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Ever get that exciting feeling when you walk into an airport? I know I do! The excitement of jetting off to some other part of the country is often enough to keep me awake, despite that 5am flight. Today I’ll cover my top 5 favorite airports and hopefully it’ll get you daydreaming about your next big trip.
#5: Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK)
Nantucket Memorial Airport is situated on the beautiful Nantucket Island, about 30 miles from Boston. Normally, I probably wouldn’t have ever been to the East coast except for vacation, but that all changed last summer. The airport gets extremely busy in the summer due to airline and General Aviation traffic, so they hire many seasonal workers.
UND put up the ad on their website and I applied to work full-time in the Fixed Based Operator (FBO). It was a great job, and I lived in a beach house the airport owned while working there over the summer. The beach was very picturesque and I got to bike to work every day. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, and that’s why Nantucket Memorial Airport is #5!
#4: San Antonio Int’l Airport (SAT)
San Antonio holds a special place in my heart. Located in southwest Texas, this little gem of an airport is like my second home. If it weren’t for a special someone, I might have never been able to experience Texas. It’s located conveniently close to downtown San Antonio and home to some notable corporate aviation departments like Valero, Pace Foods, and H.E.B.
Photo courtesty of San Antonio International Airport
You know you’re not in the Midwest any longer when you walk down that jet bridge and feel the heat and humidity.
#3: Sydney Kingsford Smith Int’l Airport (SYD)
Sydney Airport is the one of the few international airports I’ve had the opportunity to visit and my favorite Australian airport. Situated in downtown Sydney, this airport hosts some spectacular views of one of Australia’s most urban cities. Oftentimes, if you’re traveling to Australia from the U.S., your first stop will be at Sydney where you will clear Customs and head over to the domestic terminal.
When I originally traveled to Australia about 4 years ago, I was on my way to Brisbane, a city on the Gold Coast (east side of Australia). We had to clear Customs, pick up our bags, exit the international terminal and take a shuttle to the domestic terminal a few miles away. It turns out that there were more than 1 jumbo jet that got into Customs at the same time and we ended up missing our domestic connection. However, Qantas Airlines has some pretty amazing employees and they rebooked us on the next available flight.
The terminals are very white and sleek looking. The airport feels newer than most U.S. airports and the hustle and bustle is amazing. Many Australians travel by air as it’s not exactly easy to drive between large cities. In addition, most Australians live within 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) of the coast, so it’s often faster and cheaper to fly. Security is a little different in Australia and when I asked if I should take off my shoes and belt, they laughed at me! I’m guessing they don’t have the same security issues we have here in the U.S.
#2: Flying Cloud Municipal Airport (FCM)
#2 is the airport of many firsts for me. My first flying lesson, my first solo, and where I earned my Private Pilot’s License. I also got my first aviation-related job there working for a small flying school. That flying school turned out to be a great place because I met a lot of my flying family there. We still all hang out when we can – one of the couples in our group even got married in a hanger there!
Flying Cloud is home to a lot of General Aviation and the pilots there are a pretty tight group. It’s also home to the Wings of The North Organization that has an aviation museumand hosts AirExpo every summer on the airport’s property. Viking Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol has a hanger there and many flight schools call Flying Cloud their home.
#1: Minneapolis-St Paul Int’l Airport (MSP)
Minneapolis-St Paul is #1 because it’s the first international airport I ever traveled from. I flew from there to Alaska with my dad, to Florida to visit my brother, to San Diego to connect to Australia, and many other destinations. This airport is exciting and nostalgic all at once – it could mean a new adventure, or returning to home sweet home. There is something special about being connected to the world through just one location – it never ceases to fascinate me… And that’s why Minneapolis will always be #1. So, what's your #1 airport?