If given the choice, would you fly out of a large or small airport? Vote in our poll!
The Pleasures and Pains of Small Airports
Good question! I was originally going to vote for "small" -- I even clicked the circle -- but then I remembered sitting in the airport in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, for FOUR hours with NOTHING to do and I decided to change my vote to "medium." Less hassle and fewer lines = happy traveler. However, it's also nice to have some amenities, a few stores to shop in, more than one dining option!
To be honest, the only thing that drives me up a wall at the airport is the security stuff we've gotta go through (really, how many terrorists have they found in all of those checkpoints?) but other than that, an airport (in my eyes) is just an airport...
I am not sure, so I clicked on medium. I went to school in a college town with a small airport, and we had to board the flights outside (which isn't bad unless the weather is too hot or too cold or too wet). Plus, smaller airports often mean smaller airplanes, which aren't necessarily bad unless you hit bad weather. But with big airports, you have to plan for a lot more time with parking and hauling your luggage to the check-in site. I do, however, like the feel and business of a big airport. There are always a lot of people to watch.
Using Atlanta's Hartsfiedl, I can say larger (largest ??? ) gives you more choices. Choice of times, choice of airlines...For example, if I miss a flight to Newark there is just about one every hour. Choices for the flight: Air Tran, Continental, Delta. If one offers a sale, they others somtimes match the price. Keep your FF miles all in one basket.
You can say that about a small airport. At that small airport I would more than likely have the choice of only one airline and be a captive audience for whichever fare they would like to charge.
Heck, at Hartsfield, when purchasing something to bring aboard for a snack, you can even get Sushi! Boy were the flight attendents jealous of myself and my 11 year old.
I live near and fly in/out of JFK all the time so I am most used to large airports. That said, there are some large airports that are difficult to handle for me only because they are simply designed different. So, I've had to do some mighty, mighty airport runs and take shuttle buses but I also find that they are the most orgranized re: signage etc.
Examples of larger but challenging ones for me:
LAX (not too challenging and more like JFK, really) so, not too bad - just big.
Bologna, in Italy was a nightmare. It's small and yet it took me and the friend picking me up, over an HOUR to find each other. That SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED!!!!!! A few smalls worked OK; Fiji was surprisingly good. St. Maarten, good. Nassau, not bad either.
Otherwise, round the world, I love the biggies!!! But, if sometimes I have to go into a smaller airport - like within Europe for those budget fares, well, it's no big deal.
So, that's my feeling but I'm a city girl used to one of the busiest airports and it's getting busier every day! By the way, I'm kid-sitting out here in Long Island and I feel like a fish out of water - it's sooo strange. Hard to take the girl out of the city, especially if she hasn't had a vacation in 5 years!
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Flying into Hilton Head & getting a rental car - great! In & out in minutes. Getting back early and sitting around.... zzzzz..... not too many options if you miss your flight either. I travel a lot for business, so to suit my needs an airport has to be big enough to have several daily flights by several major carriers; this way I have flexibility and options if a flight is missed, delayed, or cancelled. I try to fly out of medium-sized SNA for closeness & convenience, but LAX is usually a couple of hundred dollars cheaper AND they have no noise restrictions (meaning earlier & later flghts) , more flights scheduled, plus bigger planes (runway size) so I have a better chance of an upgrade. It also means an extra 40 minutes to drive/park/shuttle in.
I love small airports, but to get there most of the time you have to go thru the large hubs like Atlanta. I recently flew to Allentown, PA but got hung up for 3 hours in Atlanta. On the way back it was the same thing. Allentown is great and the distance is short. We rented a car and had to walk "all of 100 yards" to get the car....WOW! Wish I had kept up my private license.