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William P. Hobby Airport


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Explain airports like Austin and San Antonio where there is no segregation of outgoing passengers and no separate building just for customs that I know of for incoming international passengers.

Not familiar with SA, but Austin was designed as an international terminal, and does include segregation of passengers as well an immigration facility.

The segregation is for incoming passengers only, not outgoing. When international passengers come in, they are in 'international' territory until they clear immigration. They are not allowed to mingle with the rest of the population in the airport. The corridors between the gates and the immigration area, as well as the entire immigration area, are highly secure areas. In terminals whith both national and international passengers (such as Austin or IAH terminal E), there are corridors between gates designated for international travel and the rest of the terminal. You have no option but to go to the immigration area once you come off the plane. In terminals with only international travel, the terminal is open like any other terminal, but the only way out is thru immigration.

The only way around it is for travelers coming from countries such as Canada ( I think a handful other countries have similar deals). In Canada, passengers coming to the US actually clear immigration and customs in the outgoing airports. The US government actually operates out of these foreign airports. In that case, planes from those airports can come into any airport in the US.

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How would you propose to handle the additional passenger traffic that international flights will generate?  This international gateway was southwest's idea.  And, Southwest is not a freespending, cash wielding company. I am sure that it was done as efficiently as possible.  What do you think it would cost to Build a C&I Facility, Doubledeck, or Double Skin for international arrival passenger traffic and expand the boomerang to accommodate additional aircraft?  Sounds more expensive, less efficient, clumsy and more expensive to me.  In fact, nothing about the Additional terminal seems extravagant or unnecessary.  Important qualities of both SWA and City of Houston.   

 

 

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  • 4 months later...
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Not sure if there is a topic started already on the new International Terminal at Hobby but today is the grand opening. Exciting times in our city!

http://abc13.com/travel/hobby-airport-opens-international-terminal-today/1034176/

Yes:

http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/26255-hobby-airport-going-international-swa-will-pay-100m-for-airport-expansion/page-6#entry486178

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Flew to Mexico and back this weekend.

 

New terminal is nice. The Pappasitios in it is very good and while still at airport prices ($12 for breakfast taco meal), you get A LOT of food. More like two breakfast burritos with beans and potatoes.

 

Two issues (although nothing earth shattering).

 

1.) I didn't enter my passport info when buying the ticket. I thought I could go back later to do that. However, my RR account doesn't let me enter it in. Therefore, I couldn't check in. I had to call in to get my PP # added to the reservation. Then, for some reason, the agent never checked me in. So I had a C# boarding. Ouch. I still can't add my passport info to my RR account. This is a significant oversight by SWA.

 

2.) SWA's system isn't transferring the global entry / TSA  precheck # to international boarding passes as of yet. Had to go through regular security line.

 

Global entry kiosk still worked for me, however, when I returned to Hobby.

 

For those who are flying internationally and returning, the Global entry kiosks are to the right when getting to the immigration checkpoint. The officials are tried to shuffle everyone to the regular kiosks and didn't advertise the Global entry ones. I had to look / ask if they were in use.

 

They are.

 

Overall, SWA is still a little rusty / clunky on its international travel operation. I'm sure they'll get it together.

 

 

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Thanks for the info DNA....according to SW's website, you only need to present your passport at check-in before proceeding through security for international flights -- since I didn't enter my passport information when I bought my tickets, I want to make sure I am prepared before I get there...you weren't able to show them your passport at a kiosk and then go through security ?

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Thanks for the info DNA....according to SW's website, you only need to present your passport at check-in before proceeding through security for international flights -- since I didn't enter my passport information when I bought my tickets, I want to make sure I am prepared before I get there...you weren't able to show them your passport at a kiosk and then go through security ?

 

 

I tried to use the kiosk, but it was a no-go for me. IDK if other had the same issue.

 

I went to the full service line and they checked me in, printed my boarding pass, and check my luggage. Others in line seemed to have already checked in. I didn't have that luxury and don't really know why.

 

My flight was early so regular security wasn't too bad. I parked, checked luggage, went to security, and was sitting at Pappasitos within 30 minutes. I had 1.5 hrs to kill.

 

Other useful info:

 

Hobby can't serve alcohol until 7 AM (at least on a weekday). :o

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Has or will the name of the airport change to Hobby International Airport?

 

I haven't heard that being the plan, but it would be interesting if they did. I think it may been known as Hobby International from the time it was renamed for former Gov. Hobby from the old name of Houston International in 1967, until Intercontinental opened in 1969.

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I haven't heard that being the plan, but it would be interesting if they did. I think it may been known as Hobby International from the time it was renamed for former Gov. Hobby from the old name of Houston International in 1967, until Intercontinental opened in 1969.

 

Today would be the day to do the re-name and go.....

 

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  • 8 months later...

Had to fly Southwest (WN) very impressed with Hobby Airport.  They should rename Hobby International Airport.  I don't like the boarding process and their flights are always late.  It is good they give you free drinks when they are late.  This month 56% of their flights are one time.  United is at 71% with 5,000 flights a day.  The flight attendants were irritating one whistles through the flight.  Then they ask you to move for a free drink so a family can sit together.  I love United if my flight is delayed they send a text on the APP with my new flights.  

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On 10/20/2015 at 9:21 PM, mollusk said:

 

Nobody in Texas can serve alcohol before 7 AM, noon on Sunday (tiny sips of Catholic communion wine excepted).

 

Restaurants can serve alcohol from 10am to noon on Sunday in conjunction with food. Also sporting venues, fairs, festivals and wineries can serve before noon.

 

I believe I have gotten alcohol before 7am on a weekday at the United Lounge, but I didn't pay for it. The law states "sale/service of alcohol" so i assume free alcohol is not allowed either.

 

Per TABC:

ON-PREMISE LICENSE OR PERMIT (E.G. BAR OR RESTAURANT)

  • Monday-Friday: 7am-midnight
  • Saturday: 7am-1am (Sunday morning)
  • Sunday: Noon to midnight. (10am-noon only in conjunction with the service of food)
  • If the establishment is in a city or county legal for late hours, and they have a late hours permit, they can sell alcohol for on-premise consumption until 2am any night of the week.
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Hobby is much smaller than ATL - the walking distance from gate 1 to gate 30 is only .48 miles, with two stretches that have moving sidewalks.  Hobby could probably use more moving sidewalks, but I think a intra-terminal train would be overkill.

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On 4/4/2020 at 3:52 PM, BhutcA said:

To be like Atlanta, Georgia's Jackson-Hartsfield Airport. 

 

A terminal train line must be added! That'll be greatful for passengers! I've already rode the terminal train in the Hartsfield! 

family guy slow turn GIF

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  • The title was changed to To be like Atlanta Georgia's Jackson-Hartsfield Airport

Have been flying out of Hobby lately and its honestly much better than it was even 5 years ago. Good amount of store fronts, decent food options, and my god is their Clear/TSA Pre lines efficient. From parking to gate, it was 16 mins. I'm sort of proud of where Hobby is right now, its a fine airport that can really get people in and out. Only complaint is the baggage area that is from 1950, and the lack of efficiency there [its a bit slow] stands out when compared to the rest of the airport. 

We did IAH early this year, and it was miserable. Construction pains is an issue, and understandable, but getting through their security line seemed like much more of a hassle. Plus, it just feels...sterile. 

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54 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Hobby is always a great experience for me, but I can't agree on the food options. Gotta break that Pappas monopoly. 

there’s a huge variety of food at hobby:

- Pappa BBQ

- Pappasito’s

-Papadeaux

- Pappas Burger

- Pappasitos togo 

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I used Hobby last month for the first time in 20 years.  So much has improved, even the parking.  Except that the red/green tally signs were wrong.  They all read "0" except for one row which read "1374" spaces.  Still, I was very impressed.

Security was mostly efficient, but could use an upgrade.  The line got so backed up going through the stop-and-frisk booth that TSA opened up the regular magnetometers and just let people stream through to relieve the pressure.  Not ideal, from a security perspective.

I went through two airports recently that really had their stuff together.  One had an interesting automated bin sanitation and redistribution system that massively cut down on the clog that forms when people are loading their worldly goods into the X-ray bins.  (Probably not actually x-rays anymore, something fancier.)

I'd say Hobby's biggest problem is the same one that Metro has: Wayfinding.  The design language is not unified, which makes it hard to seek out official information.  There aren't enough signs.  And some of the signs are wrong — arrows pointing in different directions.  But I noticed that a lot of them, even the men's room signs, were digital, so at least they can be easily upgraded. 

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every time I see this thread pop up, I am reminded of the uncyclopedia article on Houston, specifically for airports:

https://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/Houston

Houston is home to more than 36 airports of various sizes, however the two most used are the George H.W. “Don’t Confuse Me With My Son” Bush INTERGALACTIC Airport, and William P. “Don’t Confuse Me With His Son Either” Hobby Airport. China Airlines does not currently fly to either airport; therefore the safety record for both is actually pretty good.

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  • The title was changed to 2

My experience with Hobby has felt worse each time I've flown out of it recently (which I do ~10-15 times a year). I'm sure some of it is pandemic staffing etc, but the food options are meager and for anything take-and-go that isn't Subway, you'll be waiting 20 minutes to get something. And then you won't be able to find space at a table. I've mostly stopped trying to eat at Hobby at all. Additionally, with every gate servicing a flight round the clock, there's almost never enough places to sit while you wait for your flight.

I will give them that their operations are always extremely smooth, usually very on time, and getting around the airport isn't hard. But the experience of the time spent there is less than stellar and desperately in need of upgrade.

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my only issue ever with Hobby is the situation for dropping off and picking up.

the drop off area isn't covered which becomes an issue in the rain.

the pickup area being designed for many lanes to be accessible to pick up passengers, but then they have most of them blocked off for either ride share, or remote parking. it's just not good at all with how they have everything closed off.

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  • 2 months later...
On 8/16/2022 at 10:39 AM, X.R. said:

Have been flying out of Hobby lately and its honestly much better than it was even 5 years ago. Good amount of store fronts, decent food options, and my god is their Clear/TSA Pre lines efficient. From parking to gate, it was 16 mins. I'm sort of proud of where Hobby is right now, its a fine airport that can really get people in and out. Only complaint is the baggage area that is from 1950, and the lack of efficiency there [its a bit slow] stands out when compared to the rest of the airport. 

We did IAH early this year, and it was miserable. Construction pains is an issue, and understandable, but getting through their security line seemed like much more of a hassle. Plus, it just feels...sterile. 

The baggage claim area is NOT from 1950. Believe me; I remember the 1954 baggage claim area! It was completely redone in the '90s; the bag carts behind the scenes now use a path which used to be the ground level access road when the terminal was new!

The 1954 bag claim (which was extended, but not changed, about 1980) had no belts or conveyors. There was just a line of roll-up doors behind an upper and a lower shelf. The tug would pull the carts in, the driver would roll up the doors, and then stack the bags wherever he could find an open space on the shelves. Mob scene ensued...

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1 hour ago, ehbowen said:

The baggage claim area is NOT from 1950. Believe me; I remember the 1954 baggage claim area! It was completely redone in the '90s; the bag carts behind the scenes now use a path which used to be the ground level access road when the terminal was new!

The 1954 bag claim (which was extended, but not changed, about 1980) had no belts or conveyors. There was just a line of roll-up doors behind an upper and a lower shelf. The tug would pull the carts in, the driver would roll up the doors, and then stack the bags wherever he could find an open space on the shelves. Mob scene ensued...

Yes, that's correct . . . the bag claim area is not original to the terminal.  In fact, weren't the bag belts and the ticket counters on the same level when the terminal originally opened?

This old terminal map from 1968 isn't much help in clarifying, but there is only one level.  Maybe a second level was added at some point, as was the case at many airports.  (Note from map KLM served HOU before IAH opened . . . KL's first service to Houston was in 1957, AMS-YUL-HOU-MEX DC-7.)

HOU68 (departedflights.com)

This photo does show a dual-level roadway in 1976.  I don't think the airport had a garage until the 1980s.

7b281d99f25ffc60d1d2522f9232600f.jpg

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42 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Yes, that's correct . . . the bag claim area is not original to the terminal.  In fact, weren't the bag belts and the ticket counters on the same level when the terminal originally opened?

This old terminal map from 1968 isn't much help in clarifying, but there is only one level.  Maybe a second level was added at some point, as was the case at many airports.  (Note from map KLM served HOU before IAH opened . . . KL's first service to Houston was in 1957, AMS-YUL-HOU-MEX DC-7.)

HOU68 (departedflights.com)

This photo does show a dual-level roadway in 1976.  I don't think the airport had a garage until the 1980s.

7b281d99f25ffc60d1d2522f9232600f.jpg

In the 1968 map the stairway down to baggage claim was located behind the Continental ticket counter. The other stairway opposite Fleetway Air Taxi would have led down there as well. Bag claim itself was located under the Eastern and Trans Texas gates on the 1968 map. The street level exit from baggage claim was just behind the dark taxi with the white roof which looks like a Dodge Polara, second from left. The grated openings to the right of it in the photo are for the boiler/chiller/mechanical room. To the right of that looks to be airport/airline offices. Subsequent to the printing of that map (IAH was already well under construction) a customs/immigration wing opened to the right (west) of the concourse to gates 1-6; it was briefly used by Braniff International as they tried to compete against Southwest to Dallas after the terminal reopened in the early 1970s. They quickly gave up and moved back to IAH.

This photo does not show what used to be a matched pair of ramps leading from the parking area up to the ticketing level, with a bridge over the lower roadway. One of the ramps had been cut for some mechanical installation (probably a sump pump) by the mid/late 1970s but the other was intact until construction began on the garage and new bag claim in the 1980s.

One feature that not many Houstonians know about Hobby Airport is that when it opened it had twelve actual hotel rooms which I believe were located on that lower level...there weren't many other places to stay if you had an overnight connection in 1954! (The old Houston Municipal terminal which is now the Museum had two of them, and they were still intact although badly decayed when I worked at Hobby from 1997-99.) Shortly thereafter, though, airport hotels opened up on Telephone Road and across Airport Boulevard and the City chose not to give them competition. I heard that at least one of the hotel rooms was intact (as an office, with a private toilet and bathtub!) while I was working there, but I never got a chance to see it.

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15 minutes ago, ehbowen said:

In the 1968 map the stairway down to baggage claim was located behind the Continental ticket counter. The other stairway opposite Fleetway Air Taxi would have led down there as well. Bag claim itself was located under the Eastern and Trans Texas gates on the 1968 map. The street level exit from baggage claim was just behind the dark taxi with the white roof which looks like a Dodge Polara, second from left. The grated openings to the right of it in the photo are for the boiler/chiller/mechanical room. To the right of that looks to be airport/airline offices. Subsequent to the printing of that map (IAH was already well under construction) a customs/immigration wing opened to the right (west) of the concourse to gates 1-6; it was briefly used by Braniff International as they tried to compete against Southwest to Dallas after the terminal reopened in the early 1970s. They quickly gave up and moved back to IAH.

This photo does not show what used to be a matched pair of ramps leading from the parking area up to the ticketing level, with a bridge over the lower roadway. One of the ramps had been cut for some mechanical installation (probably a sump pump) by the mid/late 1970s but the other was intact until construction began on the garage and new bag claim in the 1980s.

Wow!  Thanks for all the detail!

15 minutes ago, ehbowen said:

One feature that not many Houstonians know about Hobby Airport is that when it opened it had twelve actual hotel rooms which I believe were located on that lower level...there weren't many other places to stay if you had an overnight connection in 1954! (The old Houston Municipal terminal which is now the Museum had two of them, and they were still intact although badly decayed when I worked at Hobby from 1997-99.) Shortly thereafter, though, airport hotels opened up on Telephone Road and across Airport Boulevard and the City chose not to give them competition. I heard that at least one of the hotel rooms was intact (as an office, with a private toilet and bathtub!) while I was working there, but I never got a chance to see it.

This I definitely did not know and I find fascinating--there are some office suites to the east of the AA bag service office down the corridor with restrooms, maybe that was where they are?

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1 hour ago, mattyt36 said:

Wow!  Thanks for all the detail!

This I definitely did not know and I find fascinating--there are some office suites to the east of the AA bag service office down the corridor with restrooms, maybe that was where they are?

Hmm. Thinking about it, if I was building a hotel room I'd want to give it a window, and aside from the public space windows for the lobby and concourses the only windows I see (in the original building...gates 13-19 were a later addition) are on the ramp side of where the Pan American desk is, as you can see in this publicity shot from 1980 which I just unearthed after 40+ years in the filing cabinet. (Hmm. I've only had that filing cabinet since the '90s!):img001.jpg.9063538cbd96b45af5ab1990720eb730.jpg

As you can see, at the time the apron area between (old) concourses A & B was still being used for parking, and a flight school (Fletcher Aviation, later moved to the South Ramp) was in operation at the end of Concourse A.

Other little tidbits of trivia from an Intrepid Amateur Industrial Archaeologist:

The Dobbs House restaurant in the circular area was also, during the '50s-'60s, the airline catering kitchen. (It may have been supplanted in the later years before the move to IAH.) The kitchen was on the ground level, the dining area was on the ticketing level, and on the mezzanine level was the "Cloud Room" with a scenic balcony walkway which you can see on the photo above. Stairs led up from the cloud room to the actual airport roof, and in fact there were also stairs which you can just barely make out from the ticketing lobby to the roofs of the gate concourses. I'm old enough to remember going up on those roofs to watch my Dad's flight arrive; there were even boxes where you could put in headphones and drop in a nickel to hear the radio chatter. Thank you ever so much, TSA....

The Cloud Room was served by a dumbwaiter which connected it and the dining room with the kitchen. This dumbwaiter was out of service when I started exploring in the late '70s and was never returned to operation. The restaurant was in fact closed until after the terminal fully reopened in the late 1980s; when it did reopen the hot food was carried up to the ticket lobby level in a small passenger elevator which was installed in the ticket lobby adjacent to Concourse B. The Cloud Room was never again used as a restaurant to the best of my knowledge but it did continue to serve as an executive board room until the present Southwest Airlines concourse was constructed in the 2000s.

Concourses A and B had underground service tunnels which ran the length of each concourse, with a transverse tunnel which connected them. It could get mighty dark and drippy in there. Concourse C, which was added later, did not have this feature.

The Customs & Immigration area which was built in the 1960s and which served for a brief time as Braniff's gate in the early 1970s is the one-story rectangular addition just west of the main terminal building in the photo above.

The two (wheelchair? Naah, no one was handicapped in the 1950s...) ramps from the parking area to the ticket level are just barely visible in the photo above; the small bridge which connects them to the ticket lobby casts that black shadow in the center. You can see that the east ramp has been cut for a sump pump or similar, but the west ramp was still intact.

More later....

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