopment program. Passengers will continue to travel through LaGuardia during the airport’s construction period.  Parking will be limited and some roads will be closed or detoured.”

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The Bottom Line

So which airport should you fly into? As you can see, there are several factors to consider, including expected traffic levels when your flight is scheduled to arrive. JFK probably has an edge on LaGuardia when it comes to the potential frustration factor, while LaGuardia may be a few miles closer to your home, hotel or business meeting.

New York City Airport Limousine Service

One thing that we do know is that, especially after a long flight, there’s nothing like a relaxed, private car or limousine ride to take you on the last leg of your trip. A reputable New York or Connecticut airport limo service will monitor airplane flight arrival data in real time, often from FAA-authorized information transmitted directly from aircraft transponders. So whether your in-bound flight is running early or behind schedule – and even if you’re arriving late at night or first thing in the morning – your chauffeur should always be there to meet you. And an experienced driver will likely know the best way to your destination, getting you there as quickly as possible while allowing you to rest or prepare for a meeting. Likewise, taking a limousine to JFK or LaGuardia from Connecticut is a great way to start your trip.

About Teddy’s

Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, Teddy’s Transportation System provides professionally managed, dependable transportation services in Fairfield and Westchester Counties and the New York metropolitan area. We also provide competitively priced airport car service to all New York area airports, as well as airports in and around White Plains, Hartford, New Haven, Boston, Providence and Albany. For more information on Teddy’s, go to www.teddyslimousine.com or call 800-888-3339.

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