Terminal Silhouettes: MIA

Terminal silhouette of MIA (Miami)


First of all, I’ve updated the color scheme of my terminal silhouettes. Before, the terminal was a lighter gray on a white background, and relied on an outline to give it the contrast it needed from the background. However, I’ve always felt the outline distracted from some of the details of the terminal design, and I wanted to switch to a pure silhouette – so I’ve made the terminal much darker so it doesn’t need an outline, and I went ahead and made the background itself slightly darker so it isn’t as harsh as before.

MIA itself was enjoyable to draw, even if it took a while. All of the angles on the interior of the terminal loop are 150°, which means that the concourse piers are generally a nice even 30° off of each other – for example, the angles between Concourses F and G or G and H are 30°. (The eastern part of Concourse E is itself rotated 10° off of perpendicular, but the western satellite of Concourse E is aligned to the 30° pattern.)

Terminal diagram of MIA. North Terminal has Concourse D. Central Terminal has Concourses E, F, and G. South Terminal has Concourse H and J.

No two concourses used the same design – I’m assuming they were all built at different times with no real regard for maintaining a common layout.

Concourse D is enormous. I’d speculated when I visited MIA that it was nearly as long as Detroit’s (DTW) Concourse A. Now that I’ve drawn it, I can overlay them and see that MIA Concourse D is actually slightly longer if MIA’s small jet piers are included. (Even if they aren’t included, the walking distance in MIA is longer due to the two bends in the concourse.)

Silhouettes of MIA Concourse D and DTW Concourse A overlaid on each other to compare size. MIA is slightly longer.

I’ll need to go back and update my previously drawn terminals to the new color scheme; hopefully I’ll be able to do so over the next few months.

Airport #95/100: Miami

Photo of "Miami International Airport" sign on terminal building

Miami International Airport
Miami, Florida, United States

First visit: 18 October 2019

One of my earliest posts when I started this blog in 2013 discussed how I’d been to all but six of the FAA-designated large hubs in the US, and I was only missing six: IAH, MDW, SAN, TPA, FLL, and MIA. Over the years, I’d managed to visit the first five, and this week I finally picked up MIA as well, completing my collection of large US hub airports.

I’d originally scheduled a 2 hour and 45 minute layover to give myself time to explore the airport, but my incoming flight was delayed and I only ended up getting about two hours. However, it ended up being enough, because in my reading up about MIA pre-trip, I’d somehow managed to miss that the concourses weren’t all connected behind security. With my AA boarding passes, I’d only be able to see concourses D and E airside.

D was quite long – while I don’t believe it’s quite as long as the main terminal at DTW, it’s the only airport I can recall visiting a single concourse with four of its own train stations.

E was interesting with its bizarre pier and satellite structure, where instead of the satellite train connecting to the close end of the pier, it connected to the root of the pier, with the tracks running over the roof of the length of the pier.

Photo of MIA Concourse E, with the satellite on the right and the pier on the left.
Concourse E, with the satellite on the right and the pier on the left.

Since D and E didn’t take the whole layover time to explore, and since I had PreCheck to expedite security, I also went ahead and exited the secure area to visit the ticketing, baggage claim, and parking structure areas.

Photo of the MIA central terminal from a parking structure

All in all, it’s not an airport that I would go out of my way to visit again, but it was a pretty decent airport for a moderate layover.