Vice President Biden says LaGuardia Airport is like a ‘third world country’

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — Vice President Joe Biden had some choice words when describing New York’s LaGuardia Airport while addressing the country’s infrastructure problems.

“If I blindfold someone at two in the morning and took them into the airport in Hong Kong, and said where do you think you are, they’d say ‘In America, this must be a modern airport,'” Biden said at an event to unveil Amtrak’s new Cities Sprinter locomotive, which uses an electric engine.


“If I blindfolded you and took you into LaGuardia airport in New York you’d think ‘I must be in some third world country.’”

RELATED: SEE IT: Stranded travelers get a scare when LaGuardia water pipe bursts


LaGuardia has been given the dubious honor of “worst airport in America” by multiple travel magazines and websites.

“I’m not joking,” said Biden, “”Why did we lead the world economically for so long? We had the most modern infrastructure in the world.”

Aging LaGuardia was given elected the worst airport in the country by a 2012 Travel and Leisure survey.  The magazine cited tortuous check-in and security processes, poor baggage handling, terrible Wi-Fi, the ‘worst’ design and a lack of cleanliness and staff communication.  Zagat and Frommer’s agreed in their own reviews of the nation’s airports.

In a statement from the Global Gateway Alliance, an airport advocacy group, Chairman Joseph Sitt agreed with the vice president’s words, but said, “we are not in the business of finger pointing; we’re in the business of investing in our airports and making sure they reflect our world-class city and region. It’s why we need all of our federal, state, and local partners to make investing in modernizing our outdated airports a top priority.”


  • Janice S Lintz

    Kudos!!! Airports all over the world have induction loops including England, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia and Turkey for people who are hard of hearing to hear the announcements similar to the loop in your home. Yet, the only airport in this country with an induction loop is Grand Rapids, Michigan. Why?

    Equal access for people who are hard of hearing is not a mere suggestion but a civil and human right. It is time that the FAA mandates induction loops at all service counters and for announcements.

    Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

  • Meghan

    Have to agree. NYCer living in Hong Kong and it's amazing how good the airport is here. Nevermind the 20 minute direct train to the airport terminal from downtown that leaves every 5 minutes, where you can check in your bags 24 hours before departure! Meaning, tourists can check out of their hotel, go check in to their flight, and then enjoy the day bag free and a guaranteed 20 minute ride from the terminal. Everything works so smoothly, the people are pleasant, the bags come from the plane in minutes, immigration lines are short, great shopping… It's actually a pleasure to go to the airport! And it's the same around Asia – Korea, Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai, even Port of Spain, Trinidad… all of these are miles ahead of the US.

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