On our most recent trip to Florida, Kathy & I decided to fly, rather than make the 9-ish hour drive down unpredictable I-95. As a result, we had the very pleasant experience of using the Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB). What a nice airport and a refreshing change!
The Melbourne airport is modern and clean with everything you would expect in an airport – except crowds! With the exception of the occasional charter flight from the UK or elsewhere and a few non-daily flights, the airport appears to be largely a private and corporate plane base. There are a number of Northrup Grumman plants nearby as well as a number of space-related companies. Other than that, the commercial activity appears to be Delta flights to and from Atlanta, and American flights to and from Charlotte. It was quite a contrast to the madness of the Charlotte airport!
We arrived to a nearly empty terminal, found our checked bag in “Baggage Claim” (there is only one!) and found a pleasant covered spot to sit while we waited for the free airport shuttle to our hotel. On our return trip, the shuttle drivers at the hotel assured us that there was no need to arrive 2 hours ahead. Skeptical, I took him at his word, and sure enough when we arrived just over an hour before, we walked right up to a check-in counter, staffed by a real person, and turned in our bag. We then proceeded to the TSA checkpoint, where there were more TSA employees than passengers. We breezed through TSA Pre-check and waited in a mostly quiet waiting area. No clueless wandering passengers, no repeated announcements about maintaining possession of your carry-on, none of the drama of Charlotte. And no crush of impatient passengers trying to board. Nice!
Kathy & I decided that we could return to Melbourne any time. We found the hotel to be very nice, staffed with friendly people and in an excellent location on the beach. We’ll also take a look at other small airports we could fly to for a few days’ getaway!