As if airline prices, delays and cancellations weren’t enough…
Remember a few years ago, when construction at LaGuardia International Airport caused traffic delays that were so bad that passengers were abandoning their rides and walking to the terminal? An airport in Texas just said, “Hold my beer.”
Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) opened in 1969. It originally consisted of two terminals, A and B. Terminal C opened in 1981, followed by D in 1990. The airport’s Terminal E opened, in two phases, in 2003 and 2004.
In 2019, the airport served a record-breaking 59 million passengers. Not long thereafter, a major $1.3 billion construction project was begun on Terminal E. The renovations are meant to expand and “future-proof” the terminal and make way for the airport’s new 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.
Houston’s Airport System’s (HAS) official web page says they’re “working to ensure impacts are minimized to passengers.” But apparently, that’s currently not the case.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that, due to the ongoing construction, traffic has been so bad that passengers being dropped off at Terminal E have had to abandon their rides and walk to the terminal to ensure they have enough time to get through bag drop and security before boarding their planes. Passenger pick-up has also been a nightmare.
Complaints have been coming fast and furious on Twitter:
GRIDLOCK @iah @AirportsHouston @KHOU @HoustonTX – worse than a 3rd world country. Zero organization or traffic flow management. For the 4th most populous city in the U.S. this is not #sustainable as we see the return of business and leisure travel. @houmayor pic.twitter.com/cRuYWTQ2aB
— Kareemah F M (@FionaKareemah) May 31, 2022
— arlene (@arlene17) June 3, 2022
— Andrew Schaefer (@schaefera) June 6, 2022
I finally got to Terminal E Arrivals to pick them up at 9:15pm, I first hit the airport traffic at 6:30pm. Absolute insanity.
— James Ness (@manofconviction) June 6, 2022
The traffic is also impinging on Terminal D and Terminal C, the latter of which is where the airport’s largest carrier, United, is located.
Several helpful replies on Twitter suggest people drive to Terminal A or B, or even the on-site Marriott hotel and take the underground tram, or potentially the above-ground train, airside, to get to Terminal E.
There are updated travel alerts on HAS’s website, and the airport’s Twitter presence gives occasional reminders of traffic conditions due to traffic (as of this writing, the last one was on Monday, May 30th). But that’s assuming typical passengers will look at either before going to the airport.
The construction is expected to last through 2024.
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