Houston’s airports expect to see about 1.9 million travelers this holiday week

Demolition underway on terminal D/E garage

HOUSTON, Texas – Houston’s airport officials predict they’ll have approximately 1.9 million travelers passing through during the Thanksgiving holiday.

That means travelers likely will experience traffic when navigating parking lots and terminals.

That’s especially expected at Bush Intercontinental, where increased travel is coupled with construction creating moments of congestion when trying to reach terminals for arrivals and departures.

“What we’re really focusing on for passengers traveling out of Bush airport is to give themselves plenty of time,” said Houston Airport System’s public information officer Augusto Bernal. “Arrive early to the airport so you don’t have any unforeseen delays because there are going to be some roadway delays.”

Those roadway delays amount to bumper-to-bumper traffic, at times, on terminal access roads. That’s especially during peak hours of morning and evening.

During the Thanksgiving holiday week, the congestion has been especially apparent. Two ongoing construction projects have contributed to the congestion on terminal access roads.

“Currently, the D/E terminal garage is being demolished. We’re making way for a new international terminal,” Bernal said. “There are some renovations that are happening also in Terminal E, so that includes some roadway construction projects.”

Bottom line: Expect traffic, be it an arrival or departure.

For arrivals, Bernal said the best bet is for drivers to wait for their passengers in the Cell Phone Lot before driving toward the terminal.

He also gave us another tip that’s not often shared. Terminals A and C are the busiest at IAH.

To avoid traffic approaching either of those terminals, arrange for the pickup to take place at Terminal B. That should save time, and cut down on traffic.

“We have five terminals at Bush airport. There’s a subway train and there’s a skyway; so, there’s plenty of options to move through the terminal,” he said.

For departures, arriving early is your best bet.

The Houston Airport System encourages passengers to pre-register for parking to reduce the risk of not finding a spot. Other options include park and ride, and likely the best bet – being dropped off early.

Passengers are encouraged to follow real-time parking updates and flight information online at fly2houston.com.

Jim Rollyson opted for the park and ride bus to make his flight Tuesday afternoon. While it worked, he said the congestion proved a challenge – even for the bus driver.

“I don’t know how the bus actually fit through the winding road that she went through Terminal C and then had to go down and turn around to get to Terminal D. It was a nightmare,” Rollyson said.


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Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.