Lauded as one of the most successful events in Super Bowl history, the Houston Airport System’s role in helping Houston earn accolades for its organization and execution hit its apex on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, when it smoothly and successfully handled the exodus of hundreds of thousands of fans heading home after enjoying Super Bowl LI.
On that day — dubbed “Exodus Monday” for the sheer volume of passengers departing beginning with the morning after the game — nearly 190,000 passengers passed through George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, with more than 70 percent of that number departing from the two facilities.
Working closely with the airports’ federal and local security and law enforcement partners, the large numbers — maybe the largest single-day passenger lode of the year — were handled smoothly, with few significant delays or issues reported.
More than 1000 flights departed Houston’s airports on the Monday after the game, including the departure of 170 private aircraft from Ellington Airport, and from Feb. 2 through Feb. 6 nearly 2,000 departing and arriving private aircraft flights were successfully organized and executed though the regional Prior Permission Required system.
Communication played a key role in ensuring both the arriving passengers and departing passengers were well-informed and prepared to help make their trips home go smoothly. Welcome signage greeted passengers at the airports, informing them of ground transportation options and hundreds of airport volunteers — bolstered by volunteers recruited by the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee — offered the “Houston Friendly” spirit to our arriving and departing guests.
Working closely with organizations around the city, the important “5-4-3-2-1” messaging, designed to help passengers plan and allow plenty of time for their trip, hit its target, with most heeding the advice about arriving early and following the reminder to keep their souvenir programs in hand as they headed to security checkpoints at the terminal. The effectiveness of the campaigns, social media messaging, Super Bowl-focused information on the fly2houston.com website, and dynamic signage throughout the airports helped nearly eliminate a potential bump in the road of the traveling public.
More than 100,000 passengers per day passed through Houston’s airports during the two weeks surrounding Super Bowl LI. Preparations for Super Bowl LI began two years ago, when even a committee of employees from various work areas visited airports during Super Bowl games in Phoenix and San Francisco. Committee members observed the work and preparation taking place to better understand unforeseen issues that may arise and ensure a pleasant airport experience.
Visit the Houston Airports Flickr page to view photos from a variety of activities held during the days leading up to Super Bowl 51.
Check out the JR Elite dance team's Super Bowl dance here.