MIAmi Twice
July 17, 2005 7:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be stuck in the Miami International Airport for several hours, and I don't want to die of boredom.

As I mentioned in an earlier question (thanks, all) I'm headed to Colombia for a week at the end of the month. On the way down, I think I might be set — family is meeting up in Miami (most of us will be on the same flight to Cartagena) and one of my aunts plans to use her status as a member of the American Airlines Admirals Club to let us lounge around while we're on our seven-hour layover.
Coming back, I'll be flying solo. Still, seven hours between planes.
So, if you were stuck in the Miami airport for around 7 hours and you didn't want to go insane, what would you do?
posted by emelenjr to Travel & Transportation around Miami, FL (14 answers total)
Miami airport is HORRIFIC.
We spent 4+ hours there on the way to ecuador in May.

No legitimate food within the security checkpoints. If it can't be heated with a heat lamp, it's not available within security.

Go outside of the secure terminal areas. There's at least food there.

Eat something, hang out, maybe go outside and stand for a bit.

When you go back through security to your gate, make sure you don't sit near the announcement panels in the ceiling. They might look innocuous, but randomly go to full volume and yell things at you.

At least you're in the admiral's club. I'd recommend a book, laptop, dvd player, gameboy or something to keep you occupied.. Just stay in that nice area and avoid the rest of the airport.. heh
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:37 AM on July 17, 2005

We do this all the time when we travel (in fact, we just moved to Portland this weekend and I am using it right now!):
We bring the cellphone and laptop. Cellphone is capable of browsing the web with GPRS (Cingular has a $20/month unlimited media package that we turn off and on when we travel -- it ends up being only a couple bucks when we use it). Both the phone and the laptop have bluetooth. The computer hooks up to the phone via bluetooth and the phone acts like a modem. It freaking rocks, although it can be slow sometimes.
posted by j at 7:58 AM on July 17, 2005

Response by poster: I won't have the luxury of sitting in the Admirals Club on the return trip since I'm not a member of the club myself and I'll be traveling alone, but thanks for the warning about not sitting near the speakers.

I wish I had a laptop, but even then I'd be leery about bringing tons of technology on an international trip — particularly to Colombia, which isn't necessarily the safest travel destination in the world. I'd probably get my digital camera confiscated if I used it too much in the airport, but I'm bringing my iPod too — at least there's that.
posted by emelenjr at 8:05 AM on July 17, 2005

Do you need a photo ID along with the admirals club card to get into the lounge? If not:

Ask your aunt to borrow her admirals club card to use on your way back. This should help you pass the time in comfort.
posted by necessitas at 8:09 AM on July 17, 2005

I agree with emelenjr. It is a ghastly place, even landside, airside I don't want to even think about. Comparing it into certain Asian airports... :) But yeah, bring some entertainment and try to get to MeFi if you can :)
posted by keijo at 8:09 AM on July 17, 2005

Another notch in the ghastly head post. The airport is undergoing major renovations right now and some of the redirection signage is just plain wrong. You could always get lost, then found, lost, then found... etc.

Other than that, enjoy your trip. The layover will be horrible.
posted by purephase at 8:15 AM on July 17, 2005

I thought you could purchase a 1 time use to sit in the Admiral's Club while you layover, but looking at American's website, it seems expensive to join annually, so maybe not.

On my last dive trip, some folks' flight got cancelled and ended up with a long layover. They took a taxi out of the airport and went to a local movie theater and came back. They said it was expensive, but worth it. You could definitely do that in 7 hours.
posted by j at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2005

Sorry -- I did some more searching (yay, google) and found this:

07 June: Admirals Club One-Day Pass
Effective June 2, 2005 customers can purchase a One-Day Pass to an Admirals Club online at Prior to this initiative, customers had to purchase these passes at an Admirals Club. AAdvantage® membership is not required.
The pass is good for one, two or three people ($50, $75, or $100 USD, respectively) and can be purchased for any date beyond the date of purchase - up to 365 days out. (Purchases for the current date must still be made in person at an Admirals Club).
Passes entitle user to receive all complimentary services of the Admirals Club.

It might be worth it to not have to suffer bad airport food and sheer boredom... ?
posted by j at 9:01 AM on July 17, 2005

I had one of the most interesting/amusing experiences in a bathroom at Miami International about 4 years ago. Being a bit on the pee-shy side, I sought out a restroom in a less trafficked corridor and went inside. As I opened the door, a man who had been face down in push-up position on the floor scrambled to his feet and moved to the sink. I entered the stall and began to do my business when I heard him begin chanting something over and over again. I'm pretty sure the whole thing was a ritual prayer of some sort, but at the time, I swear it sounded like he kept saying "Thank you Jesus! I hate you! Thank you Jesus! I hate you!" over and over. By the time I left the stall he was gone. I went and told some friend about the experience and we had a great time inventing an imaginary religion based around a schizophrenic love/hate relationship with God that could only be practised in restrooms. =) At any rate, I hope the time you spend in MIA is as unique as mine was!
posted by idontlikewords at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2005

There's got to be some sort of game you can play in the airport that won't get you arrested.
posted by craniac at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2005

Um...a big book?
posted by dhruva at 10:30 PM on July 17, 2005

I was there last year for a few hours and really did fine just walking around. You've got to get something to eat at Cafe Versailles in Concourse E though-- it's Cuban food, and while it's not as amazing as its sister restaurant in Miami proper, it's a good experience. Get the black beans and rice (Moors and Christians) and the fish, and then a pastry. Working your way through that will take a good while and will be time well-spent.
posted by yellowcandy at 12:31 AM on July 18, 2005

I wish I'd known about yellowcandy's recommendation above when I was there in February - I love Versailles.

There is a crepe/smoothie shack somewhere on the first floor. We didn't have time, but since you have time and may want dessert after your black beans & rice, have a crepe with nutella. Not a big time-killer, but at least something to find/do.
posted by widdershins at 9:10 AM on July 18, 2005

Response by poster: I'm definitely going to check out the Cuban place. Just the suggestion I was looking for, thanks.
posted by emelenjr at 4:33 PM on July 18, 2005

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