So on my flight to Florida, I had a long layover in Tampa Bay. As in, I arrived at 4:30 PM and was scheduled to depart at 8:05 PM (with delays, it turned out more like 9:00 PM). I was tempted to find something to do in Tampa Bay proper, but I didn't want to be stressed for time, and certainly didn't want to go through TSA. So instead, I became intimately acquainted with "Airside C" of Tampa Bay International Airport.
As an introvert, I found it delightful toward sunset and later, when it was less crowded. Mid-day on my flight back, it was spacious enough that it didn't feel crowded...but I still liked it when it was empty.
Most of the pictures I got were lower-quality cell phone pictures...I didn't feel comfortable taking too many pictures with my regular camera.
The whole terminal has a lot of glass and just feels very airy. It's like a giant building with mini-buildings and walled-off areas inside.
I'm really not sure why they call it an "airside" but I guess they think there's just one terminal?
I personally ate at Quizno's.
The sandwich prices were very steep. The salad prices were less steep--not that much more than a salad you'd get outside the airport, though they didn't come with any flatbread.
It was really good, though I doubt "healthy" would describe it.
Other restaurants include a standalone Nathans/Samuel Adams and a Home Team, whatever that is.
Home Team was kind of a sit-down-ish place (and a sports-bar type place), though they did have a to-go window. Due to time constraints, I ate at Nathan's on the way back...the hot dog was OK but there was a great chip selection (I got popcorn!).
And there's a Chili's Too. I feel weird eating at a sit-down place alone.
Looking back toward the security checkpoint:
The outdoor smoking areas are little screened-in concrete areas. Not too friendly but I suppose they'll do if you need nicotine.
There is a newsstand and another store with overpriced food:
And spiffy art above it.
Don't worry about what to do with your purse when you use the restroom. They have Purse Wrap!
Things to do in the airport during a 4.5 hour layover:
Scrounge around for a newspaper. Who knew Prince Valiant was still around?
Visit the play area:
Wave at the giant aviator statue:
Tuck yourself away into a workstation...
...including free Wi-Fi (at least in March 2011)!:
Get some Tampa Bay Info to Go:
Make sure your luggage and personal item will fit on your plane. (Or commandeer a wheelchair!)
Take a picture of your plane:
Take a picture of your luggage:
I saw someone taking a nap on the floor by the window. No pic but he looked very comfortable!
Relax in one of the luxurious leatherette chairs:
Or just snap and finally start taking pictures of your cute tiny Duffy Bear.
Safe travels, everyone!