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Destin VPS Airport

Destin VPS Airport

Old Feb 10, 20, 11:00 pm
  #1  
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Destin VPS Airport

Iím going to attempt a Destin Florida vacation this year and it would make the most sense to fly into this airport but I read really bad reviews on it. Long TSA, limited food and drink, etc. Does anyone have first hand experience there? Can I get some beers before I fly? For the volume of passengers listed, it seems like a limited airport. Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 10:34 am
  #2  
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It is a small airport, but much closer than PNS or ECP. I don't remember any big security lines or waits. So I don't think it would be any different than any of your other choices. With that said, if you are renting a car, I'd suggest trying to get to the rental counter as quickly as possible as that is the one area that I have had some waits. I know Avis doesn't have a Preferred counter and given the airports small size, I'd guess none of the other chains have separate lines for their elites either. So if you wait until you get your bags to get into line, it might be a bit of a wait.

As for food/drinks, I'm not really a beer drinker, so don't remember what they have for that, but I do believe there is at least one burger type place that can serve beer/wine. It has been a couple of years since I last flew out of VPS as I've had lots of WN points and they don't fly out of VPS. So I get to pick either PNS or ECP (this year it will be ECP.)
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Old Feb 11, 20, 11:16 am
  #3  
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I used to fly in and out of there all the time. Yes, it is small. But that is sometimes a good thing. The one downside or at least from a few years ago is that the Delta flights were often delayed. But same is true for ECP.
It actually shares runways/space with Eglin Air Force Base.

If you head to Destin via Ft Walton(west) rather than taking the toll bridge (east), watch your speed through Shalimar, they check there.
There is a bar that has both airside and pre security accessibility.


For Destin, I think it is the best alternative. Maybe if you were headed to Sandestin, you could conside ECP, as the drive is nice. But no upside to the airport itself.
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Old Feb 12, 20, 1:02 pm
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It's a tiny airport, smaller than PNS, but usually cheaper and more convenient to fly in to and out of if you're heading to Destin. Parking is cheaper and more readily available than PNS, too.

If I remember correctly, there are two kiosks airside that serve snacks and bottled beverages. I don't remember if there's a sit-down restaurant or a place where alcohol is served. There are good views of the landing area of the runway from the furthest end of the terminal. You're almost guaranteed a chance to see F-35s or F-22s practicing.

I've never had to wait at TSA. They do have a Pre-Check lane. I've also never had a delayed flight on Delta out of VPS. I have had some hold times after departure but before takeoff and it's usually related to military activity on the shared runway. These hold times are built into the estimated departure/arrival times into Atlanta.

I second what other posters have said about rental cars. No "aisles" or preferred areas like at bigger airports, so selection is limited.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 12:47 am
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I lived in Panama City until recently. Up until a couple years ago, I always found better pricing using VPS. Of course, since it was less convenient, I did not always use it. But I did insist on my kids using it. The last couple years, price differences seem to have disappeared.

Small is good and I never encountered long lines at TSA. And there was a place landslide for beer and sandwiches and I would wait there until my kids arrived. Iím pretty sure I remember local beers from Grafton Brewing on tap.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 7:20 pm
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When I did temp work at VPS several years ago, I did see some long TSA lines. Not consistently, just during the busy flight times....mostly early morning and late afternoon. Avoid those times and you will be okay.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 11:36 pm
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It's my home airport and I'm very happy with it. A lot of the complaints come from occasional leisure travelers who are flying with Allegiant and confuse their issues that airline with airport operations as a whole. The TSA backlog happens when Allegiant banks their flights in the summer. So be aware of the departure schedule. And I've never waited more than about 3-4 minutes in the TSA-Pre line.

There's a kiosk outside security, a sandwich place going in airside to replace where Quizno's used to be, and a sit down bar and restaurant with a common kitchen area that serves both land and air side. Though if you've got the time, I'd just stop at Doc's Oyster Bar on the Bayou in Valparaiso on the way to the airport instead. Looks like a dive but the food is good.

It's an airport that's in the middle of some growing pains right now, especially during busier summer months. Passenger count has doubled since Allegiant went into there, and gate expansion is in the works but 2-3 years out. They are playing catch-up to a decent degree (checked bags are now relatively quick to the carousel after I spent 2018 maxing out on Delta's '20 minutes or 2500 miles' bag guarantee) but things are going to get a little crowded until then during summer surge times. Overall though, I still find it very manageable, especially with Pre.

The military and the airlines do a good job of working around each other. My most common Delta delay is a departure hold due to Atlanta ATC request, which is the same thin you'd get flying out of PNS or ECP with that airline.
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