BWI – Baltimore Airport Is My Least Favorite EVER & Here’s Why?

Whoa!  That’s a tough critique of an airport, isn’t it?  Have I visited every single airport in the US, let alone the world to make this claim?  Well, um…no!  But, let me explain my recent trip…

I fly out of Newark (EWR) on a regular basis.  I needed to be at a customer in Baltimore, Maryland for a 10am interview on Thursday, August 8, 2012.  I checked all the flight options to the DC area (BWI, DCA, and IAD).  No flight arrived early enough for me to make my scheduled time, so I chose to fly down the evening before.

Flying in/out of Newark is always a challenge, especially in the summer with storms impacting flights in and around the NYC area.  The sky is just congested!  My flight to Baltimore was on time.  My flight back was delayed hours upon hours for weather related issues.

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My issue with BWI is this, the rental car station is a 10-15 minute bus ride to the terminal.  The bus was completely packed with riders because this is a shared terminal for all rental car companies.  Thankfully, I had no luggage, because this would make getting on/off the bus more of a hassle.

So, as I’m sitting at my gate waiting for the delayed flight back to Newark, I realize there is a strong likelihood my flight was going to be canceled, since it was a puddle-jumper plane that was now already over half empty.  My options were to reschedule another flight (I had already scheduled the last one to Newark), re-rent a car to drive 6 hours to Newark, or see about taking an Amtrak train back to Newark.

I went to talk to the ticket agent, and was able to book an Amtrak train trip.  I had 20 mins to catch the 5:30 train or wait until the 6:30pm one.  Well, because it is a 10-15 min bus trip back out to the train station, I HAD to wait for the 6:30pm.

So, my complaint is this….with as busy of an airport that BWI is, I find it incredibly crazy for them to shuttle people via buses instead of a monorail train system between the airport, rental car plaza, and train station.  I’m sure if an economic study was prepared, the break-even point for building this system would be 5+ years.  Maybe BWI will hire me as a consultant to study this?

Okay, so that was my rant.  Two lessons learned to share based on my recent experience:

  1. Be aware that it takes at least 10-15 mins to travel via bus to/from the terminal/rental car plaza/train station
  2. Instead of flying between NYC to Baltimore (Philadelphia & DC for that matter) consider taking the Amtrak train.  The train is normally on schedule and is very reasonably priced.

Happy Travels….

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