Three important planning tools:
Airline Hub Airports:
Hubs are focus airports for the most used airlines. This can help you plan ahead – the key to successful traveling – by allowing you to see possible bottlenecks BEFORE you leave for the airport. For example, predicted hurricane in Orlando during your travel days will impact AirTran, JetBlue, and Southwest, at least around the east and southeast. All the airlines will possibly be impacted to some degree, but these Orlando focused airlines will feel the most impact. Because the plane you are getting on came from somewhere, and if the weather doesn’t allow that plane to get to where YOU are waiting to get on it – you could be delayed or cancelled.
What you need to know: Always check weather at the major hubs for your airline the night before. You may decide you want to take an extra book, a larger lunch, or even an inflatable pillow and stuff sack blanket. You’ll get where you are going eventually – and happier if you planned ahead for weather impacts.
Airport Names and Codes:
Official names of airports and the unique IATA (international Airline Transport Association) code for these major US airports.
What you need to know: Save time searching for flights online by plugging the code in rather than the city. Several cities have more than one airport, and you may save money by checking the connecting flight choices at different area airports.
Airport Terminal Maps:
You can usually find these on board the airplane in back of the magazine the airline puts out. Hemispheres (United’s magazine) has a terrific section with all their flights paths and terminal maps for their hub airports. But when I’m planning, I don’t have that magazine (unless I snagged it off the last flight), so I download the terminal map for the airport(s) I’ll be going through on my current trip. Airline smartphone apps, or by pulling up your reservation on the airline website with your confirmation number, should give you the departure, arrival and connection gates on the morning of your flight. With a terminal map, you can plan ahead whether you’ll have to run to make your connection on the opposite end of a terminal – OR whether you will have time to stop and get a latte at Starbucks on your way to the gate! This is particularly helpful if the plane you are on is delayed in landing and you have a tight connection.
What you need to know: ALWAYS check the boards in the airport regularly. Gates change, that is a fact of life, and you don’t want to miss a flight because you missed a gate change. The good news – with the terminal maps listed below you can make the gate change unruffled because you’ll know where to go and how to get there.
PERK: The online airline terminal maps, or at least the links in the menu on the terminal maps page, will also show & tell the location of restaurants, bathrooms, customer service desks and more. Find your gate, find the service you want, and get there with ease.
|HUB FOR:||City||State||AIRPORT NAME – LINKED TO TERMINAL MAPS||CODE|
|Alaska||Anchorage||AK||Ted Stevens Anchorage International||ANC|
|Southwest||Phoenix||AZ||Phoenix Sky Harbor International||PHX|
|Alaska, American, Southwest, United||Los Angeles||CA||Los Angeles International||LAX|
|Jet Blue||Long Beach||CA||Long Beach Airport||LGB|
|Southwest||San Diego||CA||San Diego International||SAN|
|United||San Francisco||CA||San Francisco International||SFO|
|Southwest, United||Denver||CO||Denver International||DEN|
|United||Washington||DC||Washington Dulles International||IAD|
|AirTran, JetBlue, Southwest||Orlando||FL||Orlando International||MCO|
|Jet Blue||Ft. Lauderdale||FL||Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International||FLL|
|AirTran, Delta||Atlanta||GA||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International||ATL|
|American, United||Chicago||IL||O’Hare International||ORD|
|Southwest||Chicago||IL||Chicago Midway International||MDW|
|Jet Blue||Boston||MA||Logan International||BOS|
|AirTran, Southwest||Baltimore||MD/DC||Baltimore-Washington International||BWI|
|Delta||Detroit||MI||Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport||DTW|
|Delta||Minneapolis-Saint Paul||MN||Minneapolis-Saint Paul International||MSP|
|Southwest||St. Louis||MO||Lambert-St. Louis International||STL|
|Southwest||Las Vegas||NV||McCarran International||LAS|
|American, Delta||New York City||NY||John F. Kennedy International||JFK|
|American, Delta||New York City||NY||LaGuardia Airport||LGA|
|United||New York (Newark)||NY||Newark Liberty International||EWR|
|Delta||Cincinnati||OH||Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International||CVG|
|United||Cleveland||OH||Hopkins International Airport||CLE|
|Alaska||Portland||OR||Portland International Airport||PDX|
|Jet Blue||San Juan, PR||PR||Luis Muñoz Marín International||SJU|
|American||Dallas||TX||Dallas / Ft. Worth International||DFW|
|Southwest||Dallas||TX||Dallas Love Field||DAL|
|Southwest||Houston||TX||William P. Hobby Airport||HOU|
|United||Houston||TX||George Bush Intercontinental Airport||IAH|
|Delta||Salt Lake City||UT||Salt Lake City International Airport||SLC|
|SeaTac||SeaTac||WA||Seattle–Tacoma International Airport||SEA|
|AirTran||Milwaukee||WI||General Mitchell International Airport||MKE|