Short Final: Landing Fees


I was flying up to New York several years ago to the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Having an idea of the massive traffic in the area, I studied the arrival to LaGuardia Airport and had it all punched into my GPS. Getting very close, flying IFR in my single‑engine airplane, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for clicking off the waypoints when I received the following from approach:

New York Approach: “November 51 lima hotel, do you know what the landing fees are at LaGuardia?”

I caught my breath and said: “No, I don’t.”

Approach: “They are over $250.”

This was many years ago.

Approach (continued): “Maybe you’d rather go to Teterboro?”

Me: “Ah that would be great but I’ll have to do some re‑routing.”

Approach: “That’s ok, just take a 340 heading and I’ll vector you.”

What a relief! I was thinking that controller really rescued my wallet.

David Alger
Lago Vista, Texas

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  1. Don’t know the precise time period you’re writing about but still think Republic(KFRG) would have been the better deal. Catch the LIRR from there puts you in Flushing Meadows right at the gate to the Open.
    “Take The Plane To The Train”

    • Absolutely. And if it was longer ago than Flushing Meadows, getting to Forest Hills from there would have been even easier. 🙂

  2. I miss the big paper catalog airport facility directory. It’s all online now. That was one thing I always looked at before picking an airport to land at. General aviation is expensive enough. I didn’t want to add to it. Another thing that I looked into was fueling options. I tried to find the ones with self service if at all possible.

  3. Rookie mistake: always check the landing fees before heading to any airport. And I agree that FRG would have been a good choice, but it may have been an easier handoff to TEB than to sequence into the Kennedy area.

  4. “Short Final” brought back memories this AM. August, 1979, Cessna-172, long X/C toward my Commercial License (Y17-CYSB-KART-KLGA), to visit a friend in Queens. Cruising down the Hudson toward what was then a Class 1 TCA. New York Approach asked me the same question – if I knew what the KLGA
    landing fee was. When he informed me it was $50, I changed my destination to KFLU ($50 was a lot of money back then). Not only great controllers, but good people, too!

  5. Many, many years ago, we (my wife and I) were flying into JFK for our daughter to connect to a flight to Europe. I had properly filed for our C-R182, and as we complied with ATC routing, we were ‘cleared to land’ on runway 22R. Having been cleared to land we progressed on our approach, and it was then I heard, “SpeedBird xxx ready for takeoff”; tower responded, “hold short, landing traffic”! A BA-Concorde had to wait for our C-R182 to land and clear before it could be off to Europe! Loved it!

  6. Years ago I was scheduled to speak at a publishing conference in NYC. Upon investigating various airports I determined that even with the then $150 landing fee at LGA, it was still my best option when considering the cost of ground transportation once on the ground. So I filed for LGA in my Bonanza. All went well on the way in. Upon my return to LGA to come home, I paid the fee at Signature and started up. Mine was the only propeller swinging among a conga line of 737s. Eventually it was my turn for takeoff. I quickly climbed away from the runway. The tower handed me off to departure with a final comment of: “Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?”

  7. Not the only thing to take into account… when you attempt to leave… you can sit for hours waiting for a spot to depart.