Located 13 miles north of downtown Jacksonville, Jacksonville airport was built in 1965 to handle travel to and from the nearby naval bases. Growing steadily over the years, it began to demand more space, leading to an entire remodelling in 2004. Servicing over six million passengers by 2007, it has become a hub for holidaymakers, servicemen and women and domestic travellers in northeast Florida.
With plans to extend concourses and install a people-mover system, Jacksonville is an airport with one foot in the future.
Automated baggage screening and parking expansions are also on the cards, lending an air of innovation to the simple spread of terminals, tourist shops and pleasant decor. Mainly servicing the American states, you may require a transfer flight if travelling from further afield, but for a short internal trip, it’s a great stress-free environment to arrive into.
Easily accessible, Jacksonville airport is located just 15 minutes away from the downtown area, positioned at the crossroads of Interstate 10 and 95. With Highway 295 circling the city, it’s possible to get from airport to beach in around 40 minutes. At Jacksonville airport, all transportation services – including rental cars, taxis and limousines – are located on the lower level of the terminal building, just across from baggage claim. Shuttle bus services are also available, although unlike most Floridian airports, they are provided by external providers rather than the airport itself, so it may be worth booking ahead.
Although it offers a courtesy waiting-lot for people who are just picking up passengers, Jacksonville has plenty of opportunities if you need to park a little longer. Charging $1.50 per 20 minutes, if you think you need to stay overnight, it may be worth considering parking away from the airport – even the economy lot only allows you to stay a maximum of 13 hours a day.
For its size, Jacksonville International Airport has an impressive array of services. Pamper yourself after a long flight at the Comfort Zone Spa, offering professional massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and waxing. For something a little less intimate, InMotion Pictures rents out movies and DVD players, a god-send for those looking to kill time between flights or amuse young children. Furry friends needn’t feel left out either – the Pet Paradise resort will ensure that cats and dogs are safely looked after while their owners travel.
Shopping options are limited mainly to books, magazines and Floridian gifts, but when it comes to food, Jacksonville International more than holds its own. Grab a quick pit-stop at Quiznos, Freshens or Sbarros Italian Eatery, or sit yourself down for a more lengthy meal at Sam Snead’s, a golf-themed diner with a varied menu of seafood and American classics. Located before security, it’s the perfect place for a last dinner with holiday partners before going your separate ways.
For slightly healthier options, Freshens is a great place for fresh smoothies, juices and sorbets, or visit the CIAO gourmet market, where you can pick up various salads, fruits, snacks and sandwiches.
What not to miss
The go-to spot for forgotten birthdays, late anniversaries or simply to say hello to that special someone at arrivals, Jacksonville International has a 24-hour vending machine that distributes flowers and gifts. It also has its own residential piano player, soothing anxious passengers with renditions of classic tracks. Whether you’re on a flying visit or a longer stay, Jacksonville International has been heralded for its cleanliness, friendly staff and attention to detail, so don’t be afraid to make yourself at home.