MIA vs. FLL – Comparing Miami Airports


Millions of people live in South Florida, so the two main airports in Miami can get very busy. With the choice of two airports to fly to, travelers to Miami are able to take advantage of the stiff competition between Miami International (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL). Prices can wildly fluctuate between the two locations, which means that you could find a bargain on any given day by comparing the two bustling travel spots. That means that it’s a good idea to look at the differences between the two that aren’t affected by price. Depending on your budget and your itinerary, you could be better off choosing one over the other, so in order to make things easier for your journey, this guide to both could make your decision much easier to make.

Miami International

This is the main airport in Miami, and that’s not really a surprise. Being the busier of the two airports in Miami, it’s served by the majority of the major airlines. That means that you can fly in or out of MIA to almost anywhere in the world without much in the way of hassle. There are two airlines that have been noted as having never having flights available from MIA, Southwest and JetBlue, both of whom will fly out of Fort Lauderdale.

However, despite the lack of these two airlines, MIA is usually going to be your best option if you’re flying into South Florida. It’s just eight miles north-west of the famous Miami downtown. That means it’s very convenient when it comes to getting to and from some of the best and most popular tourist attractions in and around Miami. Sometimes called the main gateway into Latin America, MIA is a frantic and busy airport, and doesn’t have the best reputation.

It can be a little slow to work your way through, and there’s a level of disorganization that can make the final stage of your journey quite frustrating. MIA has a history of letting travelers miss flights, largely due to the confusion caused by the baggage collection process and the immigration control management. These two issues are a major problem, and the fact that many of the staff in MIA only speak Spanish can be a further issue if you start having problems on your journey.

It’s not all bad, however. There are some amazing places to eat in MIA, and some great bars and shops too. If you get stuck in MIA for a few hours, you’re not going to struggle too much to stay well-fed, and the musicians that are scattered around the public areas can be great entertainment too.

It’s got its problems, but when you’re the main airport for such a highly populated area that’s surrounded by tourist attractions, some issues are to be expected.

Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International

FLL isn’t as large as MIA, but it’s still pretty massive. It’s a little further out than some travelers prefer, but it’s only eight miles of driving to get straight into Miami itself. With four good-sized terminals, FLL has a high number of international flights, as well as some smaller, domestic airlines that are famously low-fare options. You could save a lot of money with your flight by heading to FLL instead of MIA. If you’re heading to Miami for the first stage of a cruise, then Fort Lauderdale should definitely be your priority when looking at airports near Miami. The cruise port is literally minutes away from the arrivals exit!

Dues to its smaller size, FLL has been able to make the most of its potential, and there are some great facilities on offer. For business travelers, there’s an entire business center available that is ideal if you still need to exchange some currency, photocopy some presentation notes, or get online. The Business Service Center is only open from 8am to 5pm, so if you’re on an overnighter you won’t be able to gain access to these facilities.

If you’re traveling with the family, there are facilities available for you as well, with baby-feeding stations scattered throughout the airport and plenty of food concessions to satisfy most palates. Schedules can get a little mixed up when it comes to eating and drinking, but in worst case scenarios there are also a number of decent vending machines available too.

Miami Airport vs Fort Lauderdale Airport

The best airport for you is going to depend on your budget, the bargain flights that you find, and what you’re planning to do once you land in Miami. Always check your itinerary and be very aware of the travel times to your hotel. Flight prices can vary widely between the two airports, and there can be some real bargains to find if you have the patience.

When it comes to choosing Miami Airport vs Fort Lauderdale Airport, always opt for the one that gives you the best price and the easiest access to all that you want to get done in this beautiful and vibrant part of the world.

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