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George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) – #7 Busiest Airport in US
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) ranked seventh busiest airport in the United States, with 40,479,569 passengers in 2010.
Opened in 1969, George Bush Airport is part of the Houston Airport System, along with Hobby and Ellington (which is used primarily for military and NASA), which is the fourth largest airport system in the country.
The large airport is situated on more than 11,000 acres and is served by seventeen passenger airlines in its five passenger terminals, in addition to eleven all-cargo airlines. IAH is the largest hub for United Airline. George Bush Intercontinental offers more flight destinations in Mexico than any other airport, with 30 different destinations.
Terminal D (also known as the Mickey Leland Terminal), is the International Airlines Building, which took over international operations. The terminal was the first common-use facility in the United States, meaning all the airlines share the facilities and equipment. Terminal E is the newest terminal, which now contains United Airline’s international and some domestic flights. The international terminal is capable of processing 4500 international passengers per hour at its 84 service booths. The Federal Inspection Services offices are also located in terminal E.
Wi-Fi: IAH offers free Wi-Fi access, but the service is limited to flight information only. Full internet access can be purchased from Boingo. Rapid charger stations, which charge electronics quickly for a fee, and Samsung sponsored charging stations are found around the airport.
Shopping and Dining: Plenty of chain retailers and restaurants are found at IAH, but local specialties like the Texas Trail Boss Jerky shop and Stelzig Ranch, offering western apparel make great souvenirs or gifts to bring home.
Extras: The Marriott Hotel is an on-airport hotel situated between Terminals B and C, and is accessible by TerminaLink train.
The art at IAH includes sculptures and art installations, mosaics, with over thirty commissioned or donated pieces. One installation called Video Ring, has 80 monitors arranged in a circle, displaying images that seem to travel around the ring.
Outside the airport, travelers will find Light Spikes, commemorating the Economic Summit of Industrial Nations that Houston hosted in 1990. The piece includes the flags of G7 nations (the nations that attended the Summit) on columns arranged around the US flag by their distance from Houston.
IAH has two types of ground transportation within the airport: TerminaLink and the Inter-Terminal Train. TerminaLink is an above-ground train that runs between all terminals. Inter-Terminal Train is an underground train that goes to all terminals as well as the airport hotel. This People Mover was built by WEDway, the same builders of Disney’s People Mover in Tomorrowland. This internal airport transportation system is older than TerminaLink.
Taxis and shuttles are available outside the airport. A free shuttle runs to and from Ecopark, the on-airport value parking lot. The Consolidated Rental Car Facility, accessible by bus, is home to the offices of eight rental car companies.
METRO, the local transit authority, connects the airport to the main public transportation around Houston with service to downtown Houston at terminal C.