HOUSTON — Thanksgiving week kicks off one of the busiest travel periods of the year — airport industry experts predict more than 28.5 million passengers will fly over the rivers and the woods to destinations around the world — and that is no different at Houston’s airports.
Nearly 1.25 million passengers are expected to pass through George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport during the traditional 10-day period, which began on Saturday, Nov. 18. That’s a lot of people in a small amount of time.
Fortunately for Houston travelers, the Houston Airport System’s commitment to elevating the travel experience for our customers has led to several technology-based tools that can help make your trip go more smoothly.
Put simply, if you know how to “plug in” at Houston’s airports, getting to your destination becomes much easier. Here are some handy tools available through your electronic and “smart” devices that can help make that happen:
- “Fly” with the greatest of ease: The airport system’s award-winning website, fly2houston.com, offers a wealth of information tailored to meet the specific travel needs of passengers. Whether departing, arriving or connecting, the complete passenger journey — from getting to the airport to getting to the gate for a flight — is the focus, providing information on parking cost and spaces available at both airports, as well as near-real-time wait times for security checkpoints, ground transportation options, dining and shopping options, flight information and more.
- Free Wi-Fi makes plugging in even easier: The free Wi-Fi at both Bush and Hobby airports has been rated as some of the fastest in any airport in the country and world, and there are plenty of charging stations and some seating at both airports with electrical outlets for re-charging mobile devices.
- Know where you are going: Passengers can navigate the airport terminals now on fly2houston.com with an interactive map system that is mobile-device friendly. This intuitive tool will guide you step-by-step to where you want to go throughout the airport. Use with any device; no app to download. This feature now shows user location as a blue dot for Apple devices in Safari. You can find that feature for Bush Airport at this link, and at Hobby Airport at this link.
- Park and ride: Along with new routes that make shuttle rides from ecopark and ecopark2 lots at Bush Airport quicker and more efficient, improved GPS technology now provides updates on when shuttles will arrive at the terminals. Passengers can use the ETA Spot app on their smart device (available for download on iStore and GooglePlay), and new curbside kiosks at the terminals provide the estimated times for the next two shuttle bus arrivals.
- Plan for your trip through security: Updates on the time it takes to clear the seven Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints at the five terminals at Bush Airport can be found at this link, and updates for the time it takes to clear the TSA security checkpoint at Hobby Airport can be found at this link.
Here are more helpful hints that can make traveling this time of year a little easier:
- Get to the airport early: Arrive two hours before scheduled departure time to ensure plenty of time for parking and unloaded.
- Parking: Reserve a parking spot early by making a reservation here. Parking spaces available at both Bush Airport at this link, and at Hobby Airport at this link.
- Prepare for security line: It’s important to remember that TSA has implemented new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items that require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes, similar to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image. Also, passengers should have boarding pass and ID ready for display, remove shoes and everything from pockets before going through the metal detector or whole-body imaging technology at the checkpoint. Follow the 3-1-1 rule regarding liquids in your carry-on bag. Visit the TSA’s website — tsa.gov — for a list of prohibited items and helpful travel tips, and if you’re a member of TSA Pre✓, follow the signs at checkpoints to participate in expedited screening.
- Come early and relax a little: Houston Airports have plenty of amenities to help enhance the passenger experience before their flight. Harmony in the Air is a live performing arts program featuring some of the Houston’s best local talent. Take time to enjoy the new concessions available at Houston Airports featuring local favorites like Pink’s Pizza to well-known brands like Dylan’s Candy Bar. Pamper yourself at Hobby Airport at XpresSpa and head to your destination refreshed. Finish your Holiday shopping. Houston Airports offers a wide of retail shops that are sure to please from Mac Cosmetics to Pandora, Best Buy, Paul & Shark and many more.
For more information, the first stop on your holiday trip should always be fly2houston.com.