For the Window Seats series, here’s a gallery of 12 images snapped on Monday during American Airlines flight 4769, a quick hop from the Bahamian capital Nassau to Miami, south Florida’s international hub that’s home to the least transit-friendly airport I’ve experienced in the post-9/11 world.
It started out well.
Immigration went smoothly. Most of the automated kiosks were operational. Staff were generally helpful. The lines moved reasonably fast. No portrait of Donald Trump at the point of entry.
But once in, things went south quickly.
That all transiting passengers –even those transiting internationally– don’t stay airside throughout their transit isn’t unique (particularly, in my experience, at US airports), but it is a bit out-dated and annoying at this point to have to clear security again, especially for airports this large and this busy.
More bothersome was the lack of helpful signage between terminals –in some cases a very long walk– and the general disinterest among most staff in helping to provide any guidance caused by that lack of signage.
Most appalling was the security experience. During both of my transits over the past week –arriving from Frankfurt and transiting to Nassau and vice versa– TSA service at the security checks was abhorrent. I’ve never heard security staff yell at passengers as much, as loudly and as rudely as they did in Miami. I understand that TSA agents have a job to do, one that’s often stressful. Their job description nonetheless requires that they do it with courtesy and respect. Yelling at an elderly woman who is moving slowly and is hard of hearing doesn’t put anyone in a good mood.
Inbound last week, three of the five stations at the security check I was directed to weren’t working. That was at about 5pm, a peak afternoon period. Outbound yesterday, The lines weren’t unusually long but movement was excruciatingly slow. And the yelling even louder. It all conspired to make me glad I wasn’t staying very long and that I won’t be returning any time soon.
Fortunately, it all looks much more appealing from above.
These appear in chronological order, heading west from Nassau, snapped between 12:30 and 1pm. The first four and the lead photo are of Andros Island, the largest of the Bahamas 26 inhabited islands, and about 30 miles from Nassau.
The last illustrates where Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park intersects with the city of Key Biscayne just off the coast from Miami. In about 80 years, most of that land mass will be underwater.