As a professional gypsy, I have wasted away in many an airport. I have marveled at outdated 1980s tile-covered bathrooms, rolled my eyes at the ever-present Chili’s To-Go, and heaved a heavy carryon through terminal hallways that were designed for marathon runners rather than everyday air passengers. So I can tell you that we have it pretty good here with the Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). Although I also used to chuckle at its “international” status, being that up until quite recently the only international connections we had were beach destinations in Mexico.
Here’s what you should know about our local hub:
- Our airport code is not ATX. While you see this all around Austin, in fact it is part of our company name here at Access ATX, this is just local slang. The airport code is AUS.
- We have expanded our international offerings. Now you can fly direct to 5 locations in Mexico, including beach-happy destinations like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, as well as to the Dominican Republic, London, and Frankfurt, Germany. While most US destinations often require a layover, you will find more direct flights to tech-heavy areas like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York.
- Parking is very cheap compared to other airports around the country. Its $7/day for the long-term lot. So before you take a rideshare or a taxi, do the math. Granted, there are some perks to being dropped off curbside, but the shuttles run very regularly.
- If you are forgetful (as I am) and lose your car in the parking lot, here is a secret. Call the operator on the phones located at any of the shuttle stops. If you give them your license plate number they can tell you exactly what spot your car is parked in. Slightly creepy, but very helpful.
- Accidentally bring along your grandfather’s pocket knife or something else equally hazardous in the eyes of the TSA? Austin’s airport features a kiosk to pack and mail these items back to yourself. At a charge of course.
- ABIA has 3 TSA checkpoints. Depending on the time of day, people tend to gravitate towards one of the three. In my experience the middle one is usually the most crowded. If the lines are long, consider walking the short distance to one of the other checkpoints.
- Almost all of the restaurants in the airport are local. But Schlotzsky’s is a chain you might exclaim! Sure it is, but it is one that was founded here in Austin. We recommend Annie’s Café & Bar for a quick, healthy bite. And to offset this good decision, finish off your meal with a scoop of Mexican Vanilla from Amy’s Ice Cream.
- Also on the note of food, one of the oddest things about ABIA is that during the morning, regardless of what they typically serve, almost ALL of the restaurants serve breakfast tacos. Not burritos, that is for lesser cities. Here in Austin it’s all about the breakfast taco and you can get your first taste of this local tradition immediately upon your arrival. However, not all breakfast tacos are created equal. We’ve tried them all, and Annie’s once again takes the win.
- The restrooms towards gates 18-23 are the most recently renovated and therefore the nicest.
The “Live Music Capital of the World” will welcome you with song and sing your farewells. ABIA features live music most days from 3:00pm – 5:00pm. Check out the full schedule here.