Avoid BWI for departures if timing is close

Date of bad experience: 8-9 July 2004. Construction at the airport was extensive at that time. I hope it is better now.

Avoid BWI (Baltimore Int'l Airport) for departures, unless you arrive at the airport at least an hour earlier than the airline recommends.

I arrived for my 5 p.m. flight 1 hour 15 minutes ahead of departure, but I still missed it.

  • There was construction at the airport.
  • It took 20 minutes to locate a gas station to fill the tank of the rental car.
  • After I got back to the airport main entrance, signs for Rental Car Return led me to the other side of the airport. By the time I returned the rental car and found the shuttle bus, another 20 minutes had elapsed.
  • Avis check-in took only 20 seconds. Avis was great. In hindsight, I should have kept the car and driven to my destination.
  • The shuttle bus driver was friendly. However the bus ride took 10 minutes, because it had to go back around the airport again.
  • When I got to the terminal, I only had 25 minutes until my flight was to leave. I had no bags to check. BWI USAir personnel sneered and said my flight was already "closed out," and that I should stand in a long line to be re-accommodated. Other passengers on my flight were in a similar situation. Someone working at BWI suggested quite earnestly that I "write to the state," since complaints were abundant.
  • I wasn't smiling any more, so security was burly, lengthy, and annoying.
  • If I'd driven from Virginia to Pennsylvania instead of flying out of BWI, I could have been home at 5 p.m., since I finished work and left at 1:30, thinking I had allowed enough time for Washington traffic and security at BWI. Instead, I got home at 1 a.m.
  • gsk