George Bush Intercontinental Airport is a public establishment operated by the Houston Airport System, and is owned by the City of Houston. It is a Class B international airport serving the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area, and is rated as the tenth busiest airport for passenger traffic in North America. The airport may also be referred to as the Houston Airport, and by its official code of IAH. George Bush Airport departures are offered by a large number of airline companies, but the airport is a major hub for United Airlines. The airport also has many facilities for departing passengers, and a number of options for ground transportation, should a passenger prefer not to use the airport parking lots.
The airport of Houston is named after the 41st president of the country, George H.W. Bush, and is located approximately 23 miles, or 37km north of downtown Houston. Houston is regarded as the fourth largest city in terms of population in the United States, and its largest airport, George Bush Intercontinental, has served just over 40 million passengers per annum in the last few years. Houston also has another airport, known as the Houston Hobby Airport. Passengers on departure flights from George Bush Intercontinental can leave their private vehicles in one of the airport parking lots. There are parking areas nearby each of the terminal buildings, and an ecopark for longer term stays should the terminal parking be too expensive. The airport is quite easily reached from downtown Houston by either the I-45 or the US Highway 59. There are also two entrances to the airport, one off John F. Kennedy Boulevard and the other off Will Clayton Parkway.
Passengers on departure flights could also travel to the airport by public transport, or by one of the shuttle companies that offer transport to the airport. The public bus is operated by METRO, the city’s transport company, and is known as the 102 Bush IAH Express. SuperShuttle is one of the more popular shuttle services available, and can be used from many areas in the city, including hotels, businesses and residential suburbs. An advanced reservation is required for their service. Hotel shuttles are also available, and are usually a free service to or from the airport. The majority of the nearby hotels have shuttles that run regularly (or when needed) to the airport. In addition to the bus services, taxis are a convenient way to travel as well. Taxis can be taken from any area of the city, but will cost around $50.00 from downtown Houston.
Passengers on George Bush Intercontinental Airport departure flights who are returning a rented car will need to drive back to the consolidated rental car facility from where they collected their vehicle. The facility is just east of John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Always arriving in good time, as a few minutes will be needed to check the vehicle and to hand back the keys, and passengers will need about five to ten minutes to travel to their terminal of departure on the rental car shuttles. The shuttles are frequently available, but a few minutes wait is not uncommon. Within the car rental centre, there are flight information displays available so that passengers can see when their flight is due for departure.
George Bush Airport is served by many airline companies, some of which are national and others which are international. The airport is the largest hub for United Airlines, and therefore many of the airport’s domestic and international flights are handled by this company. United Airlines flies to the international destinations of London, Vancouver, Paris, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro, Panama City, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam, Tokyo and San Salvador, just to mention a few, and their local destinations include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Miami, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, Salt Lake City and Orlando. Further international departures are handled by the airline companies of British Airways, Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, TACA, Air France, Air Canada, AeroMexico and VivaAerobus, and additional domestic departures are handled by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways.
The majority of international departure flights head for Mexico City, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, London in the United Kingdom, San Jose in Costa Rica, Calgary in Canada, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Frankfurt in Germany and Guatemala City in Guatemala. George Bush Intercontinental Airport handles around eight million international passengers every year, and is regarded as one of the busiest international gateways of the country. The other thirty odd million passengers travel on domestic flights, and the majority of domestic departures head for Chicago, Denver, Newark, Phoenix, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans and Charlotte.
Th airport departures are handled from five terminal buildings, referred to as the Terminals A, B, C, D and E. Terminal A and Terminal B are the original buildings of the airport, although they have been expanded over the years, and mainly handle domestic flights. Terminal A has North and South Concourses, each with ten departure gates, and are from where all non-United domestic and Canadian flights depart. In the centre of the terminal nearby the departure gates there is a food court area with stores such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Riggers Tavern, The Stadium City Bar and Grill and The Grove. Terminal B, although still in use, is currently under renovation, and should be completed in 2013. This terminal also has a wide range of shops and restaurants.
Terminal C has 31 gates and serves as the main base for domestic United Airline flights. There are two United Clubs in the terminal, as well as the airport’s interfaith chapel. Terminal D of George Bush Airport is also known as the Mickey Leland Terminal and is the international terminal of the airport, however, Terminal E handles all international flights by United Airlines. Terminal D was renovated in 2007, and now has twenty additional common-use ticket counters and new retail outlets and restaurants. It also has several international lounges, including a British Airways Executive and FIRST lounge, a Lufthansa Senator lounge and a KLM Crown lounge. Since the terminals of George Bush Intercontinental are quite a distance apart, airport trains are available for departing and arriving passengers. The inter-terminal trains provide transport on the non-secure side of the buildings, while the TerminaLink trains provide transport on the secure side. Further facilities at the airport include a Marriott Hotel between Terminals B and C, Wi-Fi internet services, ATMs, currency exchange services, Samsung charging stations, public telephones and mailboxes. The entire airport complex is also accessible to disabled passengers.
Flight information for George Bush Intercontinental Airport departures is available on various online websites, or passengers can contact the airport at 281-230-3100. A fax number for the airport is 281-230-3108.
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