What in Earth has happened to baggage claim at LaGuardia Airport? A NIGHTMARE!
I have traveled around the country and through LaGuardia (which could use a massive update, but that another topic) a dozen times. However, in the last month I had to travel in and out of LaGuardia twice. Both times, claiming baggage at the end of our trip was a struggle I have never had any other airport EVER.
First trip, late September, we arrived back around 11pm. We got our bags and I proceeded to the curb for our driver to get us. I realize my traveling companion is not with me, I turn around to find an elderly man in red uniform demanding his bag claim ticket before allowing him to pass. Now, I have traveled often by air and NEVER before have I had an agency at an airport demand to check my claim ticket (which I throw in my carry on) to exit the airport. Of course, having never had this happen mine and my companions tickets were buried in my carry on.
I turned around knowing it would take me 10 minutes to dig it out and said "Why are you suddenly doing this? I have no idea where I put them?" He screams at me "I have been doing this for 5 years. You should have it ready." to which I respond "Well, you are the first person to do this at any airport in 20 years I have flown... there are buried in this bag. Why don't you check his ID and get this over with?"
Of course, he had not thought of that and after a check of his driver's license to insure his bag was his, he was released. Now, mind you, I and others were streaming by unchecked. Great security measure!
Last night, we return from trip two. I remembered the first experience and had my baggage claim ticket in my pocket. However, upon getting my bag I did not see this man near the exit. I figured it was a one time thing. I almost am at the exit doors when I hear "Sir" and this same man TACKLES ME! He actually grabs both my arms. I pull away and snap "What are you doing?!" He said "No one leaves this airport until I see their baggage claim!" He actually has pulled a sign over blocking anyone else from leaving while he chased after me! I showed him the claim said "SEE, I am not steeling anyone's dirty laundry!" and he let me leave.
I am not one to be rude, but this man was nasty on both occasions and had just physically stopped me from exited the airport. I was actually startled to be grabbed from behind. I have been through JFK, Houston, Las Vegas, LAX, Orlando and just came from O'Hare and NEVER before has an airport had people (rude nasty people, mind you) blocking exit of passengers to check baggage claims. Yes, I realize that is the reason you are given a claim check. I get it.
However, for SMALLEST NYC airport to be acting in this fashion while none of the others I have been to even care is very strange and new to me at LaGuardia. Has someone recently stolen a bunch of luggage?!? So rude, so unusual.