Nashville, Tennessee is frequently referred to as the music city and for good reason. When you walk up and down Broadway more commonly known as “The Strip” in downtown Nashville you can’t help but take in the many country artists singing their heart out in every bar and restaurant. You can hear the desire to make it big in many of the songs. If you want to be big in country music, Nashville is the place. You have to get there first and most likely it will be by flying into Nashville International Airport or BNA.
BNA encapsulates much of much makes Nashville great: Southern Hospitality, country music, and bbq. Established in 1937, its original name was Berry Field, from which the IATA identifier BNA is derived. The current terminal was constructed in 1987, and the airport took its current name in 1988. Nashville International Airport has four runways, the longest of which is 11,030 feet (3,360 m) long, a size adequate to handle all aircraft in service in 2014. BNA ranks as the 34th-busiest airport in the United States in terms of passengers. A total of 11,119,618 passengers traveled into and out of BNA in 2014, a 6.6 percent increase over the calendar year 2013, which was record-setting at the time. The month of June 2015 set a new record for passenger traffic at Nashville International, including a record 1,071,025 total passengers. The airport is currently served by 10 airlines and offers 385 daily arriving and departing flights with nonstop flights to more than 50 markets in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
What I really enjoyed about BNA is the proximity to downtown. I took a Uber to and from the airport and there is a specific ride share pick up area where you can meet your driver. Each way only took about 15 minutes, which is great compared to some airports located further out from the destination city. The airport is very simple to navigate which is also a plus. The departure terminal is one main building that spider webs into the 3 departure terminals A, B and C. This makes for an easy drop-off and pick situation. I was flying Southwest with no checked bags and I decided for the first time to use the mobile boarding pass. Truth be told I didn’t like it, I felt clunky walking up to the TSA officer with my phone outstretched. I love technology, but I like having a physical ticket on me. For a Thursday mid-morning, the security was packed and moved very slow. As a result of this I have signed up for TSA pre-check and next time I fill I will be going through that line.
Once I got through security check you have the choice of going right to terminal A, B or left to C. I made my way to terminal C. There’s actually quite a few food options spread out through the terminals. They have a smaller version of their Honky Tonk bar Tootsies inside this airport and there’s an open mic (so I’ve heard). In terminal C, there is a food court but they aren’t authentic to Nashville, more of the generic chain foods brands. The country music is pumped through the speakers at all times, which can get slightly annoying depending on your musical tastes. There are plenty of guitars that line the walls of the terminals for your amusement and there is also an Aviation and Arts displays, but I wasn’t able to find it. I heard there was free Wi-Fi but to my disappointment it was only 30 minutes free through Boingo, which is always a pain to sign up for. When will airports learn Wifi should be free.
The overall layout is good, you won’t get lost by any means. The bathrooms are clean and the terminals are in good condition. The shopping is geared more towards Nashville kitschy memorabilia and I wouldn’t say that is BNA’s strong suit. The staff is friendly and there is enough to keep you busy while waiting for your flight. For those simple reason, I give it a B-. Nothing really blew my socks off but for a mid-sized airport you could do way worse. As always make sure to use tripchi on your journies. Travel On!