I have a love–hate relationship with Kansas City International (KCI): it’s a beautiful terminal concept that absolutely doesn’t work as a modern airport.
KCI was designed to minimize walking from one’s parked car to the gate, and so each of the three terminals is a thin circle wrapped around a parking garage.
However, this design was built before airport security was required, and the terminals weren’t wide enough to have singular landside and airside areas separated by a security checkpoint. Thus, the terminals had to have multiple security checkpoints, with only a few gates behind each, in order to make security fit.
Given those limitations, the airside seating areas past security are exceptionally crowded and have very limited amenities. My particular gate area had rows of seats that were crowded so close together that two people couldn’t sit across from each other without interweaving their knees, and yet there still weren’t enough seats for everyone to sit down.
Effectively, KCI is a pretty unique airport design, which I appreciate – but I also have no desire to ever fly out of it again until its upcoming new, modern terminal is open.
Pittsburgh is about a four hour drive from my home near Dayton, which means that it’s in what I call the doughnut zone – airports which are too far to fly from, but too close to fly to as a destination. The only airports I have in that zone tend to be hubs that I connect through, and Pittsburgh is not a hub for any airline I routinely fly, so I’ve never had a chance to connect through there.
For the most part, the small airports that I’ve been to tend to feel old – understandably so, since less passenger traffic means less need for (and money for) frequent renovations.
FAY fell squarely in that camp. As I stepped off the plane, I was immediately inside a rusty jet bridge painted 1970s orange, and the terminal felt similarly dated. Fortunately, it appears that the airport is getting some upgrades, so the appearance may improve in the near future.
That said, like most small airports, it was functional and easy to get in and out of. I certainly wouldn’t have any problems with flying through FAY again.
I’ll be honest that I wasn’t too impressed with FLL on my visit. It’s certainly possible that I was visiting at a peak season, but the airport just felt crowded in a way that I wouldn’t normally expect for an airport its size. The arrivals road loop could not handle the amount of traffic flowing through it, leading to a much longer (and much more stop-and-go) shuttle trip to the rental car center than I would have expected from the distance traveled.
It’s also one of the airports whose terminals don’t seem to be connected past the security checkpoints, which does tend to get in the way of exploring the airport before my flight. At least Terminal 3 (E/F gates) and Terminal 4 (G gates) had a connector, so since my flight departed out of 3 I was able to visit half of the airport. Though it was still under construction, the parts of Terminal 4 which were finished looked pretty nice.
This was my first trip to Japan, and as such, my first time visiting a Japanese airport. Since both my incoming and outgoing flights were on American Airlines, I only got to experience Terminal 2.
As the customs exit left me in the landside part of the terminal and I had to catch a shuttle into Tokyo anyway, I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the terminal on my way in. However, on my way home, I made sure to arrive at NRT about three hours before my flight so I’d have time to look around before departing.
The landside part of the terminal had a decent amount of shopping and I still had a couple of souvenir requests from friends to fulfill, so I headed up to the T2 shops. While I was up there, I found an observation deck.
After going through security and exit immigration, I took a walk around all of the international gates of Terminal 2.
The Platinum status I’ve earned with American Airlines grants me lounge access on international itineraries, so after I was done exploring I decided to go visit the Admirals Club.
It was a nice enough airport and I wouldn’t mind flying here again, though if I do, I might try to fly a Star Alliance or SkyTeam airline so I can check out Terminal 1.