Miami Airport Central Terminal Shopping

A shopping guide to Miami Central Terminal

Miami Duty Free Stores Central TerminalWe hate to be ageist here at taxfreetravel, but Miami Central Terminal is not getting any younger. The 1950s terminal handles around 10% of the airport’s total passenger traffic, which is perhaps why it has been left on the side-lines, while the airport’s North and South Terminals, have been given multi-million dollar revamps.

Now there are dim-and-distant plans to refurbish the facility, which houses a host of carriers including Delta, British Airways and AirTran Airways, which would see the Central Terminal brought up to the same standards as the two terminals it sits between. Yet with Miami international saddled with a high amount of debt, it is anyone’s guess when the builders will finally move in.

In the meantime passengers will have to make do with a so-so shopping offer, which many frequent flyers believe could do with a bit of a shake-up. Some of the same concessionaires have been operating outlets in this part of the airport for a very long time, and there have been some suggestions in the local media that the introduction of a few new retail brands would be welcome move.

The terminal is divvied up into three mini-terminals E, F and G. A couple of concessionaires pop up in each of the three facilities. For instance, each terminal boasts a Duty Free Americas outlet, a Hudson News shop and a handy Currency Exchange. As for the rest of the stores, travellers can get a fix on which shops are located in which terminal, by logging on to the airport’s handy online shopping directory:http://www.shopmiamiairport.com/directory.aspx.

Laidback fashion is a strong theme in the Central Terminal, which of course reflects Miami’s sunny, beach-oriented climate and culture. Sun and style are not always matches made in heaven, but we like the cool (in both senses of the word) Cuban-style shirts, shorts and trousers at the Havana Shirt Store (Terminal E). Brands stocked include Tommy Bahama, Lacoste, Nat Nast and Havana Nines.

Meanwhile the surf is up at the colourful Ron Jon outlet (Terminal G), which sells clothing, accessories and equipment. Set up back in the 1960s, Ron Jon is arguably the US’ best-known surf and beachwear retailer. Although the licensed airport outlets don’t stock the same range of apparel and beach nick nacs as the downtown shops, you still get a feel for the fun shopping environment that has made Ron Jon such a favourite with sun-loving beach-lovers.

Designer fashion brands are in short supply in the Central Terminal although at least the two Sunglass Hut outlets in Terminal E stock a decent range of high-end shades. Jack Georges (also in Terminal E) sells a wide range of formal, business-friendly bags, suitcases and leather accessories (see www.jackgeorges.com to see the brand’s latest collections up close).

One of the terminal’s most unusual stores is undoubtedly the Bayside Brush shop (Terminal G). It sells all manner of high quality male and female grooming products including hair brushes, nail brushes, shaving sets, razors, hair combs and headbands. The shop boasts outlets all over Florida, and is clearly very good at selling its chosen product category.

Other stores that deserve a mention include Mindworks (Terminal E), whose range of educational games and toys will get the most bored of kids’ imaginations working overtime, and Brookstone (also Terminal E): a gadget lovers’ paradise, where customers are encouraged to try out products before buying.

If you exhaust the terminal’s shopping option and still have time on your hands, which is a definite possibility, why not take a look at the latest art exhibition in Terminal E? Miami international is widely recognised as having one of the best art programmes or any US airport. Check out the airport’s website to see what’s on when you are travelling at http://www.miami-airport.com/art_and_exhibitions.asp.

To wrap it up, from a shoppers’ point of view, Miami Central is the worst of the airport’s three terminals. A few new stores, including some much needed gift and souvenir outlets, as well as a stronger fashion offer, would go a long way to improving what is currently just a mediocre shopping environment.

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