Q: Houston's three airports are public facilities. Can media come and go whenever they want, without notifying anyone in the Houston Airport System (HAS), to cover stories at Bush Intercontinental, Hobby or Ellington?
A: No. For security reasons, media are required to call ahead and get permission, or "clearance," from HAS Media Relations, prior to going to any of the airports to take photos, record video or sound, or get interviews.
Media should contact HAS Media Relations at least 30 minutes before their arrival for any coverage other than "spot news." Also, the impromptu nature of "spot news" does not mean that the procedures for getting proper clearance are waived - they must still be followed.
To get clearance, media should call 1-281-233-1234. Normally, during business hours, there will be someone available to answer at that number. If there is no answer, please leave a detailed message, and the HAS Media Relations Group will respond to that page promptly.
The objective is to determine who is coming, where they are going, how long they will be there and their purpose for visiting the airports. HAS Media Relations will notify the appropriate personnel with that information. This benefits the media, because proper clearance enables them to do their job undeterred in a secure airport environment.
Q: If media leave a voicemail or e-mail message with the HAS media representative expressing their intent to visit one of the airports to cover a story, is that sufficient?
A: No. Clearance is not granted until the request is acknowledged and confirmed by an HAS Media Relations representative.
Q: What might happen if media come to the airport without getting clearance first, or gather information, pictures or video on parts of the airport they haven't been cleared to occupy?
A: They are subject to removal by police or security personnel.
Q: Is escort by HAS Media Relations or other airport personnel necessary whenever media visit one of the airports?
A: Sometimes. Each visit will be evaluated individually, and HAS Media Relations will determine if one of its members, or another airport employee, needs to escort the visiting media. For some media visits, escort will not be required. If media prefer an escort so that it is easier for them to find the area they want to visit, HAS Media Relations will do its best to accommodate them.
Q: Is it OK for media to park at the passenger dropoff or pickup curbs so they can get in and out of the airport quickly when covering a story?
A: No. The federal security guidelines in force since 9/11/01 allow only for "active loading and unloading" by airport visitors, and only authorized government and security vehicles may be parked at the dropoff and pickup curbs - and those vehicles must remain in specially marked areas. Media must use the on-airport parking garages. Any vehicle left in an unathorized area is subject to immediate removal.
Q: Can media go beyond the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint and into the gate areas of the terminal to cover stories?
A: Media may only go beyond the TSA checkpoint if invited to do so by an airline, the TSA or the HAS. Otherwise, only ticketed passengers may go beyond the checkpoint into the gate areas.
If someone in the media is a ticketed passenger and goes beyond the checkpoint intending to shoot photos, record video or sound, or get interviews, he/she must still follow the aforementioned procedures to get clearance.
Q: What are the rules for TV news live shots on airport premises?
A: First and most important, the same rules for securing clearance for media visits to the airport apply to live shots. If proper clearance has not been given, unauthorized media are subject to removal, even if they are in the middle of their live shot.
Each airport has a designated area for live shots. To get clearance, media should call 1-281-233-1234.
If there is a valid reason for media to request a different live shot location, that request will be considered. For example, if media are reporting on the use the Cell Phone Lot at Bush Intercontinental, arrangements could be made to set up a live shot from the Cell Phone Lot.
However, media should understand that a change in live shot location will be the rare exception rather than the rule. Also, safety and security of aircraft and passengers will always have the highest priority. If a TV station is seeking a special arrangement, they need to get such a request in at the earliest possible time to have the best chance to be accommodated.
Q: Where are the designated TV news live shot locations at Bush Intercontinental, Hobby and Ellington?
A: The designated live shot locations for Bush Intercontinental and Hobby are shown here. Ellington Field does not have a designated location. Live shots at Ellington will be staged depending on media and airport requirements.
All vehicles and personnel must be a minimum of 10 feet away from any perimeter fencing. Violators of this distance requirement are subject to removal.
To get clearance, media should call 1-281-233-1234.