Flying, Gratitude and Joy, Travel

Day 242 – A Year of Gratitude and Joy – Small Airports

When we moved to Phoenix, we did so with the intent of being near a large, international hub airport. Knowing how much we love to travel, it just makes sense to be where the action is, airlines wise. But there is something to be said about the joy of traveling through smaller regional airports.

At larger airports, the welcome sign is often lost to directional signs and the distraction of traffic.

Served by smaller regional jets like our CRJ900, regional airports like Rapid City Regional Airport offer most of the amenities like the larger airports, but without all the hassle. The rental cars (and rental car return), are just a stone’s throw from the terminal entrance … no shuttles or people movers here! When we checked our bags for the flight home, we were the first to be served in the priority line. 

The Rapid City airport is beautiful, efficient and has a mere seven gates.

The woman tending bar outside security was pleasant and talkative and graciously served up a hamburger patty with no bun for Enzo. There’s a rooftop garden where you can eat your lunch and view the action on the tarmac. We were the only travelers in the TSA PreCheck line, and there were only a handful of customers in the regular line. The security lines are very short, allowing you to get to the airport MUCH later. 

The clouds were moving in, but we enjoyed the breeze and outdoor space from the rooftop patio.

There may have been only seven gates, but you still board the aircraft via a jetway. With less than a dozen departures on any given day, taxi times are blessedly short, unlike at the larger airports where the captain might say, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re 10th in line for departure. Flight attendants, please take your seats.”

There was no competition for take-off times from Rapid City.

At one of our favorite “regional” airport destinations – Key West – the vibe is even more laid back. People still board and deplane by air stairs. When you step off the plane, you’re greeted by the heat and humidity of the Keys, transforming you instantly into that “down island” mentality.

When you land at Key West you walk to the terminal.

If that welcome to the Conch Republic isn’t enough, the bar inside the small baggage claim hall will serve you an appropriate tropical alcoholic concoction to get you in the mood while you wait for your bags. Coming home, you wish the old “Last Flight Out” approach to life rang true today!

We love this concept so much we bought and framed the poster.

What’s missing from small airports? Airline clubs, for one. But who needs a free drink and avocado toast when you can get to the airport one hour later?  Crowds, for another. Baggage claim is usually quicker. Taxi lines are shorter, and if Uber or Lyft is your thing, you’re not competing with 100 other travelers.

It seems like the bigger the airport, the bigger the crowds. (Photo: Pexels.com)

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Get off the beaten track and go someplace where the airports are a bit smaller, and the people a bit nicer!

© The World A to Z, LLC 2022 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

1 thought on “Day 242 – A Year of Gratitude and Joy – Small Airports”

  1. Elko, NV, airport code EKO, is another small airport. Security is provided by the county Sheriff’s Dept which sends two deputies on a part-time basis when planes depart. Just north of Elko is one of the largest gold mines in North America. It is operated by Barrick Gold Corp. (No free samples given.)

    Like

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