LaGuardia Airport’s newest concourse is fully open with a brand-new section for American Airlines, 4 more gates, and a premium lounge— see inside

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Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

LaGuardia Airport and American Airlines are celebrating the opening of the second half of Terminal B’s Western Concourse.Four new gates opened on Thursday along with new retail shops and a 20,000-square-foot American Airlines Admirals Club.As part of the LaGuardia redevelopment plan, the new Terminal B is replacing the 1960s-era Central Terminal Building.Christmas has come early for travelers going through LaGuardia Airport.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The latest phase of the renovation and overhaul for the infamous airport made its debut on Thursday with the opening of new gates, retail shops, and lounges in Terminal B.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Two concourses in LaGuardia’s current flagship terminal are now fully open and the redevelopment as a whole is 90% complete.

By 2023, Terminal B will be completely transformed.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

I visited the newly opened LaGuardia terminal and saw how it has turned the infamous airport into one of the best in the US

Thursday’s opening also marked the end of a nearly 60-year era for the Central Terminal Building, from which the final flight departed on Wednesday night.

Known for its low ceilings and aging infrastructure, the piers have only served to bring down LaGuardia’s reputation in recent years.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Insider joined representatives from American Airlines and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the private company tasked with the terminal’s redevelopment, on a tour of the newly opened section of the Western Concourse.Here’s what travelers can expect.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

American Airlines will be the Western Concourse’s primary tenant and the airline’s passengers, as a result, will be the beneficiaries of Thursday’s expansion.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Passengers bound for the Western Concourse will proceed through the arrivals and departures hall, also known as the headhouse, as they normally would.American’s ticket counters remain in their usual positions and going through the Transportation Security Administration’s security screening will remain the same.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

And while en route to the new concourse, travelers will notice that Terminal B’s retail area, currently covered in holiday decorations, is being filled out with more and more shops and restaurants.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

In the mall section, called The Bowery Bay Shops, Minute Suites is the latest addition in which travelers can reserve a private room to rest and relax before a flight.

Travelers enrolled in the Priority Pass program can use Minutes Suites through their membership.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

I used a credit perk to dine for nearly free at an airport restaurant and it’s my new favorite travel hack

Eateries in the terminal span from fast-food spots like Wendy’s to Texas-style barbecue joints like Hill Country Barbecue Market.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Sit-down restaurants have also opened in the terminal including Mulberry Street, an Italian restaurant from chef Marc Forgione.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Not all eateries have opened in the terminal even after more than one year since its June 2020 debut.

But the hope is that more will open as construction comes to an end and more passengers visit the terminal.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Passengers bound for the Western Concourse will still have to use a temporary passageway to get to their gates as the pedestrian bridge has still yet to be completed.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Once construction on the pedestrian bridge is complete in early 2022, travelers will have a more direct routing to the Western Concourse with a shorter walking distance to boot.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The shell of the bridge is largely complete and sits just behind a temporary wall in the terminal.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

A new restaurant will also be opened along the pedestrian bridge with an outdoor seating area that offers direct views of the Manhattan skyline.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

And once the passenger bridge is open, aircraft will be able to taxi underneath it just as they can underneath the pedestrian bridge connecting the headhouse with the Eastern Concourse.The additional taxi lane will help prevent the congestion that once plagued Terminal B.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

But until the bridge is ready, travelers will still have a bit of a walk in order to get to the Western Concourse that actually includes a trip back in time to the old Central Terminal Building.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

This connector that currently bridges the two buildings is one of the old passageways that linked the former Terminal B parking garage with the check-in area.Passengers also walk through a hallway from the Central Terminal Building.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

LaGuardia Gateway Partners estimates that the walking time from the security checkpoint to the Western Concourse is between six and seven minutes.It’s a shorter walk to the Western Concourse than the Eastern Concourse that will be aided by moving walkways.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The difference between the old Concourse D and the newly-opened section of the Western Concourse is immediately clear as the developers have gone from one extreme to another.Incredibly low ceilings in the former terminal have been replaced with 55-foot ceilings in the new one.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

While travelers formerly had to fight for space in the old terminal, there’s almost too much space in the new one.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

LaGuardia Gateway Partners designed the airport to have the feel of a hotel lounge.

And as such, travelers may notice that the sights and sounds of the terminal are not the same as they might expect from other airports.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Concessionaires have limits on how they play music and terminal announcements are kept to a minimum.Carpeted flooring also keeps noise levels down in the gate area as opposed to the tiled flooring commonly found at other airports.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Even lighting fixtures have are not the type to be found in a typical airport.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The concourse is very clearly built for arriving and departing passengers rather than connecting passengers as the majority of American’s customers are either originating or terminating in New York.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Signage for arriving passengers guides them towards baggage claim rather than to connecting gates and most of the flight information display screens are located towards the center of the concourse as opposed to in the main gate areas.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

As the first half of the Western Concourse has already opened, businesses have been able to open and are already serving customers.Eateries include Bar Veloce, Beecher’s Market Café, Sweetleaf Coffee, and Gotham News while retail stores include The Scoop and InMotion.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The Scoop will use Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology that replaces cashiers with cameras that detect purchases.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

I visited a brand-new Amazon Go-powered store at Newark Airport and it’s clear more airports should adopt the tech as travel returns to normal

Some of the shops and eateries in the Western Concourse won’t open until the new year with future eateries including the Hunt and Fish Grill and Mi Casa Cantina.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

A new arrival in the terminal that opened along with the new gates is the American Airlines Admirals Club.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Located on the second floor of the concourse, American opened the first phase of its 20,000 square foot lounge on Thursday with a capacity for around 130 passengers.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The full lounge will be able to accommodate more than 350 passengers — around 50 more passengers than the former Admirals Club in Concourse D — allowing more of American’s flyers to be welcomed in.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The Admirals Club is conveniently located at the bottom of the pedestrian walkway that brings passengers to the Western Concourse and is the last stop before descending down into the gate area.Behind a temporary wall is the escalator bank used to access the pedestrian bridge.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

A team of American customer agents greets customers and processes them into the club.They can also assist with travel itineraries when needed.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

A living room greets passengers as they enter complete with a mix of armchairs and couches.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

American used New York City-inspired design elements with darker design accents including black metal and rustic finishes, in line with the terminal’s goal to incorporate local flair into the redevelopment.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

But the colors of the American brand can be found throughout the lounge.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Glass walls along the edge of the lounge let patrons look down into the concourse while still providing a modicum of privacy.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

There are no COVID-19 pandemic-related capacity restrictions in effect and seats are not blocked off for social distancing, as was the case for most of 2020.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

An informal cafe can be found at the edge of the lounge that’s intended to be a temporary placeholder until larger dining areas open in the final phase of the lounge.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

All food in the lounge is self-serve and options consist mostly of snacks including hummus, snack mixes, cheese cubes, Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Pastries and sweets also include Rice Krispie treats, cookies, and marble bread.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Hot options include Italian wedding soup and lounge staff also serve avocado toast and guacamole throughout the day.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The complimentary lounge offering is intended to be small bites while more fulfilling food items can be purchased.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Menus are accessible via QR codes found throughout the dining area.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Some alcoholic drinks are complimentary in the lounge and a full bar will open once the second phase is completed in spring 2022.The liquor display found in the Concourse D lounge will be brought into the new section, as well.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

A variety of seating can be found in the cafe area ranging from small tables to private booths.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

And while there are no seats blocked for social distancing, lounges are already designed to maximize privacy.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Individual seats with high walls, for example, are ideal for solo travelers looking to keep their distance and privacy in luxury.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

JetBlue departures are also displayed on flight status boards in the lounge as part of the new Northeast Alliance between JetBlue and American.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

American and JetBlue passengers departing out of the terminal’s Eastern Concourse will, however, have to leave some extra time to walk over to the other building.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Thursday’s debut is just the latest cause for celebration at LaGuardia but the hits will keep on coming.Delta Air Lines will be opening the first phase of its terminal renovation plan in the spring as part of a $3.9 billion project.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Delta is months away from debuting its new $3.9 billion terminal at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with 37 gates and its largest lounge ever

Chase will be building a lounge of its own, the Chase Sapphire Lounge, in partnership with The Club, giving the airport its first lounge that will be open to Priority Pass members and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

The Chase Sapphire Lounge will join the new American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal B that’s open to all Platinum and Centurion cardholders.Touring American Express’ new Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Amex just opened its newest lounge inside LaGuardia Airport’s brand-new terminal and it’s just what the infamous airport needed

In less than a decade, nearly all of LaGuardia’s terminals will be entirely new builds.The only remnant of the old LaGuardia will be opposite the airport at the 1930s-era Marine Air Terminal.

Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

In 10 years’ time, using New York City’s two airports will be a radically different experience for air travelers.Touring LaGuardia Airport’s new Western Concourse at Terminal B.Thomas Pallini/Insider

Read the original article on Business Insider .

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