If you have ever flown out of O’Hare, Heathrow or LAX then you can understand how chaotic an airport can be, especially during the holiday seasons. These airports handle millions of passengers per week and for seasoned travelers the airport is the worst part of a trip. Smaller airports can seem like heaven after trying to navigate LAX.
One of the perks of air travel in the past decade has been the rise of discount airlines. These are barebones flights to and from your destination with no bells and whistles. There is no first class seating, no inflight meals or movies it’s simply a cheap way to get from point A to point B. The other perk of these airlines is that they usually fly out of smaller airports. In New York for example instead of flying out of LaGuardia or JFK you can fly cheaply and conveniently from Newark Airport. Major cities all over the country have smaller airports with less lines and a much easier time getting on board your flight.
Smaller terminals are usually just a single story and Arrivals and Departures are right next to each other. You don’t have as many problems parking nor do you need to take a shuttle from one part of the airport to the other. Unless it is Thanksgiving weekend check in should be relatively quick. Check your bags and then the departure area is right around the corner and often it can be done in 10 minutes or less.
Once you pass through security and you are in the departure area, you won’t find the same amenities that you’re will find in a major airport but there will usually be a couple of duty free stores and a few places to eat. Generally there is more than enough seating and washrooms nearby. There is typically only a handful of gates so finding yours won’t be that difficult, in fact you will probably be able to see all of them from your seat.
Landing at one of the smaller airports is breeze even if you have checked your luggage. The planes are usually parked very close to the terminal so it takes no time at all for luggage to be unloaded. Your luggage will probably arrive in the terminal at the same time or within a few minutes of you. If you are flying in and need a rental car that won’t be a problem, there are usually a rental car counter or two and picking up your car will also only take a few minutes.
Smaller airports may not have spas or the other amenities but if you want to travel quickly and with minimal headaches then a smaller airport is the way to go.