Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) expects to break a record in 2022 for the busiest year in airport history with a projected 21 million passengers flying in and out of Austin. With more airline seats offered than ever before, AUS continues to see high-volume travel days, which are days with 30,000+ passengers. This sustained increase in passenger numbers shows AUS has recovered from pandemic passenger traffic losses.
As the "World's Gateway to Central Texas", AUS now connects Austinites and Central Texans to more destinations than ever before through over 90 nonstop domestic and international destinations. To view a full list and map of services, visit the Nonstop Flights out of AUS webpage.
Passenger Travel Tips
To help prepare passengers for a busier than ever AUS, the airport recommends:
- That travelers using general TSA screening should arrive at least 2.5 hours before their departure time for domestic flights
- Travelers flying internationally should check-in at their airline ticket counter at least 3 hours before departure.
- Travelers checking luggage, traveling with small children or in a large group, and those flying out of AUS for the first time in a while, should give themselves extra time in addition to the 2.5- and 3-hour recommendation to make it to their gate on time.
Parking & Passenger Drop-Off Tips
An increase in passengers means more vehicles are dropping off and picking up passengers. Drivers and passengers are encouraged to “switch,” using whichever level has the least congestion. Drop off for departures on either the upper or lower level. Passengers can quickly get upstairs to ticketing and security using escalators and elevators from the lower arrivals level. If the lower level is congested, arriving passengers can use escalators and elevators to be picked up on the upper level.
Travelers that want to park onsite can visit ABIAParking.com to reserve a parking space and check for real-time parking availability before arriving at the airport.
For arriving passengers getting picked up by Uber, Lyft, Wingz, or other rideshares, a tram service is available on the first floor of the Red garage to take passengers from the terminal to the rideshare pick-up area located on the ground floor underneath the rental car facility.
Flight Check-In Tips
Travelers without checked luggage can skip the airline ticket counters and head immediately to security screening checkpoints using these time-saving flight check-in options:
- Use the lower curbside and upper curbside for drop-off — from the lower level, passengers can quickly get upstairs to ticketing and security via escalators and elevators.
- Self-service flight check-in kiosks that allow travelers to print their boarding passes and bag tags are available inside the terminal, across from the airline ticket counters.
- In addition to traditional check-in procedures, select airlines offer outside curbside check-in.
- Travelers can also save time by checking in for their flight using their airlines’ mobile app and a mobile boarding pass.
TSA Screening and Packing Tips
Staffing at security screening checkpoints is the responsibility of the TSA. Checkpoints open at 3:00 a.m. with TSA PreCheck and Clear screening available at Checkpoints 1 and 2 West. In addition, a new security checkpoint near Southwest ticketing, Checkpoint 2 East, is open for all passengers going through general screening. All checkpoints lead to all gates and airlines in the Barbara Jordan Terminal.
Food, gifts, and other items should be packed properly. For more information about what can and cannot be brought through TSA security, visit TSA.gov.
The TSA has reported that AUS passengers continue to bring a record number of guns to security checkpoints this year. Bringing prohibited items will cause delays for passengers.
All airlines provide wheelchair service from curb to aircraft. Please contact your airline prior to your flight to make arrangements for this service.
Visit our ADA and Accessibility webpage for more information about pick-up options for travelers with mobility assistive devices, TSA screening ADA procedures, and other accessibility services at AUS.
Information for Allegiant and Frontier Travelers
Travelers flying with Allegiant and Frontier will depart from The South Terminal. All other airlines operate out of the main Barbara Jordan Terminal. The two terminals are not connected and must be accessed separately. The South Terminal is located at 10000 Logistics Lane, near US 183 and Burleson Road. If dropped off at the Barbara Jordan Terminal, passengers can use a shuttle bus, which picks up from the curb-side departure level, to get to the South Terminal.
AUS is delivering improvement and modernization projects to meet the needs of increased passenger and airline activity through the Journey With AUS airport improvement program. Construction activities in the terminal may be visible to passengers.
- Visit AustinTexas.gov/AUSJourney to learn more about the Journey With AUS program
- Visit AustinTexas.gov/AUSConstructionUpdates for a list of scheduled and active construction activities that will be visible to passengers
AUS Frequently Asked Questions
- How is the airport addressing longer TSA wait times during peak travel periods?
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is owned by the City of Austin and operated by the Department of Aviation. Security checkpoints at AUS are operated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Department of Aviation continues to partner with the TSA to address security checkpoint delays, including:
- Opening a new TSA checkpoint last winter through the Journey With AUS airport improvement program
- Redesigning Checkpoint 3 to add more security lanes
- Requesting additional TSA staff and technology
- On-going and regular conversations with local TSA leadership
- Requesting congressional support through the airport's federal delegation
- Assisting TSA with promoting job fairs, hiring events and TSA employment opportunities
- Hiring additional Department of Aviation Guest Services staff to assist with passenger queuing so that TSA personnel can focus on security screening
- Why is the airport so busy?
After the devastating worldwide impacts on travel and aviation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AUS has been experiencing a strong recovery since the summer of 2021. Central Texas continues to grow, and people and businesses are moving to Austin. This regional growth has led to strong demand for air service. Airlines continue to invest in Austin, bringing more jobs and economic opportunities alongside new nonstop destinations.
AUS airlines have launched more flights to existing destinations, launched new destinations, and sometimes use bigger aircraft than before. This means there are more seats for sale and more passengers traveling on a regular basis to fill those seats. AUS is the fastest growing and strongest recovering airport in the country when measured by seat capacity increase and currently offers more nonstop destinations than ever before.
- What kind of new services has AUS launched to help passengers?
To better assist passengers, AUS has launched a variety of new services, ranging from new food, beverage and travel essential shopping options to new services for differently-abled passengers and for those using mobility assistive devices. New services include:
- On-site, no appointment needed TSA PreCheck enrollment for departing passengers. Visit AustinTexas.gov/AUS-PreCheck to learn how you can sign up for TSA Pre Check the next time you fly out of AUS.
- Starting November 21st, just in time for the holiday travel season, AUS will offer a new service known as SkySquad, which connects passengers with a trained, pre-vetted airport assistant to provide an extra pair of hands from the curbside to their gate (from ticketing, checking bags, loading items onto the security belt, keeping an eye on travel items when they go to the restroom and more). Passengers need to book 24 hours in advance. Visit the SkySquad website or call (877) – 359 – 2256.
- A new Mobility Assistance Zone for passengers using mobility assistive devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, or crutches, or those who need additional mobility assistance. It provides priority access for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), taxis and rideshares to reduce travel time and provide a convenient pick-up area for passengers with limited mobility. It is free and open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. It is located on the lower level curbside, one lane across from the G and H pick-up areas.
- A new Mobility Lounge for passengers using wheelchairs and other mobility assistive devices is located on the ticketing/departures level.
- New 24/7 snack, beverage and travel essential items are located for sale throughout the terminal. Visit Airportmaps.AustinTexas.gov to see locations and options.
- Do I still need to show up early if I have TSA PreCheck or Clear? What if I am not checking luggage?
Arrival time best practices depend on a variety of factors such as:
- If you're checking a bag and how many you're checking
- If you need to return a rental car
- If you are traveling with small children or a large group
- If you are using general TSA screening or not
AUS recommends passengers using general TSA screening arrive at least 2.5 hours before boarding for domestic travel and 3 hours before boarding for international travel. If a passenger is completing pre-TSA activities like the ones listed above, they should make sure they have plenty of time to do so.
TSA PreCheck and Clear can both save passengers time with expedited TSA security screening options. An example of a passenger who may not need the full 2.5 hours to make it to their gate before boarding is a single traveler who has TSA PreCheck or Clear, is using a mobile boarding pass and is not checking any luggage. An example of a passenger who may need more than the 2.5 hours is someone traveling in a large group of travelers who have not traveled in long time, are checking multiple bags and oversized items, and are returning a rental car before heading into the terminal.
- How can I sign up for TSA PreCheck or Clear?
TSA PreCheck and Clear both offer expedited security screening.
For TSA PreCheck, you have two options for signing up:
- Option 1 for ticketed passengers
- You can sign up for TSA PreCheck with no appointment needed on your next flight out of AUS. The TSA enrollment kiosk is located just past Checkpoint 1. You have to be a ticketed passenger and have to have been screened through security to access the walk-up enrollment kiosk. For more information and hours of operation, visit AustinTexas.gov/AUS-PreCheck.
- Option 2 for non-ticketed passengers
- TSA PreCheck offers appointment-only services at two locations in Austin: One at the airport in Baggage Claim and one at 7010 W Highway 71 in Oak Hill. to book an appointment, fill out pre-appointment paperwork and more, visit TSA.gov/precheck.
For Clear, you can enroll online at ClearMe.com or on-site at the airport.
- Option 1 for ticketed passengers
- When is the airport busiest?
The airport continues to see high passenger volumes regularly throughout the week. Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday continue to be the busiest days of the week, with 30,000+ passengers flying out on these days.
- Is the airport going to expand?
After the AUS 2040 Master Plan was approved by the Austin City Council and the Federal Aviation Administration in late 2019, the Department of Aviation began to plan out projects for the next 20 years that would modernize and improve the airport. Following financial and passenger travel trend impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Aviation re-strategized the approach to deliver airport improvement projects and launched the Journey With AUS airport expansion and development program in the summer of 2021.
The program reflects the anticipated AUS recovery profile for the return and growth of airline activity. The Program will deliver near-and long-term passenger experience improvements:
- Barbara Jordan Terminal Improvements
- A new TSA screening checkpoint - Completed in 2021
- A new baggage handling system - Construction and installation of the new system is underway. Click here to view the project fact sheet.
- A 3-gate expansion on the west side of the terminal - Currently in pre-construction
- More ticketing counters and more TSA security lanes at Checkpoint 3- Currently in design
- Gate 13 renovations that will maximize gate capacity through a remote bus operation - Construction is underway.
- And more
- Enabling airfield and utility work
- New Central Utility Plant
- New electrical substation
- Removing of existing structures to prepare for construction activities
- Preparing for a new Midfield Concourse B with 10+ new gates and taxiways
- An underground tunnel will connect passengers and utilities to the new concourse
The last expansion project was completed in 2019. The expansion added nine new gates to the Barbara Jordan Terminal, which increased the total number of gates to 34. This included increasing international flight gates from two to six, allowing for more international nonstop service to AUS. In addition, the project gives the airport almost 90,000 additional square feet of concourse space and over 50,000 square feet of apron-level space.
- Barbara Jordan Terminal Improvements
- Is there a staffing shortage at AUS?
The Department of Aviation employs nearly 500 employees and that number is growing. The Department of Aviation was granted a budget amendment approval by the Austin City Council to create 80 new positions this last spring. Many of these positions are temporary positions that will be converted to full-time employment opportunities and will support a range of airport functions from Guest Services, Operations, Planning and Development and more. More Department of Aviation positions are planned for Fiscal Year 2023.
If you are interested in joining the Department of Aviation, you can view current employment opportunities at AustinCityJobs.org.
Many AUS business partners are seeking qualified candidates to join their teams, including the Transportation Security Administration, ABIA Parking, AUS airlines, ground handling and concession partners. You can learn more about AUS business partners and current job opportunities at the AUS career webpage.
As unemployment levels in Austin and Central Texas remain low and as the worldwide labor shortage continues, the Department of Aviation appreciates the patience from our passengers as our business partners navigate our COVID-19 recovery together as an airport community.
- Have AUS concessions reopened from pandemic closures?
AUS concessions have reopened from the pandemic closures experienced in 2020 and 2021 and AUS is excited to offer concessions to our travelers, including What-a-Burger (in the Cell Phone Waiting Lot), Zocalo Cafe, Thurman's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, Kome Sushi, the Noble Sandwich and more.
As concession operators continue to fill vacancies, their operating hours may vary or be limited in the evening hours. AUS now offers several new contactless and self-service kiosks and machines that are available to travelers 24/7 and offer snacks, beverages, travel essentials, and more.
- What else is the airport doing to respond to regional growth?
In addition to the terminal improvements and modernization projects through the Journey With AUS airport improvement program, the Department of Aviation is constructing a new air cargo facility. This will have long-term benefits for Austin and Central Texas' manufacturing, tech and business hubs, and support a growing region that prioritizes job creation and improving infrastructures. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023.
The Department of Aviation is working with AUS Fuels, LLC, the consortium of AUS airlines that own and operate the jet fuel storage facility at the airport on the development of a new facility. The new facility will more than double the existing on-site fuel storage and be able to meet the airport's long-term fueling needs in the decades to come. Currently, AUS operates with a 2 - 3 day supply, while more airports operate with 5 - 7 days.
Both the new air cargo facility and the new jet fuel storage facility are AUS 2040 Master Plan projects that have been expedited ahead of the original timeline to address our growing region and increased demand for air and cargo service.