How America's worst airport became a 'world's best'

Posted by

Editor’s Note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get the latest news in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.


This week in travel news: the top airports of 2023, new travel rules around the world and the man who visited Disneyland nearly 3,000 days in a row.

There was one commonly heard refrain, Port Authority’s Executive Director Rick Cotton tells CNN, that spurred on the multibillion refurbs happening at New York metro’s LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports: ” ‘Why are the major airports in Asia, in Europe, so much better and so much more appealing?’ “

“Our internal mission statement was to create a terminal everyone loves,” says Frank Scremin, CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which is behind the airport’s $8 billion makeover. That project just won LaGuardia’s Terminal B the “World’s Best New Airport Terminal” honor in the prestigious Skytrax awards.

Back in 2014, Vice President Joe Biden famously said LaGuardia was like being “in some third-world country,” but the comments “spurred action,” says Scremin.

The design philosophy of the new terminal is “about giving guests choice,” whether it’s a business traveler needing to get to a gate efficiently or a family that wants to “sit and relax and be entertained.”

Plans were axed Monday for a light rail link from Manhattan to LaGuardia, but at least there’s JFK’s ongoing $9.5 billion makeover to anticipate. And for more of those leading airports that inspired New York’s face-lift, take a look at the World’s Best Airports of 2023.

Forewarned is forearmed, people. Here are the latest laws and rules travelers should know about:

Don’t hike solo in Nepal, because “there is no one to help you.”

Don’t take lewd selfies with the statues at Japan’s new Ghibli Park.

Don’t plan a motorbike tour of Bali, as the island authorities are going to stop foreign tourists from renting them.

Do visit China and stay lucky if you hit the casinos in Macao because the borders have fully reopened.

Do swim topless in Berlin’s swimming pools, if you’re a woman who supports German “free body culture.”

Do party all night in Miami’s South Beach, if you really must, because the booze ban after 2 a.m. has been halted. But make sure you reach Florida before this 5,000-mile-wide blob of seaweed does.

What’s the best meal to tuck into the morning after St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? A full Irish breakfast, with plenty of black pudding and potato bread. Here are 26 Irish foods you need to try: It’s not just stout and spuds.

Mexican cuisine has also been much misunderstood, but a new CNN food and travel show, “Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico,” launching March 26, sets out to fix that. Sign up for our new four-part newsletter “Unlocking Mexico” for a guide to the country’s history and heritage, as well as recipes from Eva Longoria.

A Polish pilot made aviation history on March 14 when he became the first person to land a plane on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in Dubai which, at more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) high, is one of the tallest hotels in the world.

And over in California, local man Jeff Reitz visited Disneyland every day for nearly 3,000 days in a row, earning himself a Guinness World Record for his efforts.

Finally, American woman Renee Bruns also scooped a Guinness World Record for the most countries visited by a person using a wheelchair in a year.

“I think it’s one of the silver linings of having a disability,” Bruns tells CNN Travel. “I started to see the world from a different perspective.”

TIME magazine just announced its annual list of 50 destinations you should put on your wish list. Check them out here.

Traveling to new places when you or a loved one has food allergies can be stressful and scary. To help your next trip go smoothly, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have spoken with doctors, allergists and nutritionists to get their top tips and advice on what should be on your packing list.

US airliner near-misses keep coming.

Now officials are talking about averting “more catastrophic” incidents.

The “world’s best chef” lost a Michelin star.

His Paris restaurant had three-star status for two decades.

Saddam Hussein’s former yacht is now attracting sightseers.

The rusting wreck is capsized in a river in southern Iraq.

The organization providing free travel experiences to Black women with cancer.

It’s “about creating new memories,” says founder Alicia Tambe.