When you are building a billion-dollar international terminal, impacts to the traveling public are inevitable. From an operational and customer service standpoint, the most critical goal is always to make sure those impacts to the traveling public are as minimal as possible.
“Just because we are building better for the future of our airport doesn’t mean our commitment to providing a 5-star customer experience goes out the window,” Houston Airports Director of Communications Foti Kallergis said. “The customer is always at the forefront of every decision we make, and that includes the time before they even arrive to their terminal, especially during this time of growth.”
In March 2021, the landscape of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH, began to change with the demolition of the Terminal D/E garage — which will make way for the construction of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal. Immediately, roadway signs went up, detours began and travelers began to slow down on their approach to the nation’s number one Skytrax- rated airport.
“A special team at Houston Airports monitors the roadway impacts around the clock every day, especially during peak times,” Kallergis said. “Additionally, our communications team has been closely monitoring social media and customer reactions/feedback. The moment we see strain in our passengers’ approach, our teams come together, pivot and address the issues within our control. It’s not easy, but we believe this approach has yielded the best results for the traveling public.”
Recently, North Terminal Road, the focal point of a significant amount of construction, has opened several additional lanes since construction began and contractor crews are working diligently to get additional lanes opened as soon as possible.
For months, a large-scale communications campaign has also been underway to inform passengers and the community of the roadway construction and potential delays. The campaign has included useful tips for passengers to use when planning their arrival or departure to/from Bush Airport.
To ease the stress of travel during these busy times, Houston Airports recommends the following:
Be informed! Use the websites and other media to be informed of the activities at Bush Airport, including local newscasts and traffic reports via television and radio. If you’re a seasoned traveler, your old routes may not exist anymore.
Book parking online, guarantee a spot and save. With the Terminal D/E garage gone, and the travel rebound in full swing, the best way to guarantee a terminal garage or ecopark parking spot is to book online. Go to fly2houston.com/IAH/parking. You will receive some extra savings for Terminal Garage Parking by booking online rather than paying at the gate. (Two nearby ecopark lots also provide for convenient and affordable parking options, and both include a direct shuttle to Terminal C, where Terminals C and E departure traffic will check in as of Aug. 2, 2021.)
Please slow down and read the signs. The most asked questions about where to park are shown on the signage.
Don’t crowd the curbs, use cell phone lots. Most, if not all, of the delays are due to passengers waiting curbside for arriving passengers. All terminal curbsides are considered "Active Loading or Unloading Zones." Houston Police officers and Houston Airports Operations-Landside staff are stationed in these areas to keep cars moving. It is imperative that vehicles do not park in these zones in order to maintain flow through the airport. Bush Airport has two cell phone lots:
Will Clayton Pkwy. cellphone lot is located at 5703 Will Clayton Pkwy.
John F. Kennedy Blvd. cellphone lot is located at 17010 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Pay attention to the police officers and HAS staff directing traffic. They are there for everyone's safety. Officer will try to be as helpful as possible, but please refrain from asking them for directions. This will hold-up traffic. Officers do have the authority to enforce traffic laws. Do not leave your vehicle unattended at any time when parked in front of any terminal. Your car will be ticketed and towed.
Don't park inside or between the construction barricades and wait for passengers. People have done this, and it blocks the through lanes because other people start trying to do the same thing. Park and wait at the cellphone lots, which are less congested and always FREE! Don’t park along the airport roadways with your flashers on. This is dangerous and often attracts other vehicles to do the same thing. Again, the cellphone lots are the perfect choice.
When dropping off passengers at Terminal D, drive further down the terminal before trying to pull in. There is usually more curb space further down (west). People typically try to pull in at the very east end of the terminal and block traffic further back up the roadways causing impacts to other Terminals.
“Our teams really appreciate the patience our passengers have exercised during this time,” Kallergis said. “We now it’s an inconvenience at times, but we want to hear from them so that we can continue to make meaningful adjustments. Most importantly, we want our community to know that this temporary disruption is not for nothing. It will make way for a world-class, billion dollar international terminal.”
Once complete, the new international terminal will feature a modernized ticketing and arrivals hall and will fully support post-pandemic growth in international traffic at the airport, address capacity constraints in the central terminal area, and improve baggage handling system capacity and reliability challenges. Additional international gates will accommodate continued airline growth.