feeling so fly…

I have a confession: I love airports. There is something so wonderfully exciting about them. I dress up every time I travel, like they used to do back in the 50’s and 60’s. I love to stroll the walkways and people watch, concocting stories in my head of the background of people around me. Airports are a melting pot of society. They bring together a mix of different ages, races, genders, all tied to each other by one commonality: travel. They have restaurants, shopping, spas, gyms, and of course, my favorite….duty free! If you wanted to, you could even pull a Tom Hanks a lá The Terminal and literally live in an airport. It’s got everything you need….why not? (well, other than the fact that it’s a little weird…)

**side note: I always wanted to spend the night in a Walmart, like in the movie “Where the Heart Is“…totally random, but I had to share…**

I’ve flown into quite a few airports over the years, all different shapes, sizes and styles. I’ve taken trips out of places where the airport is literally a two room non-descript building in the middle of nowhere. I’ve also flown from cities with airports resembling high class, visually exotic shopping malls. Here is a list of just a few of my favorite airports, as well as some that I’d quickly rather forget about…

Lovers

DFW International Airport (Dallas, Texas) – Granted, I’m a bit biased with this one, since I’ve lived my entire life only 10-15 minutes from this airport, but without that luxury, DFW still holds a place in my heart. With well marked signs, easy to navigate terminals, and plenty of parking, DFW gets an A for accessibility. It doesn’t take an hour to get from one terminal to the other, and you don’t have to worry about navigating any tricky shuttle systems to get to your flight. The International Terminal is spacious, open and full of things to keep you occupied while you kill time. With over 120 food and beverage locations, and more than 100 shops, there are many ways you can spend your extra vacation cash!

Frankfurt Airport (Frankfurt, Germany) – Thanks to the long list of direct flights in and out of this airport, FA is usually my go-to hub for international travel. It’s clean, safe, and easy to navigate. The train and bus stations link up to the airport, allowing you the luxury of a quick connection into a neighboring city if necessary. It is not a very large airport, so getting from one end to the other is rather easy. The admiral’s club lounge is spacious and comfortable, and boasts a great snack and drink bar to quell those in-between flight hunger pains. Shopping at FA is great, with many international and domestic brand name stores.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (Springdale, Arkansas) – I spent three and a half of my four years of college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and thus had the privlege of flying in and out of XNA quite a few times. Our soccer team used this airport to travel to our long distance games, so roughly 2 times a month I found myself sitting in Concourse A or B (there is only one terminal!), waiting for our trip out to one of our rival SEC schools. The building is no bigger than a Lifetime Fitness gym, so making your way to a flight is very simple. XNA is new, only built in 1998, so everything is clean, neat, and bright. The one drawback to this airport is it’s location, as it takes approximately 30 minutes or so to reach from Fayetteville. They DO however offer a free shuttle, which is worth it as parking can be expensive.

Tampa International Airport (Tampa, Florida) – When my mom’s parents made their pilgrimage from New England to West Palm Beach, Florida (as most Italian American’s do upon retirement), they opened the door for future vacations down in the sunshine state. Since moving more north over a decade ago, we’ve begun to utilize the Tampa airport when visiting family. Harolded as “America’s Favorite Airport”, TPA really does live up to it’s nickname. With it’s bright, airy terminals and decorative fountains and artwork, the atmosphere is more conducive to a shopping mall than an airport. The addition of palm trees and shrubbery that line the walkways only adds to the feeling of being in a tropical paradise.

Haters

Like I said, I’ve flown into many great airports, but sadly, also flown into some airports that would make me want to stay on the plane. Here are some I’d rather not relive….

Charles DeGaulle Airport (Paris, France) – Besides the fact that this airport is large, manuvering is not made any easier by the not-so-friendly staff. Getting someone to answer your question is like trying to say croissant with a perfect French accent: extremely difficult. The fact that the employees are less than cheery and the terminals are tough to navigate. Security lines are always long, since Paris is a very popular city to fly in and out of, so chances are, if you’ve got a tight connection, you might as well say au revoire to your next plane…cuz ya ain’t gonna be on it!

Madrid Barajas Airport (Madrid, Spain) – This Spanish airport should win the awards for “Longest Commute to Your Terminal” and “Most Likely to Inappropriately Frisk You Before Your Flight”. When I travelled through this airport back in 2009, it took 3 trams and about 30-40 minutes of walking to get to my gate. To make the situation that much more pleasant, I was also frisked to the point of groping by numerous security officers, who also took the pleasure of opening and dumping out my carry-on at each stop point. Please notice I did not say “and they also put everything back neatly and in the same place”. Oh no….after getting grabbed and poked, I got to restuff every personal item I had with me back into my bag while various police officers stood and watched. The parking situation was horrible, with signs not visible or marked correctly. Overall, I wish I could take a siesta and forget that experience!

Dallas Love Field Airport (Dallas, Texas) – This airport doesn’t quite fit on the “Haters” list, but it’s up there in the fact that Love Field is extremely….dull. Coupled with the fact that our Dallas traffic makes it a difficult airport to reach, flying out of Love Field is not the most desirable option. The terminals are dark, with low ceilings and few windows. The choices in shopping/food/facilities are poor, leaving you with little option for passing time between flights. Since Southwest only flys out of Love Field, the airport has maintained it’s business thanks to this airline’s low rates and frequent deals. However, I feel that once DFW picks up the business from Southwest, Love Field won’t be receiving as much love in the future.

Miami International Airport (Miami, Florida) – Where Tampa Airport is the Cinderella of the ball, Miami International Airport might has well be the ugly stepsister. Maybe it’s the close proximity to the Bermuda Triangle, or maybe it’s just bad luck and timing, but the chances of a flight getting cancelled are very high here. If you are planning on making that cruise ship departure on time, or laying out on that beach towel before the tide rolls in, you might want to consider flying into another airport. The baggage claim is not easy to get to, and rental car agencies are all far from the airport. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do after being on a flight is travel even farther to get to my car or luggage. I think I’ll say hasta la vista to this one….

 Do you have any airports that fall under the Lovers and Haters list?

hearts and hugs,

B.

Advertisements

Comments

  1. For my new job I just started last month, I now work with/at all the u.s. airports on a daily basis. I spent the whole morning on calls with XNA and TPA actually… So I have favorites and nonfavorites in many other ways. But in my personal life my least favorite airports would have to be Atlanta and Dulles. Granted they are hubs for like every airline, and there are bound to be issues, but I’ve spent way too much time on crappy over extended layovers there and hate all the food options. Funny thing is that now Dulles is my closest airport and it’s been much kinder to me now that I’m not there on layovers.
    Also, I had a 2 day layover in MIA. I was mad at the airport for lack of communication and the way they dealt with a thing like that, but let’s be real… a 2 day layover in Miami is kind of okay.

    • haha yeah, the Dulles airport is not so much fun 😦 I’ve flown in there quite a few times….it’s very forgetful!

      and you are right, a layover in Miami is not such a bad thing!! South Beach here I come! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: