With a little planning, navigating Miami airport doesn’t have to be stressful
Keep the following tips in mind, so your vacation travels go smoothly
Miami International Airport is a busy airport, especially in terms of international passengers, but going there doesn’t have to be stressful
Familiarize yourself with the layout before your trip
Plan ahead and follow other travel best practices for a relaxed journey
Headed to Latin America or a Caribbean island? Then there’s a good chance you might be going through Miami International Airport (MIA), since it’s the top airport for flights to and from those regions, according to the airport’s website. Although not as busy as the airports with the most passengers in the United States, like Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami airport still among the top 15 busiest in the country. Plus, it’s the third busiest airport in the country in terms of international passengers. More than 100 airlines fly into Miami airport.
So, it’s clearly a lot going on, which also means that it can be confusing, especially if you already have images of clear water and sandy beaches conjured up in your head. Take a look at these tips to help you ensure a stress-free journey through the Miami airport.
Get familiar with the layout of the Miami airport
Miami International Airport has three terminals: North, Central, and South. The North terminal features concourse D, the Central terminal features concourses E, F and G, and the South terminal features H and J.
There are three main levels. Level 1 is for arrivals and the baggage claim. Level 2 is for departures, and level 3 has moving walkways to get you through different terminals. There is also a fourth level, which is where you get a train to gates E20 to E33 if that’s where your flight is leaving from.
There is also a Skytrain throughout concourse D because it is a mile long. The Skytrain has four stops and arrives every three minutes.
Get to and from the Miami airport by car or public transportation
If you have a flight in or out of Miami International Airport, you’ll want to know how to get there or how to leave. Travelers can reach the airport through various forms of public transportation, including the Metrorail, Tri-Rail, Metrobus, and Miami Beach Bus. If you’re leaving the airport, access public transport, as well as taxis, from level 1. You’ll find your hotel shuttle at level 2.
If you’re parking at the airport, the two garages are Dolphin and Flamingo. Dolphin is for the North terminal, and Flamingo is for South and Central. Take a look at this online parking map to help you out. From the airport, you’ll get to the parking garage, and the rental car station, from level 3.
Know what’s available to you at the airport
Miami International Airport has various services and amenities to assist you in case you need help or just need to pass the time during a long layover.
Headed to Latin America or a Caribbean island? Then there’s a good chance you might be going through Miami International Airport (MIA), since it’s the top airport for flights to and from those regions.
These amenities include:
- a lost and found, on level 4 in concourse D
- luggage storage, in concourse E, level 2
- service animal relief areas in each terminal
- restaurants and shopping throughout the terminals. It has more than 120 stores, like Coach and Desigual, and more than 110 restaurants
- complimentary wifi
- VIP lounges
- a yoga room, in concourse H
Plan ahead, whether you’re leaving from or connecting in Miami
If you’re flying directly out of Miami, check with your airline about how early to arrive. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends arriving two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights, according to the MIA website.
Following other air travel best practices will help you navigate the airport more smoothly: Check your luggage size and weight restrictions with your airline and make sure you have only TSA-approved items in your carry-on.
If you have a flight connection through Miami, check out the airport’s tips. Know that passengers arriving on international flights and going to a destination in the U.S. will have to pick up their luggage and go through security again before getting on their next flight.
Finally, technology can help. Download the MIA Airport app, MyTSA app, which shows wait times and more, or another app like FLIO, which will estimate security wait times, has airport guides, and more.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
Before your flight, check to see what airlines are mentioned
- The 30 weirdest things caught by airport TSA | Science 101
Hopefully, nothing you’re packing is on this list