LaGuardia Ranks Last in Amenities at Top 20 Airports

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's not just airspace that the New York airports lack, said a group seeking airport improvements. The airports all lack free Wi-Fi, while LaGuardia also lacks children's play areas, adequate mass transit options and cell phone wait lots.

In a report released Monday, the Global Gateway Alliance, formed by real estate investor Joseph Sitt, said Newark and LaGuardia rank at the bottom of the 20th busiest U.S. airports in providing the four passenger-friendly amenities. John F. Kennedy International, meanwhile, tied for sixth; it has play areas, mass transit to Manhattan and a cell phone wait lot,but it lacks free Wi-Fi.

San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle, Minneapolis and Philadelphia airports have all four amenities. Atlanta, Chicago, JFK, Detroit and Boston each have three. LAX, DFW, Denver, Charlotte, Las Vegas and Houston each have two. Newark has one. LaGuardia has none.

"The New York airports ought to have some of the amenities these other airports have," said Stephen Sigmund, executive director of the Global Gateway Alliance. "Lots of airports have them."

In the case of children's play areas, "our airports are among the most delayed in the country," Sigmund said. "They have two- or three-hour waits sometimes. Giving families a place for kids to play is something a lot of airports have realized is important."

Regarding free Wi-Fi, the New York airports accounted for three of the only five major airports in the country that don't have it. As for cell phone wait areas, Sigmund said he recognizes that LaGuardia and Newark are constrained by land shortages. Kennedy has a cell phone waiting area.

JFK and Newark are both served by mass transit and Newark even has a suspended light rail system that connections the airport to a train station. But both require the use of two mass transit systems to reach Manhattan. Additionally, "LaGuardia is the only close-in airport (among the top 20) without viable public transportation," Sigmund said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports, said it is working to make improvements.