Avoid BWI for departures if timing is close
Date of bad experience: 8-9 July 2004. Construction at the airport was extensive at that time. I hope it is better now.
Avoid BWI (Baltimore Int'l Airport) for departures, unless you arrive at the airport at least an hour earlier than the airline recommends.
I arrived for my 5 p.m. flight 1 hour 15 minutes ahead of departure, but I still missed it.
There was construction at the airport.
It took 20 minutes to locate a gas station to fill the tank of the rental car.
After I got back to the airport main entrance, signs for Rental Car Return led me to the other side of the airport. By the time I returned the rental car and found the shuttle bus, another 20 minutes had elapsed.
Avis check-in took only 20 seconds. Avis was great. In hindsight, I should have kept the car and driven to my destination.
The shuttle bus driver was friendly. However the bus ride took 10 minutes, because it had to go back around the airport again.
When I got to the terminal, I only had 25 minutes until my flight was to leave. I had no bags to check. BWI USAir personnel sneered and said my flight was already "closed out," and that I should stand in a long line to be re-accommodated. Other passengers on my flight were in a similar situation. Someone working at BWI suggested quite earnestly that I "write to the state," since complaints were abundant.
I wasn't smiling any more, so security was burly, lengthy, and annoying.
If I'd driven from Virginia to Pennsylvania instead of flying out of BWI, I could have been home at 5 p.m., since I finished work and left at 1:30, thinking I had allowed enough time for Washington traffic and security at BWI. Instead, I got home at 1 a.m.