Whether you live in the south Florida area and you have a flight out of Miami, you have a connecting flight through Miami, or you’re flying into Miami, the main airport in the city is Miami International Airport (MIA).
If you have a long layover, you can store your luggage and enjoy several hours of Miami sightseeing and still make it back in time for your flight, because some of the city’s best offerings are just about 20 minutes by cab from the airport.
It’s one of the busiest airports in the world, and it’s a hub for international flights going between the U.S. and both Latin America and the Caribbean. An estimated 45 million passengers went through Miami International in 2018, ranking it as the 40th busiest airport in the world. MIA is operated by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, and it’s just 10 miles from downtown Miami and 13 miles from South Beach.
The following are the most important things to know about MIA for your next flight.
MIA is shaped like a horseshoe, and it has north, south, and central terminals. Each of these terminal areas is three levels, and if you’re arriving or claiming baggage, you’ll head to Level One. If you’re departing, checking in or dealing with ticketing issues, it’s Level Two, and Level Three is a way to navigate the airport faster.
There is a free monorail called the MIA Mover and this will take you to the Intermodal Center, where there are a public transport station and the car rental companies. There’s also a Skytrain on Level 3 which connects the concourse.
Long-term parking is available up to 60 days, and there’s valet parking at the second level of all the garages, although the limit for parking there is 20 days.
If you want to get to or from the Miami airport using public transportation, the Metrorail departs every 30 minutes. To reach Downtown Miami, you’d use the Orange Line. There are also buses that run between the Miami Beach area to the airport.
Eating and Drinking
There are some great places to eat and drink in MIA. For example, you might want to visit the wine bar Beaudevin, which also boasts health food options or Spring Chicken for Fried Chicken. There are sushi, burgers and more as well as signature options like Café Versailles and Estefan Kitchen if you want Cuban fare.
The Miami International Airport has convenient amenities. For example, in Concourse E near Gate 5, there’s a children’s play area and there’s a yoga room in Terminal H. There are U.S. Mail Drop boxes at the second level of the terminal, and there are pet relief areas at Concourses D, E, and J.
If you’re traveling with a pet and don’t have time to leave the airport, these pet relief areas are great.
The pet areas have synthetic grass, fire hydrants, sinks, and disposable bags.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, although it has advertising. You can also pay and use Boingo.
If you want quiet space, there’s a multisensory room on Concourse D after security and a non-denomination chapel on the first level of Terminal D.
With Miami being a major travel hub, it makes sense they have some five-star lounges like:
- The American Airlines Flagship Lounge is in Concourse D. If you’re traveling internationally in first or business class on qualifying flights, or you’re an Elite AAdvantage member with platinum status, you can access this lounge. It’s a very exclusive lounge so there are strict limitations on access, but once you’re in there’s a specialty cocktail bar, premium wine table, shower suites and chef-prepared meals and snacks.
- The American Airlines Admirals Lounge is for American Airlines elite members who are flying on qualifying itineraries, regardless of their service class. There’s a play area for kids, Wi-Fi, showers, and complimentary snacks and drinks.
- The American Express Centurion Lounge is free for certain American Express cardholders who have a Platinum-Branded or Centurion Card. You have to show your card as well as a boarding pass for same-day travel. James Beard Award-winning chefs prepare food, there’s a family room, and there are free spa services as well as a premium bar.
Another one of the many lounge options in MIA is the Delta Sky Club at South Terminal Concourse H, after Security. Access is free for Delta Reserve Credit Cardholders and American Express Platinum cardholders, but only when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. The lounge offers free wine and spirits, other alcoholic beverages for purchase, showers, and a selection of hot and cold food offerings.