2016 Best & Worst Airports Survey Vote

Houston Airport Guide

houston airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our Houston Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

the announcement are incredibly annoying...all night long. The security woke me up by kicking my backpack (which was my pillow). -wezzard

Airport Overview

houston airport

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported back to us during their time at Houston Airport.

What to Expect

  • A large and busy airport with five terminals (Terminals A, B, C, D and E) connected by Skyway and Subway.
    Many reviewers describe the airport as dirty, chaotic and inefficient, noting the very long lines at security checkpoints and Customs/Immigration, a lack of seating, confusion at the baggage carrousels, and rude airline/airport staff. Reports are conflicting on which terminal is the worst.
  • Missed flight connections due to the very long lines at Customs/Immigration.
  • Free WiFi is available. See WiFi in the airport guide below.
  • A large variety of dining options. 24-hour dining is available in Terminal B.

Where to Sleep

  • Expect armrests on all of the seats throughout the airport. Have a travel mat or sleeping bag handy and snag a choice spot on the floor!
  • One reviewer mentioned Terminal E (Gate E8) for being a quiet and safe place to sleep (until shops open at around 5:30AM), with a strong WiFi signal and lots of power outlets and charging stations nearby.
  • Some areas of the airport are very bright and very noisy all through the night, so have a sleep mask and earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones handy for a good night’s sleep!
  • Have a travel blanket handy for those cold winter nights in the airport terminal!
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there are hotels near the airport that provide a free airport shuttle. See Airport Hotels in the airport guide below.

Good to Know

  • The airport is open 24 hours, but if you are not already inside the airport during night hours, you will be locked out until 4:00AM.
  • After security checkpoints close for the night, passengers are restricted to landside only. Passengers sleeping airside will be required to go back to landside until security reopens, and will need to clear security again to re-enter.
  • Economy class passengers can pay to use one of the first class lounges. See Airport Lounges in the airport guide below for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our Houston Intercontinental Airport Guide.


» Read All Houston Airport Reviews Write a Review Rate Airport

Houston Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Houston airport either by purchasing a lounge pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

  • United Club - Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 59.00) • United Club Membership.
    • Terminal A - Location: Airside, Gate A9.
    • Terminal B - Location: Airside, South Mezzanine, above the Continental Express Counter.
    • Terminal C - South - Location: Airside, South Concourse, Gate C33. Showers are available.
    • Terminal C - North - Location: Airside, North Concourse, Gate C24.
    • Terminal E - Location: Airside, between Gates E11 and 12. Showers are available.
  • KLM Crown Lounge - Location: Terminal D, Airside, near Gate D8. Hours: 6:00AM - 10:00PM (Daily). Lounge Access: to be advised.
  • Air France Lounge - Location: Terminal D, Airside, opposite Gate D12. Hours: 12:00PM - 6:00PM (Daily). Lounge Access: to be advised.
  • Centurion Lounge - Location: Terminal D, Airside, near Gate 6. Hours: 5:30AM - 9:00PM. Lounges Access: American Express cardholders (US$ 50)

USO Lounge - The USO offers a lounge to members of the military and their families. Amenities: WiFi, video games, TV lounge, snacks, computers and a library. Location: Terminal D, Airside, across from D-2. Hours: 6:00AM - 9:00PM.

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at Houston Airport. Connect to the "Free Airport WIFI" network.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in Houston Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:

To find a cheap room, there is a list of near Houston Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • Art in the Airport - Art exhibitions and daily scheduled live music shows are available throughout the airport.
  • ATMs / Cash Machines - ATMs are available in all four terminals.
  • Baby Care Facilities - Nursing rooms - Locations: Terminal B, Near Gates B84-91 • Terminal D, Near Gates D7-8.
  • Baggage Carts - Baggage carts are available in the baggage claim and drop-off areas of all four terminals for a small fee.
  • Chapels - The Airport Interfaith Chapel offers a quiet place to collect your thoughts. Two locations: Terminal C, airside, near Gates C29-33 • Terminal D, airside, near Gate D7. Open: 24 hours.
  • Cots - In the event of bad weather or massive flight cancellations, this airport has a supply of cots for stranded travellers. If you are stranded during a weather delay, contact an airport employee to find out when the cots are located. Unfortunately, the cots are not available for travellers who simply decide to spend the night in the airport. Due to the amount of wacky email we receive about this, we'll also let you know that cots cannot be "reserved" and we don't know where they are kept. Please speak to a gate agent or an airport employee.
  • Currency Exchange - Offered in Terminals B, C, D and E.
  • Duty Free & Shopping - DuFry Tax & Duty Free Two locations: near Gate E9 and Gate E24. In addition to the airport’s retail shops, various items can be purchased 24/7 from automated kiosks placed throughout the airside areas of the airport.
  • Food & Drinks - Food concessions throughout the airport operate on varying schedules, with many open as early as 5:00AM. These options are open 24 hours: Fresh Gourmet Marketplace (Terminal B, airside, near Gates B1-B31) Vending machines are also available in all four terminals.
  • Information Desk - Visitor Information Centers offer airport and local tourism information and assistance daily from 8:00AM - 6:00PM. Four locations: Terminal A, landside, Baggage Claim • Terminal C, landside, Baggage Claim • Terminals D/E, airside, International Arrivals Hall • Terminal E, landside, just after security checkpoint. Airport Volunteer Ambassadors can be spotted around the airport in their red shirts.
  • Massage Chairs - Sit back and enjoy a 5-minute deep-tissue massage for a small fee. Locations: Ticketing lobby (landside), the food court (airside) and the gated areas of Terminals A, B and C.
  • Mobile Charging - Free power stations are located in all terminals. Rapid Charger Machines offer super fast charging and USB ports for a small usage fee.
  • Showers - Showers are available in the United Club in Terminal E. [ see Airport Lounges above ]
  • Water Bottle Filling Stations - Touch-display water dispensing machines are located throughout the terminals.

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Airport Hours

While the airport is open 24 hours, it only remains open to ticketed passengers already within the terminal who have been stranded or arrived late at night and await connecting flights in the morning.

If you are a traveller looking to spend the night inside the airport prior to an early morning flight, the terminal doors are locked to outsiders. According to a review we received on March 25, 2016 from a traveller at Terminal C it was not possible to enter overnight. The reviewer tells us " You say that the airport is open 24h. It is just not true. They close the doors for the night hours. If you are already in, its OK, but from the outside you can't get in during these hours. If your ticket is for the next calendar day, they dont let you in and have to wait until 4 AM. In this case, you should be prepared to wait outside the terminal or make other arrangements.

Keep in mind that airline check-in and baggage drop hours vary according the flight schedule. Check these hours with your airline. If you are in the public area of the terminal (landside) you will not be able to get through to the secure area of the terminal (airside) until the morning. The TSA security screening checkpoint hours vary according to terminal:

  • Terminal A North: 4:30AM - 8:00PM
  • Terminal A South: 3:30AM - 10:30PM
  • Terminal B: 5:00AM - 9:00PM
  • Terminal C North: 4:30AM - 7:00PM
  • Terminal C South: 4:00AM - 11:00PM
  • Terminal D: 4:00AM - 12:30AM
  • Terminal E: 4:30AM - 12:01AM

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Amtrak Connections

For travel from the airport to the Amtrak station by bus, use Bus Line 102 from Terminal C. Exit the bus at Milam St & Preston St and walk 10 minutes to the station. Frequency: the bus departs approximately every 20 minutes. Estimated travel time is approximately 54 minutes.

To travel from the Amtrak station to the airport, walk to the Bus Line 102 stop at Travis St at Franklin St and take the bus to Houston Airport, Terminal C. Frequency: the bus departs every 15 minutes. Estimated travel time is approximately 54 minutes.

Bus service - Houston Metro

IAH is served by Houston METRO public bus 102, which runs between the south side of Terminal C (baggage claim level) and the downtown Metro station. For fares and route information, visit the Houston METRO website. 

Car Rentals

Onsite car rental agencies operate from Consolidated Rental Car Facility, a separate building located east of JFK Blvd on airport grounds, and only 5 minutes from the airport terminals. The facility can be reached from the terminals via maroon and white shuttle buses marked “Rental Car Shuttle”. From Arrivals, follow the Rental Car signage to the shuttle stops. The following agencies are located onsite in the facility: Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Firefly, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Hotel Shuttles

Several area hotels offer free airport shuttle service as a convenience for their guests. Contact your hotel of choice for shuttle service availability and information. You can use the courtesy telephones in the baggage claim area to request airport pickup. Here are a few hotels that offer airport shuttle: Baymont Inn & Suites Intercontinental Airport/Humble   •   Best Western Plus JFK Inn & Suites   •   Comfort Suites Bush Intercontinental Airport   •   Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Houston Intercontinental Airport South   •   Doubletree Houston Intercontinental Airport   •   Hampton Inn & Suites Houston - Bush Intercontinental Airport   •   Hilton Garden Inn Houston/Bush Intercontinental Airport   •   Holiday Inn Express Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport East   •   Holiday Inn Houston Intercontinental Airport   •   La Quinta Inn & Suites Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport East   •   Marriott Houston Airport at George Bush Intercontinental   •   Sheraton North Houston at George Bush Intercontinental   •   Sleep Inn & Suites Bush Intercontinental Airport IAH East   •   SpringHill Suites Houston Intercontinental Airport   •   Super 8 Intercontinental Houston

Shared-Ride Service

SuperShuttle is an authorized shared ride service provider, offering door-to-door shared ride or exclusive ride service between the airport and destinations in the Houston metropolitan area, including William P. Hobby Airport. Rides can be booked online, via phone or upon arrival at the airport at the SuperShuttle kiosk located in the baggage claim area.

Taxis

Taxis can be hailed with the assistance of Ground Transportation staff on the ground floor outside of each terminal. All rides within Houston city limits are charged a flat rate or assessed by meter, whichever is less. A flag drop fee of $2.75 is added to the trip, along with a late night surcharge of $1 per trip if applicable (8:00PM - 6:00AM). Two or more passengers ride on the same fare, and senior citizens receive a 10% discount. TAXIPASS and major credit cards are accepted by all taxis. At the time of this update, an average one-way fare between the airport and Downtown is $53.50.

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Last Updated: 14 June 2016

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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