After my visit to Connecticut, it was on to Charlotte for a Monday morning meeting. I flew from LGA-CLT on Sunday evening on American Airlines as it was the only nonstop option. I used up an old AA gift card to offset the price of the ticket.
I dropped my car off at National and walked over to the new Terminal B. You can still see the old building in front when walking over from National, so you don’t get a sense of how impressive the new terminal is until you arrive. You also have to walk through the parking deck and it can be a bit confusing to find the right direction.
Security was very fast at 4pm on a Sunday. There is no CLEAR available, but PreCheck was open and worked fairly well. I did notice that they still have the old scanners in use. I expect they will be replaced with the new automated bin-return scanners as part of the final renovations.
The new terminal itself was very impressive with sweeping views of the river and lots of natural light. There is also an internal fountain in the center of the main terminal area that spells out messages and patterns.
The Centurion Lounge is over on the right side of the terminal on the way to Gates 40-59. Once you enter, the lounge is on the same level as the entrance so there is no elevator or escalator, unlike many other lounges. At this time on a Monday, the lounge was very busy, but there was no wait to enter.
I walked around until I found an empty cubby seat at the far end of the lounge that had its own small table and charging outlet. I’m not a big fan of the way Amex lays out the lounges with the divided rooms instead of one large room like most airline lounges. I feel that it takes away even more valuable seating space without adding anything to the lounge’s ambience or reducing the noise level.
I checked out the buffet and there was a chicken dish, some veggies and salad, along with just cookies for dessert. This was probably the worst food offering I have seen at a Centurion Lounge, but I made a meal out of it. I did manage to get a couple of drinks at the bar, which is the one thing I find to be a cut above a SkyClub in terms of the premium beverages that are included.
I spent about an hour in the lounge. The wi-fi was fast, and the bar never got too crowded. Overall, I liked this lounge, but I don’t love Centurion Lounges in general. They are just too crowded and the food, despite being enough for a meal, was just OK. I would prefer if they did small plates with a bit more variety rather than a big vat of some chicken dish and a couple of veggie options. The new SkyClub at LGA had way better food on offer, but if you are not flying Delta then the Centurion Lounge is probably a better option food and drink-wise than the Admirals Club or United Club.
At around 6pm, I walked back down the terminal to the walkway to Gates 11-31 which was a very impressive glassed-in walkway with fantastic views. At the entrance to the gates, I went down a long escalator and could see the new Admirals Club which stretches across the top of the escalator.
One minor criticism of the new gate area was that the gates were so close together that no one could tell what line we were in when two flights next to each other were boarding at the same time. I had an uneventful flight down to Charlotte with a rare sight these days, an empty middle seat next to me.
Overall, the new Terminal B (along with the new Terminal C) has turned LaGuardia into a great airport after years of being a laughingstock. Up next is a review of the Centurion Lounge in Charlotte.
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