Sleeping in Airports

Houston Airport Guide

Whether you have a layover, overnight sleepover or you are just quickly passing through, our Houston Airport Guide is a great place to start planning your visit.  Here, you’ll find information on services and facilities available inside the airport – including details about airport lounges, WiFi, mobile charging points, lockers, 24-hour food options, nearby hotels, and everything in between.

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

IAH Airport Overview

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, here is a quick run-down about what to expect during your time at Houston George Bush International Airport.

What to Expect

Houston George Bush International Airport (Code: IAH) consists of five separate terminals (Terminals A through E) interconnected by Subway (Landside) and the Skyway (Airside), allowing passengers with inter-terminal connections to transit without having to re-clear security. Perhaps due to its large size and busy nature, many reviewers describe the airport as being dirty, chaotic, inefficient, and as having long lines, limited seating and rude airport/airline staff. While there are plenty of shops and eateries throughout the different terminals, many close early in the evening. The airport offers free WiFi, and all terminals have charging areas and/or outlets for charging mobile devices. For additional comfort while you wait, economy class passengers can pay to use one of the first-class airport lounges. See Airport Lounges in the guide below for locations and rates.

Houston Airport Guide
Terminal B, Airside (Photo courtesy of Priscilla / 25May2013)

Sleeping in Houston Airport

Airport seating is limited and almost all seating throughout the airport includes armrests. While the airport is generally not conducive to sleeping, some travellers reportedly find workable nooks, with Terminal D (try the chapel) getting the most mentions, followed by Terminal C. With seating so bad throughout, travellers recommend a travel mat for floor sleeping. Also strongly recommended are eyeshades, earplugs/noise-cancelling headphones and a sweater or travel blanket. Explore our guide to sleeping in Houston Airport or read some traveller airport reviews for more tips.  For uninterrupted sleep, there is an airport hotel connected to all terminals via the Subway, and numerous other hotels within a quick shuttle ride away. See locations in the  Airport Hotels section below.

Good to Know

Travellers report that although the massage chairs located throughout the airport look comfortable, security staff do not let people sleep in them.

Covid-19 Update

Some airport reviews and tips in this guide and elsewhere on the site were written before March 2020 and may no longer be valid. To help us keep this guide up-to-date, you can add or update information or write a review to submit airport tips and photos.

For more airport information continue scrolling down to explore more in our Houston Airport Guide.

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.  For more information on Europe’s Schengen Area, click here.

Airport Hotels

If sleeping in the airport sounds like a nightmare, there are hotels near Houston Bush Airport that provide free airport shuttles:

With Covid restrictions constantly changing, we recommend that you confirm shuttle availability prior to booking and/or prior to your arrival.

  • Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental – Accessible from all terminals by free underground tram service. Free shuttle is also available. Use the courtesy phone in the Ground Transportation area to make arrangements.  » Check Rates
  • SpringHill Suites Houston Intercontinental Airport – Free airport shuttle is available 7:00AM – 11:00PM. Use the courtesy phone to make arrangements.  » Check Rates
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Houston Bush IAH South   » Check Rates
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston Intercontinental Airport   » Check Rates

For more options, visit Tripadvisor to see a list of hotels near Houston Airport that can be sorted by price, distance, traveller rating and popularity.

Airport Lounges

Pay-per-use, Single Visit Passes & Lounge Memberships

Regardless of what class of service you are flying, there are lounges that you can enter by paying at the door, purchasing a lounge pass or through a lounge membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details about the lounge itself and to also find out how you can gain lounge access with just an economy class ticket!

Admirals Club – Location: Terminal A, Airside, near Gate A25.  Lounge Access: Prepaid lounge pass • Lounge membership programs.

Passes  Air France Lounge – Location: Terminal D, Airside, opposite Gate D12. Lounge Access: Prepaid lounge pass • Lounge membership programs.

Centurion Lounge – Location: Terminal D, Airside, near Gate 6. Showers are available. Lounge Access: American Express® Card Members • Lounge membership programs.

Passes  KLM Crown Lounge – Location: Terminal D, Airside, near Gate D8. Lounge Access: Prepaid lounge pass • Lounge membership programs.

United Club – Multiple Locations – (1) Terminal A, (1) Terminal B, (2) Terminal C and (1) Terminal E.  Lounge Access:  Pay at the Door with proof of United Airlines ticket • United Club Membership.

Airline Lounges

British Airways  – Location: Terminal D, Airside, near Gates D7/8.  Lounge Access: Business/First Class ticket, Elite frequent flyer status.

Military Lounges

USO Lounge – The USO offers a lounge that is free of charge to active members of the US military and their families. Location: Terminal D, Airside, across from D-2.

Related Pages: Houston Airport Lounges

Airport WiFi / Internet

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

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

Communications

  • Courtesy Phones – White courtesy phones are available throughout the terminals.
  • Postal Services – Send your last minute postcards from the U.S. mailbox in Terminal A on the Departures Level.
  • SIM Cards – A reader has asked us to include where to buy SIM Cards. If you know, click here to update this airport guide.
  • Telephones – Pay phones can be found in all terminals.
  • WiFi – see “Airport WiFi/Internet” above.

Family Services

  • Baby Care Facilities – Most of the restrooms (ladies, mens and family) include baby changing tables.
  • Lactation Rooms/Mothers Rooms – Private nursing rooms can be found in these locations: Terminal A, between Gate A1 and The Breakfast Klub and near Gate A17 • Terminal B, near Gate B21 • Terminal C, near Gate C34 and across from Gate C4 • Terminal D, across from Gate D8/9 • Terminal E, near Gate E11.
  • Nursery – A nursery with a crib, rocking chair and private washroom can be found in Terminal D, opposite Gates 8/9).

Food & Drinks

  • Drinking Water – Thirsty? Touch display water bottle refill stations are available free of charge. Locations: throughout the terminals. Near Gate D7 you will also find a hot water dispenser.
  • Food & Drinks – Food concessions throughout the airport operate on varying schedules, with many open as early as 5:00AM. At the time of this update there are no restaurants open 24 hours.  There is 24-hour Texas Monthly News that sells drinks and snacks.  Location: Food Court, near Gates A17-A30.  Vending machines are available in all terminals.

Information

  • 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.
  • Interactive Visitor Kiosks – Learn more about the airport amenities at one of the 14 interactive visitor kiosks.
  • Traveler’s Aid – Traveler’s Aid is a non-profit organization that assists stranded and distressed passengers. Volunteers assist passengers with general airport and destination queries to assisting with situations such as transportation assistance, lost or stolen money, wiring money, emergency housing, etc. Location: Unknown. Hours: 6:00AM – 9:00PM.

Luggage

  • Baggage Carts – Need a hand with your luggage? Baggage carts are available in the baggage claim and drop-off areas of all terminals. Rate: unknown but cash (no coins) and credit cards are accepted.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers – Not available.
  • Luggage Wrapping – Protect your bags and get them secure wrapped. Services are available in each of the ticketing areas. Fees: unknown.

Mobile Charging

  • Mobile Charging – Free power stations are located in all terminals. Rapid Charger Machines offer super fast charging and USB ports for a fee. Fuel Rod chargers are also available in all Terminals. Purchase a portable Fuel Rod which includes the cable, charge your device and swap the empty charger for a full one. Unlimited swapping is included in the upfront cost.

Money

  • ATMs / Cash Machines – Need cash? ATMs are available. Fees may apply, so be sure to check your bank’s fee schedule and your daily withdrawal limit if you are travelling internationally. You may also want to notify your bank of your travel plans. Locations: Landside (5 locations) and Airside (12 locations).
  • Currency Exchange – International Currency Exchange offer services at six different locations in Terminals B, C, D and E. Hours: vary by location with most open from 7:30AM and the D Gates locations close the latest at 12:00AM.

Pet Relief

Service animal pet relief areas are located in these locations: Terminal B, Airside, Gate B1 • Terminal C, Airside, Gate C2 • Terminal D, Airside, Gate D6 • Terminal E, Airside, E12.

Prayer

  • 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 D8. Open: 24 hours.

Rest & Relaxation

  • Cots – In the event of bad weather or massive flight cancellations, this airport has a limited supply of cots for stranded travellers. Availability may have been affected by Covid.  If you are stranded during a weather delay, contact an airport employee to find out when the cots are located.
  • Hotels – see “Airport Hotels” above.
  • Lounges – see “Airport Lounges” above.
  • 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, C, D and E.
  • Rest Zones – There are no dedicated sleeping areas, quiet areas or rest zones. If this information has changed, click here to update this guide.

Shopping

  • Duty Free & Shopping – Duty Free is available in all Terminals except Terminal C. 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. There is Texas Monthly News selling newspapers, drinks and snacks, in the Food Court, near Gates A17-A30 which is open 24 hours.

Showers, Salon & Spa

  • Showers – Showers are available in the Centurion Lounge (Terminal D).  [ see Airport Lounges above ]
  • Spa – Xpress Spa offers spa services which take less than 30 minutes. Location: Terminal A, near Gate A17. Hours: 5:00AM – 10:00PM.

Smoking

  • Smoking – Smoking is not permitted inside the airport. You must use designated smoking areas outdoors at least 25 feet from exit doors at designated locations.

Things to do & see

  • Art in the Airport – Art exhibitions and daily scheduled live music shows are available throughout the airport.

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.

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: 4:00AM – 7:00PM
Terminal A South: 3:15AM – 11:00PM
Terminal B: 5:00AM – 9:05PM
Terminal C North: 4:15AM – 10:00PM
Terminal C South: 5:00AM – 7:30PM
Terminal D: 4:00AM – 1:00AM
Terminal E: 4:00AM – 12:00AM

Airlines

Houston Intercontinental airport is served by the following airlines: Aeroméxico • Aeroméxico Connect • Air Canada • Air China • Air France • Air New Zealand • Alaska Airlines • American Airlines • All Nippon Airways • Avianca • British Airways • Delta Air Lines • Emirates • EVA Air • Frontier Airlines • Interjet • JetBlue • KLM • Lufthansa • Qatar Airways • Singapore Airlines • Southwest • Spirit Airlines • Turkish Airlines • United Airlines • Vivaaerobus • Volaris • WestJet.

Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Bus Service – Houston Metro

IAH Airport 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 Rental Car Center, a separate building located east of JFK Blvd.  Shuttles depart every 5 minutes (Hours: 7:00AM – 11:00PM) or every 10 minutes (Hours: 11:00PM – 7:00AM).  The following agencies are located onsite in the facility: Alamo • Avis • Budget • Dollar • Enterprise • Hertz • National • Payless • Thrifty • Zipcar.

Hotel Shuttles

Several area hotels offer airport shuttle service:  Best Western Intercontinental Airport Inn   •   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   •    SpringHill Suites Houston Intercontinental Airport   •   Super 8 Intercontinental Houston.

You can use the courtesy telephones in the baggage claim area to request airport pickup.  Pick-up locations are outside Baggage Claim on the Arrivals Level: Terminal A, South Side, Door A-115 • Terminal B, South Side, Door B-103 • Terminal C, South Side, Door C-105.  Follow the “Hotel Shuttles” signs.

See also Airport Hotels above.

Inter-Terminal Transportation

All five terminals are connected by an above ground people mover (Skyway) and underground train (Subway).  Both are available free of charge.

The Skyway departs every 2 minutes from the Skyway stations in each terminal (Airside).  The total travel time from Terminal A to Terminal D is 4 minutes 15 seconds.

The Subway departs every 3 minutes from the Subway stations in each terminal (Landside) and the Airport Marriott.  Hours: 3:30AM – 12:30AM.  The travel time between stations is 3 minutes.

Ride Apps

Ride Apps currently serving IAH are Alto • Get Me • GreenLight (GLT) • Lyft • Uber • Wingz.  Pick-up areas are sign-posted “Ride Apps” outside Baggage Claim on the Arrivals Level of each terminal.

Taxis

Taxi pick-up locations are outside the baggage claim 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. At the time of this update, an average one-way fare between the airport and Downtown is $57.

Last updated: 2022-10-28

This guide is for informational purposes only to assist with your planning.  All information, including rates and hours, are subject to change at any time without notice.   The information in this airport guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airports, lounges, hotels, transportation providers and their web sites. We are not representatives of any of the above mentioned service providers. To report errors or to add/update any items mentioned in the guide: update the airport guide or  write a review.