Negotiating your way through Miami International Airport

So you’ve navigated Immigration and Customs, and now you find yourself with a long layover in Miami International Airport. Or maybe you’ve arrived near Concourse D and you have to catch a flight from Concourse J. That can be a bit of a trek, particularly with a bag or two. 

There are some tips and tricks to negotiating this large and busy airport that will hopefully have you arriving at your destination a little less frazzled than usual. Here are six of them. 


Miami International Airport Hotel  

Many people are aware of the existence of this hotel located at Concourse E, but what they may not know is that from 10am to 6pm it offers a day rate. Usually less expensive than staying the night, this option allows tired passengers or those with long layovers to relax, get some sleep, take a shower and watch some television. Of course there are lounges for those lucky enough to have access, but one of these rooms means you can really kick back and unwind. 

Anyone who has taken the red-eye into Miami and had to wait four or more hours for their connecting flight knows that you can’t put a price on an escape like this. 


Jetsetter Spa  

Located at Concourse H, the Jetsetter Spa is perfect when you need to refresh yourself a little or get rid of the knots in your shoulders from a cramped five-hour flight in economy class. It offers seat massages if you’ve only got ten minutes, all the way up to bed massages if you have more time to spare. There are also other services, including manicures and pedicures. 

Even though it is right next to a lot of passenger foot traffic, it’s amazing how you can tune it out when you hear the Enya lightly wafting through the spa speakers and someone is giving you a fabulous scalp massage. 


The Skyride Connector  

Getting from one concourse to another can be tiring, particularly when you’re in a rush and they are far apart. If you are trying to move quickly anywhere between Concourses D through J, you should consider finding the nearest lift to take you to Level 3. Here you’ll find the Skyride Connector which is blessedly free of hordes of passengers and the other obstacles found on the main Departures level. It is a moving walkway that will expedite your journey, with clear signage indicating where you need to get off to reach your destination. 


Dining in comfort  

Of course the airport has loads of different fare; most of it fast food for travellers on the go. If, however, you have a bit of time to spare, you might want to head to the Miami International Airport Hotel and take the lift up to the Top of the Port Restaurant. It is open all day with breakfast from 6 to 11am; lunch from 11am to 5pm; and dinner from 5pm to 11pm. You’ll have a great view of the airport runways, the Miami skyline, and best of all, you’ll get away from all the noise of the concourses for a while. 


MIA Metrorail  

The airport station opened on 28 July, 2012 forming one end of the new orange line that runs from the airport to the Dadeland South station. If you have a few hours to kill between flights, why not take the Metrorail to Coconut Grove or Dadeland North, which gives you easy access to Dadeland Station with its popular Target, Best Buy and Bed, Bath & Beyond shops; or Dadeland Mall? It’s only US$2 one way, making it a lot less expensive than a taxi ride. 


Animal relief areas  

Travelling with a pooch? There are doggie relief areas in Concourses D, E and J on Level 1. The ones in Concourses E and J are actually called “Doggie Parks” complete with grass and a yellow fire hydrant. All of the relief areas are equipped with dual surfaces and waste disposal stations. 


Just a few of the many planes that fly into Miami International Airport every day.
Photo: File

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