One of three airports serving the greater Miami area, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) is located in close proximity to the cities of Hollywood, Dania Beach and Fort-Lauderdale with the metropolis of Miami only 21 miles (34 km) to the south.
Since the nineties, the airport is an intercontinental gateway with more than 700 international and domestic flights daily and is a center of operations for JetBlue, Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines and also handles a large volume of Southwest Airlines flights.
Allocated the IATA (International Air Transport Association) code FLL, Fort-Lauderdale is recognised as one of the quickest airports to recover from the coronavirus pandemic with over 28 million passengers in 2021 compared to just under 17 million in the year the pandemic virtually brought air traffic to a standstill. This was still some way short of 2019's total of 36.7 million but an encouraging sign of recovery nonetheless.
The state of Florida is well-known for its excellent golfing facilities so it should probably come as no surprise to find that the original airfield was built on a golf course. In 1928, World War I veteran pilot Merle Fogg purchased a 9 hole golf course that had been demolished by the Miami Hurricane two years earlier. A new airport with two crossed and unpaved runways was quickly built, finished and opened in just over a year and was officially called Merle Fogg Field.
In the early days of World War II, the airport was turned over to the United States Navy and given the new name of Naval Air Station Fort-Lauderdale. To facilitate operations, a control tower was erected and the old runways paved. The initial purpose of the Naval Air Station was the refitting of civil aircraft for military use before being shipped overseas to war zones in Europe and North Africa. It later became a training center for naval pilots and air crewmen flying Grummans and Avengers based on aircraft carriers and small shore-based airfields.
In 1946, after the end of World War II, the U.S. Navy relinquished control of the airport and it was handed over to the county and became Broward County International Airport. It was a number of years before Broward International really grew in importance and there were three important milestones in its development:
With the construction of the new terminal building (replacing older make-shift and temporary sheds) the airport was renamed yet again to become Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Although Fort-Lauderdale is a large airport spread over almost 1,400 acres, the actual terminals are close to each other and getting from A to B is a relatively simple matter. There are four terminals containing 66 gates and though they are numbered 1 to 4 they are also given a colour designation.
Contains Concourses A to C and is mainly used for international flights. The majority of Southwest Airlines flights operate from Concourse B.
Home to Delta Air Lines and Concourse D.
Concourses E and F are located in the Purple Terminal which is the main base of operations for JetBlue. Connects to Terminal 4 via a walkway.
Operational center for Spirit Airlines. Concourse H is used for both international and domestic flights.
There are two methods of moving between terminals or to the car parking area at Fort-Lauderdale: on foot or by bus.
Depending on the starting point and destination, travelers can either use the curbside walkways or the Parking Garage Walking Trail.
Fort-Lauderdale operates a courtesy shuttle bus service between terminals and also covers the Rental Car Center. Stops are situated outside each terminal and the buses run 24/7 at frequent intervals.
The inter-garage tram is a third option but it is only a limited service between different garage locations.
The following is a guide to which terminals are most frequently assigned to each airline operator but these are always subject to change depending on circumstances. As can be seen some airlines operate out of more than one terminal.
China Southern Airlines, Allegiant, South African Airways, Westjet Airlines, Lufthansa, BahamasAir, ANA Airlines, Air China Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Norwegian Air International, Royal Air Maroc Airlines, Volaris Airlines, Miami Air International, United Airlines, TAME, Silver Airways, Swift Air, SAS, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Brussels Airlines
Alitalia, KLM, Delta Airlines, Air Canada, Korean Air, LATAM, Frontier Airlines, Elite Airways, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, China Eastern Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Air France, AeroMexico Airlines
JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Gulf Air, Emirates, Qatar Airways, El Al, Etihad Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Sunwing Airlines
El Al, Qatar Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Avianca Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Azul Brazilian, COPA Airlines, Air Transat Airlines, JetBlue, Etihad Airlines, Aer Lingus, Emirates
There is no set Terminal or Concourse for international flights departing from or arriving in Fort Lauderdale although a large percentage use Terminal 1. Regardless of which terminal is used, arriving non-nationals must pass through customs and immigration checks which are located in Terminals 1 and 4.
Foreign nationals visiting the United States must adhere to a strict protocol of security, immigration and customs regulations in order to enter the country without difficulty and as swiftly as possible. Because of heightened security (and the coronavirus pandemic to some extent) queues at security and customs checkpoints can be lengthy so visitors should ensure that all necessary documentation is in order and to hand as well as being certain not to pack any banned substances or materials in either hand baggage or stored luggage.
The single most important rule for non-US citizens is to ensure they have either a valid passport and legitimate visa to enter the U.S. or an ESTA approved passport. Citizens of many of the world's countries will require a U.S. Visa to enter the United States but those from countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will need to have applied for and received an ESTA. The United Kingdom, EU Member States and many other nationalities are included on the list of Visa Waiver Program countries.
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and is a visa in electronic format. Having completed a detailed questionnaire an ESTA is granted or denied depending on the information supplied and the subsequent background checks that follow. Once granted, the ESTA is digitally linked to an applicant's passport which can then be scanned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents at the point of entry to America.
Visitors to America using a visa are require to complete an Immigration Arrival/Departure card before arriving at the immigration checkpoint while this is not necessary for those with an ESTA.
At the CBP customs checkpoint a traveler must immediately declare any items that should not be in any baggage or exceed the limits of what is permissible. Failure to do so can result in fines, refusal of entry or even criminal proceedings depending on the severity of any transgression.
Hand carried and stored baggage is subject to x-ray screening and random hand searches are also a distinct possibility. It is best to adhere strictly to the guidelines as to what is and is not allowed as failure to do so can often end in disaster.
Leaving the airport and traveling to one of the nearby cities or towns can be accomplished in several ways:
Route 1 of the BCT (Broward County Transit) service runs daily between the airport rental car center and Aventura Mall in Miami.
The Tri-Rail commuter train serves the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach from the airport station at Dania Beach a few miles from FLL. The airport offers free shuttle bus services for Tri-Rail customers from all terminals to the Dania Beach rail station.
Taxi stands are situated outside of each terminal building and operate 24/7 to numerous destinations near and far.
Ride-share is also an option as most major ride-share firms operate to and from FLL from designated pick-up and drop-off locations but these will need to be booked in advance using the relevant operators mobile app.