I arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport one day last week only to find out as I got in line for security screening that my flight to Houston was already delayed by almost an hour. In most airports, this discovery would set me on edge, but at ABIA, I just shrugged it off and considered the inconvenience a little more time to myself before my business trip.
But as I sat down at my gate and pulled out my laptop, I wondered why I was so cheerful. Well, the delay wasn’t going to ruin any plan I had, so that definitely helped, but also, ABIA is a great airport. It consistently winds up on lists of the best airports in the US, and for locals, there are plenty of reasons to love ABIA.
10.) The parking experience is consistently great.
When you drive onto the airport property, parking your car is easy. The signs are big and clear, and the temporary signage directing you to which lot has spaces available is always on point. Once you park and unload your car, a shuttle to take you to the terminal is either waiting on you or arrives within a few minutes. And after your return flight, the shuttles are just as available.
ABIA also has what they call a cell phone lot where people picking up passengers can wait instead of driving their vehicles in circles around the airport property. You just call your waiting friend or family member when you pick up your baggage, and your free ride arrive curbside just as you walk out of the airport.
9.) Local food options abound.
Many airports highlight their local food, but Austin’s food isn’t like any other city’s. It’s awesome! Want some barbecue? Breakfast tacos? Tex-Mex? It’s all at ABIA for first-time Austin visitors and lifetime locals alike.
8.) The seating at the gate is comfortable.
While airport seating is usually designed to be just cozy enough to keep you from losing it, the seating at ABIA is comfortable. Each seat has plenty of room, and you can people watch to your heart’s content.
7.) The shops have plenty of Austin swag.
If you need a tee shirt, mug or bumper sticker proving you’ve been to Austin, you can easily pick that up at ABIA. You can also find local products that showcase Austin more than something that simply has the name Austin on it.
6.) Free wifi keeps you entertained.
Who doesn’t love free wifi? I probably wouldn’t go to a coffee shop without it. The Austin airport offers 90 minutes of free wifi. This is plenty of time when you’re waiting for an on-time flight. If your flight is delayed, walk around the airport to explore everything it has to offer. Completely free unlimited wifi would be best, but hey, you can’t have everything.
5.) You can fly direct to any major airport in Texas.
Austin sits in the middle of Texas, so naturally, you can fly direct to any major airport in Texas. If business takes you to Dallas, Houston, El Paso, San Angelo, Harlingen or Corpus Christi, you can get there in about an hour or two. You won’t find any flights to San Antonio, but come on, it’s just an hour down the road.
4.) Hydration stations keep your water bottle full and cold.
Filling up a water bottle at a water fountain is frustrating, and filling it up in the restroom is disgusting. ABIA has “hydration stations” where you can fill up your water bottle. You don’t have to tilt it like at the water fountain, and you don’t have to take it into the public restroom. Bring your water bottle empty to get it through security. Then, fill it up. You won’t have to wait on the flight attendant to take your drink order and serve it.
3.) The Barbara Jordan statue is pretty cool.
Barbara Jordan was a trailblazing politician and Civil Rights figure. The airport’s terminal is named after her, and there is a big statue dedicated to her on the first floor of the airport. Google her, and learn a little something about recent history.
2.) The guitars on the baggage carousels scream “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Only in Austin would giant guitars painted in wild colors be completely logical pieces of art. They sit atop a baggage claim carousel and proudly proclaim Austin’s dedication to live music.
1.) ABIA makes a great first impression on tourists.
When you fly to any city, your first impression is the airport. Austin’s airport imparts a great first impression on visitors for all the reasons listed above and more! ABIA is just one of the many things making Austinites are proud of their city.
Feature photo: Flickr user GeorgeM757, creative commons licensed.