Tampa International Airport
Tampa Travel Blog› entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
I've started alot of adventures from here but I have never written too much information about the airport. Tampa International is serviced by many airlines to include American, Continental, Air Canada, WestJet, US Airways, United, Delta, AirTran, British Airways, Cayman Airways, Frontier, JetBlue, KLM, Northwest, Southwest, and Spirit.
Upon arriving at the airport find your airline by looking at the blue or red signs and follow that color to either the departure, arrival, or parking garages. The Economy Parking Garage is located behind the airport post office. It's $9.00 a day and you pick up the shuttle bus to take you to the main terminal.
When you take the shuttle to the airside make sure you keep your boarding pass and ID out for a quick check before boarding the shuttle. Then it's a quick ride to airside and the security checks. Keep your boarding pass and ID out they are going to check it again. Then it's time to take off your shoes, belts, and anything else. Arrive early for this, most times it moves quickly it all depends on what time your flight leaves.
History of Tampa International Airport
After the hostilities, Eastern and National Airlines moved to Drew Field. The reason for the relocation was that the Peter O. Knight Airport was too small to handle the new Douglas DC-4, DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation prop-liners that were being placed into service. During this period the airlines were housed in the former Base Operations Building which was converted into a terminal.
Trans Canada Airlines inaugurated international flights in 1950 and Drew Field was renamed Tampa International Airport.
Jet-powered operations began in 1959 when Eastern Air Lines introduced the Lockheed L-188 Electra. The following year National Airlines began turbojet service with the Douglas DC-8 jetliner. Flights to Mexico City began in 1961 with weekly service by Pan American.
Congestion became a serious problem at the 1952 Terminal when the airlines began to replace their piston powered equipment with larger jetliners.
During the early 1960s, the aviation authority began making plans to build a replacement terminal in an undeveloped site at the airport. Airport leaders chose the Landside/Airside design in 1965 after a careful study of different types of terminals.
Construction on the new terminal began in 1968 between the airport's parallel jet-capable runways. When completed in 1971 the new jetport was highly praised by the press. Prior to its official April 15 opening, 60,000 people toured the new facility during a two day open house event. National Airlines flight 36 from LAX was the first to arrive at the terminal. After touching down at 05:26 am the jet taxied to Airside E to disembark its passengers.
The 227-foot (69 m) tall ATC control tower became operational on July 15, 1972 and at the time was the tallest in the United States (at 227 feet). The Host/Marriott Airport Hotel with its revolving rooftop restaurant got plenty of attention when it opened its doors on December 1973. The building's features include triple-paned windows and sound-proof guest rooms.
Northwest and National Airlines brought the Jumbo Jet to the airport late in 1971 with the introduction of the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. This was followed by the introduction of the Lockheed Tristar a year later by Eastern Air Lines.
During the following decades, the airport was expanded and improved to handle more traffic and additional airlines. In 1996, Airsides C and D were remodeled. The interiors of both satellites were refurbished and the original Westinghouse shuttles were replaced with Bombardier CX-100 trains. During this time, all the airlines from both facilties were housed in Airside E. Upon completion of the renovations, the airlines returned to their original locations and Airside E was closed for good. The Landside Terminal was also remodeled numerous times during the 1980s and 1990s.
Both Delta Air Lines and US Airways opened maintenance bases at the airport to service their growing fleets.
The Landside Terminal was designed with convenience in mind. Express elevators and escalators keep passenger traffic moving smoothly, with few bottlenecks.
Level 1 (Baggage Claim) contains all inbound baggage facilities and baggage belts. The Blue Rental Car facility was relocated from its crammed Bag Claim location, to a consolidated facility beneath the long term parking garage in 2002. On November 15, 2006 a new Red Rental Car facility and garage opened adjacent to the Marriott Hotel. In late 2008, renovation of the Baggage Claim began and will continue well into 2009.
Level 2 (Ticketing) contains all ticketing/check-in functions. The level also contains a Charter desk reserved for flights that do not normally utilize TPA. The Ticketing area received a major renovation/expansion in 2002.
- There are two food courts on level 3, operating on opposite sides of the building.
- Level 3 has undergone numerous major renovations. The main building was renovated in 1997. Shuttle bay expansions were constructed in 1986 for Airside F, 1994 for Airside A, 2001 for Airside E, and 2004 for Airside C. Future expansion plans include a relocation of the shuttle bay for Airside E by 2012, and, if the plans for a light rail system in the Tampa Bay area come to fruition, a light rail station could be constructed at the current Observation Deck location. The airport also has plans on building a north terminal complex in addition to the existing complex by 2020.