Post-Snow Rush Wreaks Havoc at LaGuardia; Travelers Get Out and Trek to Airport

What to Know

  • More than 2,000 flights were canceled at the tri-state's three airports Thursday amid the snow, leading to a travel rush Friday
  • Nearly a foot of snow fell on most parts of the city, with more than 12 inches recorded in some spots further north
  • Ice and strong wind gusts complicated matters, and were expected to continue causing slick travel conditions through the weekend

Travelers heading to LaGuardia Airport were forced to haul their luggage to the terminals on foot Friday, a day after a monster winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on the city forced thousands of flights to be canceled.

Excessive flier volume after the storm was jamming the entrance and exit points at the airport, according to officials. There were over 400 flight cancellations at LaGuardia Airport Thursday, and that's pushed load to capacity for the majority of airline carriers as people rushed to get rebooked. 

Also exasperating gridlock is ongoing construction of a new terminal at the notoriously cramped airport, once likened by former vice president Joe Biden to "some Third World country."

Passengers were seen getting out of their taxis with their baggage on the Grand Central Parkway, climbing over mountains of snow as they trudged to the Queens hub. Some trekked along the highway exit ramp from 94th Street.

LaGuardia Traffic Is So Bad, People Are Walking on the Grand Central Parkway

"Oh, my God, this is crazy. We've been here over an hour, they dropped us off and we had to walk," said Lauren Gray. 

One Twitter user suggested jumping a fence and walking to the terminal would be faster than trying to get to the airport by car.

"Here you see people getting out of their taxis ON THE GCP to climb a hill of snow," user ShaquilleAKhan tweeted Friday morning. "Jump a fence and walk to the terminal."

Traffic cameras showed severe congestion, with vehicles barely moving.

Snow-dorable! Kids and Pets Playing in the Snowstorm

"This is crazy, it's almost pandemonium," said Jedd Henning, who was anxious to get back home to Columbus, Ohio, in time for his son's birthday party Saturday. "Probably the worst condition I think I've seen, and I travel all over the country."

"I've got plenty of time to make my flight but I think people that area short on time are gonna be pretty stressed out," he said.

Port Authority says more police are on the ground helping to move traffic in front of terminals, and traffic officers are alternating closures on airport entrances. There are NYPD traffic enforcement agents are stationed at 94th Street and Ditmars Avenue, and airline crews are being moved airside to help alleviate traffic on the roads. 

Both LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports were loaded with 10 inches of snow by 4 p.m. Thursday, much of which turned in icy mountains after bitterly cold winds blew in overnight. Nearby Newark Liberty Airport had gotten nearly 8 inches of snow by Thursday afternoon. 

Thousands of flights were canceled at all three airports Thursday because of the storm, which prompted an hours-long groundstop at some JFK. Some travelers weren't able to get new flights until Sunday.

Snowstorm Paints Tri-State a Wintry White

Flyers have regularly been encountering long delays at LaGuardia Airport, and it hasn't been uncommon for people to bail out of their taxis or cars stuck on the road leading to the airport. Travelers encountered the same situation on the eve of the storm.

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