LaGuardia fliers wait hours in freezing cold with kids for COVID tests

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This is cold.

Some LaGuardia Airport travelers are missing flight after flight while waiting in the freezing cold — with their kids — for COVID-19 tests.

“My youngest, she has to get tested, and the line was very long — five hours or so — so we missed the flight yesterday,” lamented Silke Hansel, who has been trying to get home to Austria for two days, to The Post on Monday.

The mom of three’s youngest daughter, Denise, 8, only has one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, so the family could not board their connecting US flight Sunday until she took a PCR test to prove she’s negative for the virus.

Hansel said she was told by their airline to just get Denise tested at LaGuardia the day they were to start flying home to Vocklaburck. But after getting stuck waiting for a test so long there Sunday that they missed their flight, they booked an 11:45 a.m. trip Monday, only to have to reschedule again because of the lines.

The Hansel family took turns standing in the long COVID testing line.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post
Sisters sit inside the airport to warm up before heading back outside in the cold.
Eight-year-old Nadine and sister Yvonne took turns switching places with their mother outside in the cold to be tested for COVID.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

They were still waiting Monday afternoon to get Denise’s test at the airport’s site — a city van in a parking lot outside Terminal B.

“It is so cold we take turns, share all the jackets,” Hansel said. “My 15-year-old is wearing our three jackets.

“It is four hours on line so far. … Now we try to rebook, but it is complicated because the flight must connect in Charlotte, [NC].

“I’m getting sick, standing out here for hours.”

While PCR tests usually take a few days for the results to come back, Hansel said she thought the process of leaving New York City would be as easy as it was when the family departed Austria: a rapid test at the airport, with the results coming back in 20 minutes.

The surging coronavirus variant Omicron has forced many countries, including the US, to renew travel restrictions, with international fliers to and from a slew of nations required to show proof of inoculation or a negative PCR test before boarding a plane.

Travelers wait outside to be tested for COVID-19 before getting on their flights.
Some travelers took PCR tests days before their flights, but the results still weren’t ready in time to save them from the airport’s line testing lines.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post
Travelers were lines up in the outside ares of the airport as they waited to be tested.
Some travelers were forced to reschedule flights because the lines to be tested for COVID were so long.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post
Travelers were fed up with how long the lines took, forcing them to stand in the cold weather.
Travelers are plagued by covid testing requirements, long line wait times and rebooking flights at LGA.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

“It’s crazy,” said Noya Aguicoch, 44, who missed her connecting flight while headed to Ecuador as she stood on the airport line for hours in the cold Monday to get tested. “They need to bring us inside, at least the little kids. It is freezing here.”

Aguicoch said she got a PCR test in Jackson Heights, Queens, on Thursday — expecting the results in the typical three days.

“Last week, I wait in two lines, one for appointment, one for test. I get test Thursday but no results in time. They said, ‘Sorry, busy. Take five days,’ ” Aguicoch recalled.

But she went to the airport anyway Monday, waiting for another test while hoping she could somehow still fly out.

She said she is now booked for a flight home to her two kids — next Monday.

Travelers wait on line to rebook their flights.
Travelers inside Terminal B were forced to rebook their flights.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

Meanwhile, Aneita Mason, a financial adviser from Canada, was stuck on the airport’s testing line Monday with her 5-year-old daughter after missing their flight to Alberta on Sunday because of the wait.

Mason said she took a PCR test Thursday on Jamaica Avenue, but the results weren’t ready yet. But like Aguicoch, she and her daughter went to LaGuardia, hoping for another test in time to make their flight.

“We are from Canada, so I can take [the freeze], but she is saying, ‘I’m cold, I’m tired, I have to pee,’ ” said Mason, 31, of her little girl. “I’ve been asking people behind me to hold my place when I have to take her inside.”

The pair’s flight has now been re-booked for Tuesday — but it isn’t likely they’ll be on it.

“Now I understand I will likely need to rebook again because these results will take a few days,” she said. “This is tough.”

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