George H. W. Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) airport is the international airport for metropolitan Houston, Texas, USA. This airport has numerous domestic flights as well as a range of international flights. Houston Hobby Airport is domestic-only and located elsewhere in the Houston, TX area. Both Houston airports are operated and maintained by the City of Houston Department of Aviation.
Bush Intercontinental is located approximately 23 miles north of downtown Houston, near the Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8 North).
Note that ALL international arrivals (except Canada) are handled at Terminal E and D, which includes US Customs & Immigration facilities.
Quick Facts as of May 2001:
- IAH currently ranks 3rd in the United States among U.S. airports with scheduled non-stop domestic and international service (over 170 destinations)
- More than 40.4 million passengers through IAH in 2010 and more than 49.5 million passengers through IAH and William P. Hobby (HOU)
- More than 700 daily departures occur at IAH
- With nearly 30 destinations in Mexico, IAH offers service to more Mexican destinations than any other US airport
- IAH is the 7th busiest airport in the U.S. for total passenger traffic and international passenger traffic
Terminal D has a priority line which takes you to the passport check faster. It then merges with the regular line for security scanning. Terminal E has a priority line which takes you to the passport check faster. It then merges with the regular line for security screening. Expect a long wait here.
(This is a stub. Information about how the priority lines for TSA Security belongs here. Contributions from people who have experience with this at IAH is especially helpful.)
Note that Inter-Terminal Transportation is discussed later in this article.
IAH is a hub city for Star Alliance carrier Continental Airlines. A number of other Star Alliance carriers also fly to/from this airport. Continental Airlines has a IAH Airport Map showing location of Star Alliance airlines.
(This is a stub. You can help by filling this section out. This section describes location of the various Star Alliance check-in counters, along with advice on which counters are fastest/easiest to use.)
Both US-flag Star Alliance carriers have operations at Houston/Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Houston is a major domestic hub airport for United Airlines.
US flights primarily connect to other US hub airports (PHX, CLT, PHL, DCA) from Terminal A (South).
Several Star Alliance carriers have international flights to/from here. International flights (except Canada) depart from Terminal D, but arrive in Terminal E.
Air Canada offers daily flights to Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto from Terminal A (North). In the special case of arrivals from Canada, US Customs and Immigration procedures are handled in the departing airport in Canada. This permits AC flights to both depart and arrive at the same set of gates.
Houston/Bush is United Airlines' largest hub airport for Latin American flights. Arriving UA international flights arrive at Terminal E, which has a US Customs & Immigration facility.
LH offers daily flights to/from Frankfurt, Germany (FRA).
Singapore Airlines offers daily service to Singapore/Changi (SIN), via Moscow, Russia. Their flights are particularly likely to be filled with petroleum industry employees; Russia has significant petroleum extraction, while Singapore is a major SE Asian refining hub.
The only Star Alliance lounges in Houston/Bush are operated by United Airlines. US Airways Club members have reciprocal privileges to use the United Clubs. Lufthansa refers its passengers to the HAS Executive Club, which is located near Gate D-5. Singapore Airlines refers its passengers to the United Clubs.
There are 5 United Clubs at Houston/Bush airport. All are also Star Alliance Gold lounges.
All have both house and premium beverages available at the bar. None have the good espresso/capuccino machines. All have wireless Internet (WiFi) available. Clubs in Terminal C and E also have a family room. Clubs near Gate C-33 and near Gate E-11/E-12 have showers, which are especially handy for international arrivals/transit.
- Terminal A, across from Gate A9
- Terminal B, South Mezzanine, above the Continental Express ticket counter
- Terminal C, North Concourse, toward Gate C24
- Terminal C, South Concourse, toward Gate C33
- Terminal E, between Gates E11 and E12
One World airlines American Airlines and British Airways operate from here.
American Airlines operates a number of flights, primarily to its hub cities (JFK, ORD, DFW, LAX).
British Airways (BA) offers daily service to/from London/Heathrow airport (LHR).
- American Airlines (AA) does NOT have an Admirals Club lounge at Houston/Bush.
- British Airways (BA) passengers with lounge privileges may use the First Lounge (1st class pax) or Executive Club (Business pax) lounges in Terminal D.
Air France, Delta, and KLM all operate at Houston/Bush airport.
Delta operates a number of daily flights, primarily to its hub airports (Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, & Salt Lake City).
- Air France offers daily service to Paris/Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport.
- KLM offers daily service to Amsterdam/Schipol (AMS) airport.
- KLM has a lounge in Terminal D near Gate D8. This is also a SkyTeam lounge.
- Air France has a lounge in Terminal D near Gate D10. The snacks are good, but the wi-fi never works.
- There is no Delta SkyClub. SkyClub members may use the KLM lounge.
- Alaska provides daily flights to its hub in Seattle, WA, and to other west coast US cities.
- Emirates provides daily flights to Dubai.
- Qatar provides daily flights to Qatar.
- Emirates passengers with lounge privileges use the Executive Club in Concourse D.
Wireless Internet (IEEE 802.11/WiFi) service is available at no-cost throughout the airport. Houston/Bush Airport has partnered with Boingo for this service.
There is NO SMOKING within the terminal buildings. Each terminal has an outdoor designated Smoking Area, which is about 25 feet away from the terminal entrance. As these designated Smoking Areas are outside the terminal buildings, one must leave the security zone to reach them. For transit passengers, one must pass through TSA security screening to re-enter the gate areas after leaving an outdoor smoking area.
A wide range of restaurants are located in each Terminal.
- Fox Sports SkyBox is located near Gates E-15 and E-16.
- Starbucks Coffee is located near Gates A-1, A-17, C-33, and E-1.
- Starbucks Coffee is also available outside security in Terminal A and B.
There are 2 airports directly on the airport property in a central location, connected to the underground inter-terminal subway.
- Spring Hill Suites
A wider range of hotels are located nearby. Many nearby hotels have free shuttle van service between the hotel and the airport, but be sure to ask or check online about airport shuttle service -- before booking a particular hotel.
A USO Lounge is located in Terminal D across from gate D-2, operated by the United Service Organisations (USO). This is open to any US Uniformed Services (USMC, USAF, USN, US Army, NOAA Corps, USPHS) member and their families. Hours are 9am to 9pm daily.
Transport within IAH
- Terminal Link provides an above ground inter-terminal passenger train to all terminals.
- Also, there is an underground inter-terminal passenger train to all terminals and the airport hotel.
- Free shuttle to and from ecopark, the official on-airport value parking lot.
Transport to/from IAH
There are multiple options for parking. Each terminal has short-term parking available. The on-airport economy parking lot is ecopark, which has frequent no-cost shuttle buses between the economy parking lot and each of the airport terminal buildings.
Airport Parking maps are available online.
A full range of rental cars are available at the airport. Houston created a Consolidated Rental Car Facility with all of the on-airport rental car firms in one location. There are regular no-cost shuttle buses between each IAH Terminal and the CRC. Travel time between the CRC and the IAH Terminals is 5-10 minutes.
Each terminal has a taxi stand. Taxis are metered.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County operates public buses for Houston and Harris County, TX.
The Airport Direct express bus connects IAH Terminal C with selected points in town. Cost is $4.50 each way per-person. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
Houston's Light Rail service operates a single route at present.
The Airport Direct bus mentioned just above connects to Houston's light rail system at Main Street Square station. Travel time between this rail station and IAH Terminal C is approximately 40 minutes, depending upon traffic conditions.
Connecting to/from Houston/Hobby Airport
The best option to travel between airports is to take a taxi, although that is expensive ($65) and takes time.