I consider myself a pretty smart guy when it comes to getting around airports. Even though I’ve been through Laguardia many times over the years my experience today was another good reminder that you should always try to proceed to your gate as quickly as possible before taking advantage of any free time you think you have.
I was ticketed on a United flight home to Dulles airport and got to the gate about 10 minutes prior to boarding. I was departing from the C terminal which is somewhere less than 20 gates.
Boarding was late to start, though they didn’t seem abnormal because it was a regional jet. After about 15 minutes the gate agent made an announcement that there was something wrong with one of the tires. As a general rule, when I hear certain mechanical issues my brain shifts into a different mode. A tire problem falls into the “I should probably find a different plane” category that characterizes long delays.
When the gate agent asked anyone with a connection to line up so she should start changing their flights, that was my cue to call United customer service. The agent I spoke with had no problem changing my flight to an American one leaving about 45 minutes later.
I left security since I knew I’d need to change terminals and also needed to grab a new boarding pass. A kiosk spit out a boarding pass with gate C42 on it. Admittedly, it took longer than it should have for everything to click into place in my mind. I knew it wasn’t in the C concourse I had just departed (though AA does operate some flights out of there). The AA customer service agent there bluntly refused to answer a question because she said she could only help people who had problems with the kiosk.
I wandered over to an airport employee who told me to go to the D concourse to gate D2. Still not clicking on my head, but as I get over to security at D I realize I’m on the old US Airways shuttle which departs out of Terminal C (not to be confused with the C concourse at Terminal B).
My 45 minutes where drifting away quickly. Once through security I saw the signs for the American Airlines shuttle to Terminal C. It was just past security and marked with a sign for the gate numbers it served.
Short of hopping back and forth like a 5-year old that needs to go potty, I tried to stand there looking patient waiting for the bus. We had an additional stop to make before getting over to the C Terminal, where a light jog got me to the gate with a minute or two to spare.
Had I to do it all over again I wouldn’t have left security, since the AA shuttle from the D concourse stops at the C concourse (of the B terminal, oy that’s gets confusing) on the way to Terminal C. Lesson learned and hopefully it saves someone else that same time I wasted.
All good on the ground back in DC on my way home to see the family!