The Ultimate Guide to Houston's IAH Airport: Tips, Tricks, and Insider Information

The Ultimate Guide to Houston's IAH Airport: Tips, Tricks, and Insider Information

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George Bush Intercontinental Airport, also known as Houston's IAH Airport, is one of the largest airports in the USA in terms of area (over 40 square kilometers), cargo, and passenger traffic (16.2 million people, 2021). With several restaurants and shops, art objects, and a strategic location in the heart of Texas, IAH has become a hub for international and domestic travelers.


However, navigating an airport as huge as Bush Intercontinental Airport can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors. That's where this ultimate guide comes in handy. We've put together some tips, tricks, and insider information to help make your stay at George Bush Airport as comfortable and hassle-free as possible.


Whether you're a frequent or first-time traveler, this guide will provide you with all the information you need about Houston's IAH, including transportation options, terminals, amenities, and more. So, sit back, relax, and let us help you plan your next trip to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.


George Bush Intercontinental Airport Airlines

A United Airlines plane takes off from an airport

Houston intercontinental airport features five terminals, namely A, B, C, D, and E, all connected by subway and Skyway trains. Passengers can also walk to other terminals within the secure area except for Terminal A.


Domestic flights mainly operate from Terminals A, B, and C, except for Spirit Airlines, which also has international flights from Terminal A. International flights are operated from Terminals E and D.. All terminals except Terminal D have Houston Airport arrivals at 1 and Houston Airport departures at level 2, with common arrivals halls at Terminals E and D.


Here is an IAH terminal map that can help you:


  • Terminal A features a range of airlines, including Air Canada, JetBlue, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Southwest Airlines,  Spirit (International), Spirit (Domestic), and WestJet. 
  • Terminal B offers Domestic United Airlines flights 
  • Terminal C also features Domestic United Airlines flights.
  • Terminal D caters to Air China, Aeromexico, Air New Zealand, Air France,  ANA, Avianca, EVA Air, Emirates, British Airways,  Ethiopian Airlines,  Interjet, KLM, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa,  Singapore Airlines, VivaAerobus, Turkish Airlines,  and Volaris. 
  • Terminal E provides both Domestic United Airlines and International United Airlines flights.

Please note that airline and destination information can be changed, so it is always suggested to check with your particular airline for the most up-to-date information.


Houston Airport Lounges

Businessman in Houston Airport Lounge, sipping coffee, relaxed amidst energetic atmosphere. Lounge features modern decor

If you're looking for safe and VIP treatment while traveling, consider visiting one of the George Bush intercontinental airport lounges. Here is a guide to some of the lounges located in Terminals A, D, and E.

IAH Terminal A Lounges

1- United Lounge lAH

United Lounge lAH is located in Terminals A, B, C, and E and offers convenient workspaces, comfortable seating options, Wi-Fi, and many power outlets. These lounges are designed with attention to detail, including porthole-shaped mirrors in the restrooms. The lounges feature fully stocked bars with complimentary wine, beer, and spirits, as well as Illy coffee machines and espresso machines. Membership is available, but United passengers may pay at the entrance if seats are available.


2- American Airlines Admirals Club

The Admirals Club in Terminal A offers a friendly Texas atmosphere with comfortable seating, many workspaces and retail outlets, and hot and cold snacks. The club is available to American Airlines Admiral's Club members or passengers with first-class or business tickets.


IAH Terminal D Lounges

1- Air France Lounge IAH

The Air France Lounge, located next to Gate D12, is an open-plan Priority Pass Lounge with lots of natural light. Guests can enjoy cheese, hummus, various flatbreads, biscuits, and a self-service bar with wine and spirits. Unfortunately, this lounge does not have a bathroom.


2- KLM Crown Lounge IAH

The KLM Crown Lounge, located next to the Air France Lounge,  have hardwood floors, warm colors, and a neutral color palette. It has a wide selection of snacks, a self-service alcohol bar, a Starbucks latte machine,  and free internet facility. All passengers need to pay charges, regardless of airline or flight class.


3- Centurion Lounge IAH

Centurion Lounge by American Express is one of the most well-equipped and luxurious lounges in IAH Airport. The hall has a stylish, concise, modern, and professional design with various seating options, partitions, and relaxation areas for those who need to work. The showers and bathrooms are stocked with L'Occitane toiletries. Dining options, including seasonal and artistic menus inspired by local and global influences, designed by chef Theodore Rex and restaurant owner Justin Yu, are the highlight of the lounge.


4- USO Hall IAH

The USO Lounge is available to on-duty and retired military personnel and their families. The hall is equipped with comfortable armchairs, computers, printers, Wi-Fi, a variety of meals and snacks, as well as a playroom for children.


IAH Terminal E Lounges

United Polaris Lounge IAH

This Lounge is located near Gate E12 and is designed to complement the Polaris flying experience. The living room has a lot of places to relax and unwind, with various seating options, including stylish private semi-private cubicles with plenty of computer jacks. The highlight of this lounge is the food options, including à la carte options.


So, whether you're a frequent traveler or just looking for a quiet place to unwind, IAH Lounges offer a range of amenities to make your journey more comfortable.


George Bush Intercontinental Airport Hotels

A white decorated bed in a hotel room with an awesome modern design, with a beautiful soft light table lamp

For travelers who depart early in the morning or arrive late at night, finding a comfortable and convenient hotel near the airport is essential. Fortunately, several hotels near the airport offer many amenities and services to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Here we will provide a detailed overview of the best hotels near Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

1- Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental

The Houston Airport Marriott is the only hotel located on the airport grounds, making it the most convenient for travelers. The hotel is located between Terminal B and Terminal C, and guests can reach all boarding gates via the free underground train. Here you will get modern amenities in spacious rooms, including standard Marriott beds, Wi-Fi, and smart TVs. 

The hotel also features a full-service restaurant serving local, artisan, and homemade cuisine, a snack bar, and a lounge ideal for an evening out. In addition, there is a large fitness center equipped with all modern equipment. Houston Airport Marriott also offers free shuttle service and on-site parking to all guests to make their trip comfortable and easier.

2- Sheraton North Houston at the George Bush Intercontinental:

This modern hotel is conveniently located just a short drive from the airport, making it the ideal choice for travelers who want to stay close to the airport but still have access to nearby attractions. Sheraton IAH also provides elegantly decorated rooms with signature Sheraton beds, a free internet facility, and modern-style digital TVs. Moreover, the hotel has a full-service VIP restaurant and bar, a 24-hour fitness center, and an outdoor pool. Business travelers can also use the Sheraton North Houston's business center and meeting rooms.

3- Holiday Inn Houston Intercontinental Airport:

The Holiday Inn IAH is located near the airport and is an excellent choice for both business and leisure travelers. You will feel at home in modern, well-appointed rooms with luxurious beds, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. In addition to first-class accommodation, the hotel also boasts a full-service restaurant, a bar, and a 24-hour fitness center. Guests can also take advantage of the free airport shuttle and on-site parking, making travel easy.

4- Ramada by Wyndham Houston Intercontinental Airport East:

Just minutes from the airport, the Ramada IAH is a budget-friendly option for travelers. The cozy rooms have amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and work desks. Moreover, the hotel features a full-service restaurant and bar, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. The guests will also get a free airport shuttle and on-site parking.

5- Hyatt Regency Houston Intercontinental Airport:

The Hyatt Regency IAH is also considered one of the best hotels near IAH airport with free shuttle services. It offers modern, sophisticated rooms with Hyatt Grand beds, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. The hotel boasts many facilities, including a full-service restaurant, bar, free airport shuttle service and on-site parking, 24-hour fitness center, and outdoor pool. Business travelers can make use of the business center and meeting rooms.

6- The SpringHill Suites Houston Intercontinental Airport

The SpringHill Suites Houston Intercontinental Airport is a modern and stylish hotel located just a few minutes from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas. This all-suite hotel offers comfortable and spacious accommodations, each featuring a separate living area with a pull-out sofa bed, a mini-fridge, a microwave, and a flat-screen TV with premium cable channels. Guests can start their day with a complimentary hot breakfast buffet or grab a quick snack from the 24-hour market. Other on-site amenities include a fitness center, an indoor pool, and a business center. SpringHill Suites IAH also provides a complimentary airport shuttle service, making it a convenient choice for travelers looking for a comfortable and stress-free stay near IAH airport.

Shopping in Houston airport

A happy shopping girl wearing a long brown coat, white hoodie and gloves.

While you're waiting for your flight, why not take advantage of IAH shops? Houston airport shops contain a wide range of options for the personal needs of you as a passenger and give you excellent options for buying gifts for the family and those he loves. Let’s look at some of the best shopping stores for shopping at IAH.

1- Dufry Tax & Duty-Free

Travelers who want to save money and buy high-quality goods should definitely visit the Dufry Tax & Duty-Free Houston airport. Duty free IAH has many stores all over the airport and they are open from 6:00 am to 11:30 pm, so you have plenty of time to enjoy duty free shopping without worrying about closing times. 

The Houston airport duty free shop has an impressive range of merchandise, including cosmetics and perfumes from high-end brands like Giorgio Armani and Dior, duty-free liquor bottles from brands like Jameson and Jack Daniel's, and a candy department with brands like Kit Kat. and Toblerone. Travelers can also purchase fashion accessories and duty-free tobacco products. To make shopping even more convenient, Houston Duty-Free offers Book and Pickup, which allows customers to shop online and pick up their orders from the Duty Free store up to two hours before flight departure.

2- Allen's Landing Marketplace: Travel Essentials for Every Journey

Located in Terminal B, Check-In, Allen's Landing Marketplace is the place to go for all your travel essentials. This store offers a wide selection of items, including candy, gum, and mints, and a range of beverages, souvenirs, and gifts. Whether you need to stock up on snacks for the flight or want to buy a memento of your trip to Houston, Allen's Landing has got you covered.

3- Benefit Cosmetics Automated Kiosk: Fast and Fabulous Beauty Solutions

If you're looking for some fast and fabulous beauty solutions, head to the Benefit Cosmetics Automated Kiosk at the Security Checkpoint in Terminal C and E. Benefit Cosmetics is a well-known brand that offers a range of beauty products, and this kiosk offers 30 of its best-selling items. From mascara to highlighter, these products are perfect for a quick touch-up before your flight.

4- Brookstone: High-Quality and Unique Products

Located at the Security Checkpoint in Terminal B and E, Brookstone is the place to go for high-quality and unique products. This store offers a range of items, many of which are perfect for a long flight. From fascinating gadgets to keep you entertained to travel accessories to make your journey more comfortable, Brookstone has something for everyone. If you're looking for a unique gift for someone special, this is the store to visit.

5- Corsa Collections: Designer Bags and Jewelry

If you're a fashion lover, be sure to check out Corsa Collections at Terminal D, Check-In. This store offers a range of designer bags and jewelry by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Longchamp, Furla, as well as luggage from Tumi, Kipling, and Swiss Army. If you're looking for a luxurious treat, this store is the place to go.

6- Culturemap: Souvenirs and Travel Products

At Terminal A, Check-In, you'll find Culturemap, a store that offers a variety of souvenirs and travel products. In addition, Culturemap offers a city concierge service based on the content of its online publication. Whether you need to pick up snacks, travel necessities, or beverages, this store has you covered.

7- InMotion Entertainment: Cutting-Edge Electronics

If you're a tech enthusiast, be sure to visit InMotion Entertainment at the Security Checkpoint in Terminal E. InMotion is the largest airport-based electronics retailer in the country, offering the latest and most cutting-edge electronics, including noise-canceling and wireless headphones, speakers, tablets, digital video cameras, fitness bands, and relevant mobile accessories. This store features global brands such as Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, B&O Play, BOSE, GoPro, JBL, mophie, Samsung, and Sony. If you're looking for the latest in media tablets, fitness bands, Bluetooth headsets, action cameras, noise-canceling headphones, and carrying cases, this store is a must-visit.

8- My Sweets: Candy and Treats for Every Sweet Tooth

Located at Terminal E, Near Security, My Sweets offers a wide variety of candy and treats. From chocolate to sour candy to gum, this store has everything you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you're looking for a snack for your flight or want to pick up a sweet souvenir, My Sweets is the perfect store to visit.

9- Texas Monthly News: Stay Informed with Local and International News

Stay informed and entertained while waiting for your flight at Texas Monthly News at Terminals A and C. This shop offers a wide selection of local, regional, national, and international newspapers, magazines, and periodicals. You can also find travel-friendly essentials and accessories, such as snacks, drinks, and reading glasses. Texas Monthly News gives travelers convenience and satisfaction with an authentic brand experience showcasing the best selection of local and international news and periodicals.

10- Space Corner

If you are looking for unique and interesting souvenirs from your trip to Houston, be sure to visit the Space Corner at exit C1. As the name suggests, this store specializes in NASA-inspired clothing and gifts that will take you to the world of space exploration. From T-shirts and sweatshirts to hats, magnets, key chains and other unique items, Space Corner has it all. The store is the perfect place to find a gift for a space enthusiast or bring home a piece of space for yourself. With their aviation flavor, the items available at Space Corner are sure to impress and delight visitors of all ages.

11- Pandora

If you're looking for a gift for a loved one or just want to treat yourself to a special piece of jewelry, PANDORA at Gate D7 is the perfect place to find something truly unique and special. PANDORA is known for its unique range of jewelry, which includes everything from pendants and bracelets to rings, earrings, necklaces, and pendants. The combinations of these jewelry pieces are endless, allowing you to create a custom piece that truly reflects your personal style. The quality of PANDORA products is second to none, and their attention to detail is evident in every piece they make.


George Bush Intercontinental Airport Restaurants

A number of dishes that contain cooked healthy foods, along with seasoning, pepper, parsley, and a number of cashew nuts

When it comes to dining options, Houston Airport has plenty of options to suit all tastes and budgets. From local favorites to popular chains, there is no shortage of options for hungry travelers.

The best Houston airport restaurants:

If you're looking for a high-end restaurant, there are some best IAH food options are available. Ember, Olio, and Le Grand Comptoir offer delicious food, but they can be a bit pricey.

Local favorites:

To really experience Texas food culture, it's a good idea to sample some of the local favorites at IAH. Bam Bam, Pappasito's, Blaze Pizza, Whataburger, and Ray's BBQ Shack are the most popular among passengers. These restaurants offer authentic Texas cuisine at reasonable prices.

Popular networks:

IAH has several popular chain stores, including Subway, Starbucks, Wendy's, and Chick-fil-A Houston Airport. These familiar networks offer fast and convenient options for passengers who are short on time.


If you need a quick bite or a drink, there is a mini market located in the IAH Terminal A food court. It sells drinks and pre-packaged snacks.

Things to do at IAH

A Houston City Buildings during Sunset

Travel can be stressful, but Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) offers passengers plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind before flying. Here are a few options for things to do in Houston during your stay:

Houston Airport Massage

After a long flight or parking, passengers may feel constrained and tired. Luckily, IAH provides free massage chairs to travelers throughout the airport. These IAH massage chairs can be found on every corner of the airport. Sitting in one of these massage chairs is a great way to stretch your legs and relax before your next flight. The chairs are especially comfortable for business travelers who may have busy schedules and need to unwind quickly.

Express Spa

The XpresSpa near Gate 45 in the Central Lobby offers various services, including manicures, waxing, pedicures,  and massages. XpresSpa is a premium health and wellness center offering luxury spa treatments to travelers. Manicures and pedicures from XpresSpa are a great way to relax and freshen up before your trip.

Public art collection

One of the most impressive features of the IAH is its extensive art collection. With over 350 sculptures, paintings, and photographs by Texas artists, this is one of the largest public art collections in the state. These Houston public arts are located in all airport terminals; passengers can admire them while walking around the airport. The art collection at IAH showcases a variety of styles, themes, and environments that reflect Houston's diverse and vibrant culture.


Harmony in the air

If you are looking for a musical experience, you should definitely visit Harmony in the Air. The play takes place in the Rotunda of the Central Hall, and more than 75 professional Houston musicians perform a variety of classical, jazz, pop, and international music. Performances occur every day from noon to 3:00 pm.

IAH ground transportation

luxury black cadillac escalade services to iah airport

The following are some IAH airport transportation options for travelers.

Public transportation:

Public transport is an inexpensive option. Metro Bus Service and Houston METRORail provide transportation from IAH to downtown Houston, IAH to hobby shuttle and other nearby areas. 

Public transport may not be the most suitable option for transportation to Houston airport due to several reasons. 

  • Firstly, public transport often has multiple stops along the way, which can add to the travel time for travelers, especially those with time-sensitive flights. This can be a significant inconvenience for passengers who are already tired from traveling and may need to make quick transfers between buses or trains. 
  • Additionally, Houston is known for its hot and humid weather, which can make traveling on public transport uncomfortable and tiring for passengers. 
  • For departing travelers, the added fatigue from a potentially long and uncomfortable journey on public transport may not be ideal, especially if they have a long flight ahead of them. 

For these reasons, travelers may prefer to use other transportation options to get to and from Houston airport.

Sharing Services:

Sharing services such as Uber Houston Airport and Lyft in Houston are also available at IAH. Passengers can easily book a ride using their smartphones and will be picked up at designated locations in each terminal.

IAH Taxis Service:

Houston airport taxi or airport car service Houston is another popular IAH ground transportation option. Taxis can be hailed from designated taxi ranks outside each terminal. The fare is calculated by the meter and depends on the distance traveled.

However, it's important to note that there may not be someone waiting for you when you arrive at the airport. Passengers will need to locate and hail a taxi themselves after reaching the designated taxi rank. Additionally, unlike luxury chauffeur service Houston, taxi drivers may not offer assistance with luggage or provide the same level of personalized service that passengers may expect.

Car rental:

Those looking for more flexibility can rent a car or hire private driver services. Several car rental companies have offices located at the airport, and rental cars can be picked up and dropped off at designated locations.

IAH Car rental can be one of the most suitable transportation options for travelers arriving at Houston airport. Renting a car provides you with flexibility, convenience, and control over their transportation. With a rental car, you can travel at your own pace, stop wherever you want, and take the most direct route to your destination without having to worry about multiple stops or transfers. Renting a car can be cost-effective, especially for passengers traveling in groups or with families, as it eliminates the need to pay for multiple taxi or shuttle fares. However, car rental Houston airport is not without some problems. For example, you may not have the appropriate knowledge of the city of Houston and its roads, in addition to the fact that you are most likely exhausted from the long travel and would like to reach your destination safely as quickly as possible.

If you need a more luxurious and hassle-free transportation option, consider using a luxury chauffeur service. Lavish Ride chauffeur services will give you a comfortable and stress-free ride to your destination. They offer a wide range of services, including airport transfers, corporate transport, airport black car service, a shuttle IAH to Houston, and transport for special events. With this luxury airport transportation, you can sit back, relax and let an experienced driver take care of everything from loading your luggage to managing traffic.


Lavish Ride also offers an online booking system that allows travelers to easily book transport in advance, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free ride. Their customer service team is available 24/7 to answer any questions and resolve any issues.


Additional useful information about IAH Houston Airport

In addition, here is some more useful information about Houston IAH Airport:

  • Wi-Fi: IAH offers free Wi-Fi throughout the airport to keep passengers connected.
  • Luggage storage: The airport has luggage storage where travelers can leave their luggage for a fee. It is located in Terminal A, next to the baggage claim area.
  • Lost and Found: If you lose something at the airport, you can contact the airport lost property located in Terminal C on the upper level of the main lobby.
  • Pet Relief Locations: The IAH has designated areas for pets to urinate. The airport has three outdoor pet assistance areas and one indoor pet assistance area located in Terminal C.
  • Currency Exchange: Travelex, a currency exchange company, has several branches located throughout the airport where you can exchange your currency for a fee.
  • Accessibility: The airport is designed to be accessible to travelers with disabilities. Wheelchair assistance is available upon request. For travelers with disabilities, special parking spaces are provided.
  • Medical Services: For medical emergencies, IAH has several medical clinics located throughout the airport.
  • Smoking areas: Smoking inside the airport is prohibited except for designated areas outside the terminals.
  • Immigration and Customs: IAH has immigration and customs services for international travelers where they can complete the necessary formalities before entering the country.


Remember: It is suggested to arrive at the airport early. This will give you enough time to complete pre-flight procedures without feeling stressed or rushed. Moreover, it is better to follow your airline's rules and regulations and avoid carrying illegal drugs or other prohibited items. A drug detection wand is used in airport security tests, and violation can result in serious action against you.


Let’s Sum Up

This guide contains valuable tips, tricks, and insider information for travelers to help them navigate the airport more efficiently. From ground transportation options to restaurants and shopping, this guide covers everything you need to know to make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable. With this guide, travelers can make the most of their time in IAH and arrive at their destination feeling relaxed and prepared.


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