When you visit an airport in any region across the globe, you will also see a lot of other things, including an airport terminal and facilities that offer services to travelers. Also, in order to board your flight, you are required to walk inside of the airport’s terminal building to the boarding gate. Travelers and visitors access an airport’s terminal every day and it can often be crowded, especially at busy airports.
In this blog, we are going to give you an insight on what is an airport terminal, what it consists of and things you need to know.
What is an Airport Terminal?
An airport terminal is basically a large, single or multi-story building that comprises various amenities and facilities and allows travelers to board and disembark from flights. An airport may consist of more than one terminal buildings, each having several gates (entry and exit points) in order to provide convenience to travelers.
Generally, an airport terminal is divided into two sections, which are called landside and airside, respectively.
A landside is a section of the airport’s area that is located outside of the terminal building. This area’s limit is till the security check area.
An airport’s landside area mainly gives you access to an airport’s entrance, ticket counter, help desk, meeters and greeters, public lounges, arrivals, payphones, car park, and ground transportation, such as rental cars, taxis, city buses, metro trains, and railway system.
An airside is a section of the airport’s area that is located inside the terminal building. This area is usually accessible after security and to an aircraft.
An airport’s airside area mainly gives you access to walkways, lobby, flight departures, boarding gate (also called concourse), shuttle buses, carousel, baggage claim, lounges, shops, restaurants, banks, ATMs, children’s play area, restrooms, medical facilities, prayer room and many more.
Additionally, an airport may also consist of a separate terminal building, specifically for parking aircraft that is served by several major as well as low-cost airline carriers. This separate terminal is usually called a satellite terminal and connects to the airport’s main terminal building via pedestrian walkways, sky-bridges, etc.
Facilities and Amenities Commonly Available at Airport Terminal
Usually, an airport in any given city offers many essential amenities and facilities to travelers that not only provide comfort but convenience and enjoyment as well.
Below we have included a few such facilities that are commonly available in almost any airport in any city, state or country around the world.
Travellers can visit an airport’s ticket counter within the terminal building to purchase, modify/upgrade and/or cancel flight tickets.
Baggage Check in
The baggage check-in is an area within the airport terminal, where passengers are required to go through security and have their luggage checked by customs officials.
Boarding gates within an airport terminal allows passengers to have their boarding passes checked by gate agents prior to getting on the plane. There are dedicated terminal gates for accessing boarding gates to domestic and international flights served by various airline carriers.
You will find most shops, such as shopping malls, retail stores, and duty-free stores located in the airside of the airport terminal. Here, you can purchase all kinds of merchandise, souvenirs for your loved ones, and toys for children.
Unfortunately, you may not find such shops in an airport’s landside area. Thus, you will need to pass through security in order to access these stores.
Airports usually provide many restaurants and cafes that are operated both by popular and local brands. So, you are certain to have plenty of options, whether you want to dine with family or have a quick snack and beverage before catching your flight, or when leaving the airport.
Banks, Currency Exchange and ATMs
You will find banks, ATMs, and currency exchange counters at airports that are operated both by local and foreign banks. You can use ATMs to cash out and pay bills where online transactions are not possible. Or, when traveling to foreign countries, you can exchange your currency with the country’s local currency at the airport’s currency exchange office.
Some airports, especially in major cities around the world, provide full banking services to travelers.
Airports usually provide public and private lounges to travelers. Most airports allow travelers access to lounges by paying at the door, using debit/credit cards, or via an airline’s membership program.
Also, premium lounges operated by the best and low-cost airline carriers at many airports offer complimentary snacks and beverages to travelers and elite members. While, some may even offer private rooms, such as for relaxation and feeding infants.
On the other hand, there may be very few airports that offer public lounges allowing travelers free access. However, snacks and beverages are served as paid-for.
Children’s Play Area
Airports provide play zones for children. Parents and/or guardians traveling with children and waiting for their flights, including delayed flights, can let their children spend some time playing in this dedicated area.
In addition, they also provide a wide range of toys to play with at no extra charge.
Passengers traveling to international destinations will often require accommodation for their temporary stay, which typically lasts a couple of days. Some airports provide hotels within their terminal building with all the necessary facilities.
In-airport hotels are very convenient and safe, particularly for passengers that arrive at airports after midnight.
Airports provide easy access to rental cars and taxis for hire, while some may also have connectivity with metro trains and railways, so passengers can travel quickly.
Rental car and taxi services have their offices located outside the airport’s terminal building, where you can hire a cab or rent a car to go to your destination. Mostly, their services are available as prepaid and their taxis have meters that charge based on distance traveled or you may be charged a fixed fare.
Additionally, city bus rides and airport shuttle buses are also available for transport. Airport shuttle buses service to and from the airport premises located only a few kilometers i.e., these shuttle buses operate short distance only. Thus, for longer distances, city buses are available.
Terminal Gates and Boarding Flights
Airports usually provide dedicated boarding gates for flights that fly to different destinations, domestic and international. There are also flight information monitors that display flight’s departure and arrival times, terminal gates, and so on. These terminal gates are marked with numbers and letters to avoid any sort of confusion.
When you purchase your flight ticket, the terminal gate number is included among other information, and on the flight itinerary and boarding pass as well. Also, the terminal gate number is provided in the confirmation which you receive via e-mail after purchasing a flight ticket.
Conclusion – Know About Airport Terminal
An airport would serve no purpose if there is no terminal building. The design and layout of an airport terminal will certainly differ from one city to another and in any country.
Nowadays, many airports have also included art galleries and plane-spotting, where travelers can spend quality time admiring the arts of famous and even local artists, or simply enjoy plane-spotting.