Dear Miami International Airport, by Lea Ann Fessenden-Joseph

Every now and then, the world needs a little humor, and we have to laugh at life’s struggles. Our featured writer today, Lea Ann Fessenden-Joseph, understands that completely! Have a chuckle at her expense!

Dear Miami International Airport,

I just wanted to drop a line and thank you for your ongoing construction projects to “enhance the passenger experience” at Miami International Airport. As an American expat living in the Caribbean, I travel frequently through your airport, because it is one of the main entry ports into the United States.

I have, on more than one occasion, been forced to sleep in your lovely building, typically Terminal D. I though I might suggest that when you are ready to replace your current black pleather chrome-armed chairs, you might opt for a few sofas or daybeds. Your floor is quite hard and a little dirty. It is difficult to sleep with your midsection bent over a cold metal armrest, barring you from a good stretch-out and therefore a few moments nap while clutching your belongings to keep from being robbed mid-dream.

In fact, I would gladly pay $5 an hour for a small closet with a cot. In these tough economic times, this is an idea you may want to pursue, to further “enhance the customer experience”.

Although I realize you have extensively remodeled Terminal D, not once, not twice but three times, I still walked smack into walls where busy hallways of passengers once maneuvered. Couldn’t you at least put up a “Caution, Terminal D Ends Abruptly Here” sign?

As a smoker, with both my inbound and outbound flights typically scheduled into and out of Terminal D, I run with Olympic precision from gate to gate with that all-calming, mind-blowing stop at the beautiful and tropical inner sanctum of smoking. Please, if there is a God in heaven and I am pretty darn sure there is, do not ever close this transformational patio of smoke.

The 10 x 20 concrete block of half-dead, nicotine-drenched tropical plants near the American Airlines Admiral Club is my only sanctuary on my dozen or so annual trips through your lovely airport. The fact that I can “get my ‘fix’ near Gate 36″ is a mantra I often repeat on the inbound leg of my journey.

I also love how one can now go in a never-ending loop around and around the AA Admiral’s Club until one falls into the strategically placed ladies’ room nearby, from nausea. What a clever marketing ploy of the airline. Buy a day pass to their facility just to stop the circuitous madness.

Because the open-air patio is typically filled with at least 25 smokers at any given time, perhaps it should be cleaned more than once per month. Maybe you could provide a few more ashtrays, as they do fill quickly.

However, I have met some of my best friends in this smelly, smoky haven and do appreciate the opportunity to commune with my fellow travelers. I even came within a hair’s breadth of missing my most recent flight, because the repartee was so enjoyable in Smell Hell. I did learn a great tip. A lady apologized to me as she stubbed her butt in the ashtray and whipped out a mini travel (less than 2oz, of course) bottle of Febreze and generously sprayed herself.

I smiled knowingly and said, “Your husband doesn’t like the smell?”

She nodded. “You’d be surprised how effective it is, some people at work don’t even know I smoke!”

Ah, smokers camaraderie. Nothing quite like it.

Oh, and that California Pizza Kitchen just a few yards away? Could you ask them to sell a few slices of pizza? I was disappointed I couldn’t have a slice and dash into smoker’s paradise for dessert after eating. All they offered were some terribly healthy looking salads and smooshy sandwiches wrapped in plastic.

And where did the $20 gift stand go? I was ready to buy my husband a Gushi watch (as opposed to Gucci) and there wasn’t one to be found. Only a month ago, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting one. I was a little low on funds at the time. Guess I’ve missed out on that instant bargain!

But hey I’m really serious about the “cot-in-a-closet” concept. Terminal D of the Miami International Airport is a dazzling masterpiece and would be much more appreciated with a little spot to rest your weary head, after running into the new walls. Maybe add a vending machine that sells blow up pillows and little blankets.

I would be happy to beta test this marketing concept for you. Just email me at

All the best,
Miami Ad Vice


Lea Ann Fessenden-Joseph is a writer and world traveler, and when she merges those two passions, the results can often be very funny and irreverent. She is a monthly feature writer for the Caribbean Property and Lifestyle Magazine, is the National Caribbean Travel Examiner and occasionally contributes to the Travel section of The Dallas Morning News.

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10 Responses to “Dear Miami International Airport, by Lea Ann Fessenden-Joseph”

  1. Gillian says:

    I’ve never been to Miami Airport but I do know the haven that is Smoker’s Corner (as it is often known over here). Thanks ever so much for the Fabreeze tip. Might I add that it would be cool for the world to adopt the French attitude to smoking, ie – I am smoking which is my business, not yours so place your nose in a glass of wine and let us happily ignore each other.
    Fun read and I enjoyed it.

  2. Windowshopping says:

    Great letter, Lea Ann! We need to see the lighter side of things, too!

  3. Lea Ann…I SO relate to this! :) This was hysterical…we stopped flying into MIA a while ago…FLL is much better if you have that option.

  4. Heather Marlman says:

    This was completely and totally HILARIOUS!

  5. Angel says:

    Very cute, Lea Ann!

  6. Jo Brielyn says:

    Hilarious, Lea! Thanks for the laugh this morning. :)

  7. Rissa says:

    “Get my fix near gate 36″ love that!

    Too funny! You need to do a follow up about LAX.

  8. Randy says:

    Lea Ann:

    You have a rare talent for entertaining, interesting wordsmithing. You are right, Miami International Airport sucks, year in and year out. It always has and likely always will. Keep up the good work!

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