George Bush Intercontinental Airport Guide (2024)

Your Trip to Houston: The Complete Guide

  • Neighborhoods to Know
  • Driving in Houston
  • Houston's Public Transport
  • 48 Hours in Houston: Itinerary
  • Day Trips From Houston
  • Best Beaches Near Houston
  • Top Things to Do
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  • Houston's Airports

Your Trip to Houston: The Complete Guide


    United States



    Arlene Fleming

    Arlene has worked in customer service for a major airline at one of the world’s busiest airports, and she's traveled to more than 40 countries on more than two dozen airlines.

    TripSavvy'seditorial guidelines

    Updated on 09/09/21

    Fact checked by

    Jillian Dara

    George Bush Intercontinental Airport Guide (22)

    Fact checked byJillian Dara

    Emerson College

    Jillian Dara is a freelance journalist and fact-checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Michelin Guides, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Forbes.


    George Bush Intercontinental Airport Guide (23)

    George Bush Intercontinental Airport


    2800 N Terminal Rd, Houston, TX 77032, USA

    Phone+1 281-230-3100

    Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which opened in June 1969, is one of the busiest airports inthe United States, with flights to around 200 destinations. A hub for United Airlines, it operates five runways and has the capacity to serve over 45 million passengers a year and operate more than 650 daily departures.

    Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information

    The George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is named after the 41st president of the United States. The name changed, from Houston Intercontinental Airport, in 1997.

    Know Before You Go

    The airport offers passengers service on 27 airlines, an on-site Marriott hotel, nearly 25,000 parking spaces, and an underground inter-terminal passenger train to all terminals and the airport hotel. Intercontinental sits on 11,000 acres of land, fiveterminals, and an on-site hotel.

    The airport'sMaster Plan 2035 is aimed at helping the facility handle growth and offer travelers an improved passenger experience. Projects underway include: adding the new Terminal B North Pierin between the existing Terminal B North gates and the existing Terminal C North Pier; the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, which will create a four-level single consolidated terminal building; and adding 2,200 new parking spaces.

    George Bush Intecontinental Airport Parking

    Airport parking prices can be found on the airport website. The airport has a guide that reports how full lots and garages are and offers guaranteed parking under the SurePark program. The Corporate Park program allows companies to get parking discounts in all lots.For airport pick-ups, IAH offers two cell phone lots where drivers can wait for their arriving passengers.

    Driving Directions

    From downtown Houston, take I-45 North for a few miles until you can take Exit 51 and merge onto I-610 East. Drive for one mile and then take Exit 19B and stay on Hardy Toll Road for 10 miles until you see the exit for Intercontinental Airport. Take the exit and follow signs for George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

    Public Transportation and Taxis

    To get to Houston from the airport via public transportation, you can take the 102 bus line which picks up passengers in Terminal C near the baggage claim.

    Taxis are available outside of every terminal and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also available throughout the Houston metro area. When taking a cab, senior citizens should inquire about a 10 percent discount on their fare.

    Many hotels offer complimentary shuttles, but you can also buy a ticket on the SuperShuttle, which is faster than public transportation and cheaper than a cab. Tickets can be purchased online or at the SuperShuttle desk near the baggage claim.

    Where to Eat and Drink

    Houston Airport offers over one hundred restaurants, bars, cafes, and snack stands where you can get a bite to eat. With such a large array of offerings, you can count on finding your favorite fast food stops, but you should also consider taking some time to dine in at one of the airport's sit-down restaurants. Here are some of the most popular by terminal:

    • Liquid Provisions in Terminal A
    • El Real and Bullritos in Terminal B
    • Pala or Ember in Terminal C
    • Hugo's Cocina and Tony's Wine Cellar & Bistro in Terminal D
    • Yume or Q in Terminal E.

    Where to Shop

    This airport is full of shopping opportunities from the automated electronic and cosmetic kiosks to the Duty-Free stores available in all terminals. At George Bush Intercontinental, you can shop luxury brands like Swarvoski and Chanel, buy some sweets at Natalie's Candy Jar, or even pick up a puzzle game at Mindworks. Texas-inspired souvenirs can be found at Houston! or Pinto Ranch.

    How to Spend Your Layover

    To best enjoy Houston during a long layover, you should have at least six hours to work with. Taxis are the quickest way to get to the city, but you can also take the bus. You should have just enough time to take a stroll through downtown or maybe check out a museum like the Houston Museum of Natural Science or the non-denominational Rothko Chapel. If you have a lot of time and give yourself the whole day, you could also pay a visit to the Houston Space Center. It's not very close to the airport, but a chance to see real space shuttles and astronaut suits makes for a unique experience that can only be had in Houston.

    If you have an overnight layover, consider staying at the Houston Airport Marriott, which is located at the airport, or in one of the nearby budget hotels like SpringHill Suites, Red Roof Inn, or the DoubleTree. If you're looking to kill time in the airport outside of shopping and eating, you can also visit the Xpress Spa for a treatment or hunt for one of the massage chairs which can be found in all terminals.

    Airport Lounges

    There are a number of airport lounges at this large airport, most of which are only accessible through a premium ticket or airline loyalty programs. Lounges include: Air France Lounge (Terminal D), KLM Crown Lounge (Terminal D), United Club (Terminals A, B, C, and E), and the Centurion Lounge, which features shower facilities (Terminal D).

    The Houston Airport is also home to a USO Lounge, which is free to use for active and retired members of the U.S. military and their traveling companions.

    Wi-Fi and Charging Stations

    Wi-Fi is complimentary and widely available. Charging stations can be found in all terminals, but Rapid Charger Machines are also an option. For a fee, these machines can charge your phone in half the time. These only work if your device supports quick-charging; many older devices do not.

    George Bush Intercontinental Airport Tips and Tidbits

    • Amenity-wise, the airport offers pet relief areas, smoking areas, two chapels, multi-lingual special service representatives, visitor information centers, and a currency exchange booth.
    • You can use the free Skyway train to travel in between terminals.
    • IAH has one of the largest collections of public artin Texas. The city of Houston’s Civic Art Program partnered with the airport to collect commissioned and donated works of art. This art has been installed in the airport's five terminals as a way to provide aesthetic and cultural value to the identity of the city. Pieces include everything from sculptures tophotographs, placed inside and outside of the airport.
    • Intercontinental's Harmony in the Air program provides a stage for local jazz musicians on weekdays in Terminal A. If you're curious, it's possible to check the schedule of performances before your visit.

    Article Sources

    TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

    1. Hub United. "Airport Fact Sheet Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport." Retrieved Jan 8, 2021.

    2. Fly 2 Houston. "Rules & Policies | Houston Airport System." Retrieved Jan 8, 2021.

    3. "Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs Civic Art Program." Retrieved Jan 8, 2021.

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    George Bush Intercontinental Airport Guide (2024)


    Is IAH airport easy to navigate? ›

    At both HOU and IAH, plenty of marked signs make navigating your way through the airports easy.

    Is a 45 minute layover in Houston enough? ›

    If you're connecting between two domestic flights at HOU, a layover of at least 30 to 45 minutes should be sufficient. If you're connecting to or from an international flight, a layover of at least 1 to 1.5 hours is recommended.

    How far in advance should I arrive at IAH? ›

    Arrive two hours before flight departure. Passengers have a variety of convenient parking options when flying from Houston Airports. ecopark: on-airport economy parking lot. Reservations can be made in advance.

    How long does it take to get through security at George Bush Intercontinental Airport? ›

    TerminalApprox. Wait
    Terminal A South**Less than 10
    Terminal BLess than 10
    Terminal C North***Less than 10
    Terminal C South24 minutes
    3 more rows

    Can you walk between terminals at IAH? ›

    There are 5 terminals at IAH (A, B, C, D, and E) that are all connected by Skyway and subway trains. Except for Terminal A, all the other terminals are connected via walkways inside the secure area.

    What is the hardest airport to navigate in the US? ›

    5 Of The Most Challenging Airports To Land At In The USA
    • 1 Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
    • 2 West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW)
    • 3 Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE)
    • 4 John Wayne Airport (SNA)
    • 5 Catalina Airport (AVX)
    Nov 8, 2023

    Do I have to go through security again for connecting flight in Houston? ›

    All connecting international passengers must go through TSA Security Recheck before proceeding to their onward flight (after processing through Immigration & Customs and collecting and rechecking baggage).

    Is 40 minutes enough time for a layover at IAH? ›

    Even if you have to change terminals, 40 minutes is doable. The inter-terminal tram is within the sterile area so you do not have to re-clear security. You won't have time to browse duty free but you should make your connection without a problem.

    What is the shortest acceptable layover? ›

    • Most airlines recommend arriving at least two hours before domestic flights and at least three hours before international flights. ...
    • Layovers of just 30 minutes can be feasible for domestic flights, especially at small airports where the next flight might be just one gate over.
    Aug 10, 2023

    What time is the Houston airport busiest? ›

    Peak Travel Times

    Peak Travel is from 5 pm to 9 pm daily. Based on airline schedules, Friday and Sunday are the busiest times of the week.

    Is IAH a busy airport? ›

    George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston ranked 17th for aircraft movements in 2022. The dataset's key findings confirm total global passenger traffic for 2022—surpassing 6.6 billion—the return of international traffic, and the prevalence of U.S. airports in the top rankings.

    How busy is Houston airport today? ›

    Delays by Destination: No destination-specific delays are being reported. General Departure Delays: Traffic is experiencing gate hold and taxi delays lasting 15 minutes or less. General Arrival Delays: Arrival traffic is experiencing airborne delays of 15 minutes or less.

    What time is the George Bush Intercontinental Airport busiest? ›

    Peak travel times are from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you're flying during those hours, you're urged to add an extra hour to your usual arrival time. Bush travelers might want to add even more extra time because of ongoing construction on a new international terminal and the revamping of terminal B.

    Is IAH busy at 5am? ›

    Busiest times: In all terminals, 5 a.m. - 8 a.m., 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Real-time checkpoint wait times available on IAH website.

    How many gates does George Bush Intercontinental Airport have? ›

    Terminals. George Bush Intercontinental Airport has five terminals and 131 total gates, 101 with jet bridges and 30 hardstands. The Skyway automated people mover system provides airside connections between all five terminals. The Subway provides landside connections between the five terminals and the airport hotel.

    How do I get around Iah Airport? ›

    Ground Transportation
    1. Ground Transportation.
    2. Taxis and Ride Apps.
    3. Limousines and Sedans.
    4. Shuttles and Buses.
    5. Rental Cars.
    6. Inter-Terminal Transportation.

    Is it hard to navigate through an airport? ›

    It may look and sound overwhelming, but learning what to do at the airport can be easy. The good news is that most airports have a similar basic design, and the steps that you need to follow are essentially the same, no matter which airport is closest to your home.


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