Wednesday, June 26, 2013

US versus España: Airports!

It's a pretty rough time in the casa currently, due to circumstances related to our trip back to the States, but I'm just not ready to address that on the wide-open interwebs. So in the meantime, I'm going to blog about something completely unrelated. To be honest, it's a rather silly and inconsequential subject in the grand scheme of things, but that's just the thing I'm in the mood for.

Let's talk about US vs. Spanish airports!

Reagan National - small, but clean, efficient, and with a good selection of food (even sushi!) and stores.

Now, I'm not normally into comparing two countries, especially when I love both, and am willing to overlook their faults in favor of everything wonderful and unique that each has to offer. For example, I miss blue crabs like crazy in España, but the other outstanding seafood and cheap booze generally make up for it. On the other hand, the States has bagels but also favors getting up early (not my thing).

But there seems to be a glaring contrast between airports and to me, there's a clear winner. (Full disclaimer: Most of my experience with US airports is on the East Coast - Dulles, BWI, JFK, Newark, Philly, Reagan, with a few in Florida, California, and Texas mixed in. In España, I've flown into and out of Madrid, Sevilla, and Málaga mostly.)

There was a photo exhibit of painted planes in Reagan. This was my fave, painted with the Maryland flag.

I spent 6 hours in JFK on my recent trip back to El Puerto. After an already no-so-great start to our travel (nothing like a car accident to calm the nerves) both Graham and I were anxious to get home and not looking forward to a long layover. Luckily, we were in the States, and the possibilities for passing time were endless. Like most other US airports I've spent some quality time in, there was a variety of shopping, multiple restaurants, bars, iPad stations, spacious seating areas, clean bathrooms!

We whiled away most of our hours over lunch and premium cocktails. Graham wanted one last chance to enjoy barbecue (yes, in New York, in an airport, you can take the boy out of North Carolina, but...).

And I couldn't resist a quality bloody mary...or a blood orange margarita.

I even indulged in a pedicure. Yes, complete with massage chair. I wanted to belt out "America the Beautiful" right then and there.

That 6 hours would have felt like 6 days in the Spanish airports I've encountered. Sevilla's airport (I love the city!) is small with not much more to offer a weary traveler than a cold sandwich and a drab terminal. Giving credit where it's due, Málaga is relatively modern, but still lacks the variety of your average stateside airport.

I mean I love a bocadillo (the ubiquitous baguette sandwich, normally consisting of cheese and some sort of pork product) as much as the next chica. But sometimes after a long stint in Spanish airports, I feel like my gums are going to bleed if I eat another one. 

And Madrid Barajas...don't even get me started. It's a large airport in a European capital but you would never know it. Now, I have heard that Terminal 4 is fabulous (and even gets accolades for its design) but I've never laid eyes on it. I know it must exist, but I have never been in it, normally being stuck in 2 or 3. At this point, Terminal 4 has reached mythical status for me.

What are your thoughts? Are US airports the perfect overpriced example of the americano obsession with consumerism or an oasis for trapped travelers? And have you ever been in Madrid's Terminal 4? Tell me how!


  1. Too funny you mentioned blue crabs and bagels, they were the two things I missed when I lived in Málaga. Ummm airports...let's see...every time I have to go through Heathrow I end up with a piece of lost luggage. Only once did I not get it back but still- I am beginning to think Heathrow hates me. lol!
    I hope all is well back stateside and enjoy being back in España. I miss it! :o)

  2. p.s. yes I've been in Terminal 4 and well I think it is what we are used to in the states but architecturally much more stunning.

    1. Blue crabs and bagels...had both on my recent trip back to the States! And maybe I'll check out Terminal 4 the next time I'm flying out of Madrid. I normally lose motivation once I've walked through Terminal 2 or 3 and settle for just waiting it out with a bocadillo.


Hola! Feel free to leave some love. Muchas gracias for stopping by!