Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quit Hating on MIA

I read a snippet over on Stuck on The Palmetto today where some Brit rips the good folks at Miami International Airport a new one for having sub-par shopping and surly counter help. Now, first of all, I am not a huge fan of MIA, but as far as airports go I have been to much worse. I mean, we have places to eat and padded chairs. Isn’t that enough? And as for the surly counter help, well, what better way to get people accustomed to a city full of bad service than to let them know right off not to expect friendly help form anyone? Actually, I don’t even notice the rude airport employees as after 9 years here I am pretty much desensitized to it. But I guess the courteous Brits see it otherwise.

But it got me thinking: Our standards for what makes a good airport have really gone up. I remember when I was a kid you pretty much had the option of a hot dog or a soft pretzel if you got hungry during a layover. Now if you don’t have a restaurant form a celebrity chef in the terminal you are more or less second rate. And lest we forget the old coin-operated black-and-white TV’s that got four channels on a clear day. Now we have flat screens giving us the CNN airport network nonstop, not to mention countless bars where you can go to watch your favorite game. Or the 9th rerun of SportsCenter that morning. This person from England was upset because there was nowhere at MIA to buy a digital camera. I’m sorry, I was unaware they had a Best Buy at Heathorw. What the fuck do you expect? It’s a fucking AIRPORT. It serves to get passengers on airplanes and as a port of their arrival. And now you bitch because you couldn’t find a place to go electronics shopping without having to go back through security? Give me a break.

What makes a good airport, to me, is the speed at which you get through things. That is to say fast check-in, fast security and fast luggage pick up. MIA is pretty good except on the last one, which is typically a 24-48 hour wait for a bag. Still I, along with most locals, will fly out of Ft. Lauderdale if possible as it is an easier airport al laround. But in my expensive travels, I have to say that MIA is far above a lot of bad ones. LAX, JFK, Newark and Las Vegas are all way worse. Vegas actually has a lot of amenities, including a gym, but I have never had a plane leave there on time in my life. Their terminals also feature slot machines. Coincidence? I think not. Orlando is pretty awful. Atlanta is a clusterfuck. Why so much hating on MIA?

I read the other day that Miami, probably because of its former reputation as a drug-smuggling hub, is the pioneering American airport when it comes to security. I know it has its delays, but so does every airport and I’ve found MIA to be way less confusing than Dallas, Atlanta or O’Hare. And security lines here move way faster than at a lot of major airports I’ve been to, most notably LAX (aka America’s worst airport, again indicative of the city it occupies). So stop hating on MIA. As far as government-run facilities in Dade County, its about as efficient and effective as they come. And that, friends, is a pretty sad statement.

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At 5:44 PM, Blogger JayOfToday said...

I watched European Vacation on TV the other night and loved it when Clark kept getting into all those accidents with Brit cars and pedestians. All the Brits kept saying "you're an American? It's alright... don't worry about the damage."

Knowing that the representation of British hospitality in that movie is accurate, it must be hard for them to adapt to Miami hospitality when they visit us here.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger latinbombshell said...

Plus we have happy Hare Krishnas!

At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Johnson said...

LAX might be the worst airport ever. I’d much rather fly in or out of MIA, ATL or IAD. LAX has the slowest security lines. I actually like ATL’s airport and don’t think it’s as bad as some say. I really like flying out of Richmond, VA’s airport b/c it’s big enough to where there’s a good amount of stores, restaurants, etc but not so big that you have to get to the airport hours in advance to make it to your terminal comfortably.

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

I miss the little quarter tv's. Nothing like watching reruns of the price is right while waiting for a flight or for friends.

The only thing I didn't like about MIA was the low ceilings. Gave one a very stuffy feeling. Denvers airport is nice, and I didn't have any problems in Dallas.

My favorite airport is the Long Beach Airport. Its literally like two double wide trailors with a ticket counter and luggage area, which is actually outside. Plus you get to walk out to, and up the stairs to the plane.

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God this blog died a quick death!


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