As a traveler, I am used to traveling to and from and connecting through some of the busiest and largest airports around the world. However, for the past month, I have had the experience of commuting to “small town usa” on a regular basis and traveling to a rather small airport. As small as the airport is, it is actually considered an “international” airport. I will not state the name of the airport in this post, but I will cite some of the characteristics that qualify it as a small airport.
You know the airport is small when:
- You return your rental car to the parking lot, record the current mileage and snap a picture of the fuel level prior to turning the keys in to the car representative inside the airport. There is no lot attendant.
- The ticket counter representative checking you in knows you by first name after your second visit.
- You arrive at the airport 45 minutes before your flight, return your rental car inside of the airport, get your boarding pass at the check-in counter and check a bag, make a pit stop at the ladies room, process through security, and reach your gate with 35 minutes remaining.
- There is only one restaurant pre-security and one post-security.
- The gate agents know you and warmly great you each week.
- There are only four gates (but remember that this is an international airport).
There are some pros of traveling to and from a small airport. These include: 1. you do not have to arrive hours in advance of a flight, 2. you get personalized service, and 3. there is not a lengthy walk from the ticket counter to the departure gates. Some of the cons are: 1. the restaurant may not have a lot of options for picky eaters (yours truly) and they can charge an arm and a leg for food (the only game in town), 2. if you miss your flight (as a result of nature or nurture), you may be stuck overnight due to the limited number of flights in and out of the airport, and 3. you may feel a little claustrophobic during peak hours.
Although it is not my ideal situation, there is a certain “je ne sais quoi” with regards to the small airport experience. While there is no Smoothie King, Nature’s Bistro, or Dunkin Donuts, there is the peace of having a stress free travel experience.