About 23 miles north of downtown, Intercontinental has been Houston’s major commercial international airport since it opened in 1969. It is a hub for United Airlines, which accounts for more than half of the airport’s passengers, many of whom are connecting on east-west U.S. domestic routes or using the airport as a gateway to/from Latin America destinations. The drive to downtown Houston takes about 25 minutes in normal traffic.
Bush Intercontinental Airport has five terminals, labeled A, B, C, D and E. All of the terminals are interconnected post-security via an automated train system called the Skyway. There is also a subway that connects the terminals, pre-security. International arrivals and departures use gates on the D and E concourses.
Ground transportation options include taxis, app-based rides, and reserved car and limousine services and shuttles, all of which can be found outside baggage claim at Terminals A, B, C and E. Buses, including Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Route 102 to downtown as well as other lines to neighboring cities, depart from outside baggage claim of Terminal C.
United Airlines flights arrive and depart at gates on the A, B, C and E concourses at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Connecting passengers arriving on domestic flights, or international flights that were pre-cleared by U.S. Customs at their departure airport, can use the Skyway automated train system between terminals without exiting the TSA secure area. Connecting passengers arriving on international flights who clear U.S. Customs at Houston will find the TSA’s international re-screening area can be chaotic and slow when it’s busy. Also PreCheck is not available. An often more efficient alternative is to exit the international arrivals area as if you are a local passenger leaving the airport. Once in the International Arrivals Hall take the escalator up to the ticketing level where there is a TSA checkpoint with PreCheck. United has check-in counters and baggage claim in each of the four terminals it uses.
Houston is in Texas so of course it’s big. More than 7 million people live in the metro area. The city also prides itself on its ethnic diversity. It’s also economic center for energy, manufacturing and aeronautics. Boosters like to point to the numerous Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies that are headquartered in the area. For better or worse, the city is the largest in the U.S. without a zoning code.
If you’re planning a trip, Visit Houston has more information here.
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