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The Houston Airport System has two main facilities: George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport.
William P. Hobby Airport ( HOU ), commonly referred to as Hobby, is the older of the two and is located seven miles south of downtown Houston - just off I-45 south (major highway between Houston and Galveston). If you’re going to be hitting the beach, ports, or going to the medical center then flying into Hobby may be a better choice. Southwest airlines is the main carrier, but 4 other majors do fly in as well. The single building contains three terminals which hub off of the check-in area and do not share security, so if you’re connecting there’s a small chance you may have to rescreen. Each rental car company runs its own desk and shuttles.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport ( IAH ), commonly referred to as Intercontinental, is the larger airport of the two and is located twenty three miles north of downtown Houston - between I-45 north and US-59 north. Continental hubs out of IAH, so finding direct flights to Houston from almost any destination is easy. 18 other major airlines also have flights into IAH. This massive airport has five distinct terminals, although terminals C, D, and E share a common (very large) building. There is a underground inter-terminal train that can help you if you’re connecting between terminals A, B or C. There is a monorail which connects, from the gate level, between terminals B, C, and E, the international terminal. Be prepared for a bit of a walk if you’re connecting between Continental flights as they fly out of the most gates (700+ daily departures). The rental car companies share a single facility and it can be reached via common buses.
Taxis can easily be hailed at both airports at the well marked taxi stands. It will cost about $37 for a taxi from IAH to downtown and $20 from HOU to downtown. A taxi from one airport to the other will run you about $51. These rates are always subject to change, so be sure to check in advance. Houston taxis operate under the 'one fare for all' concept, ie, the fare is for the cab not per passenger. One passenger or four, the fare is the same.
There are numerous shuttle services that run from both airports to major destinations around town. While cheaper, you will be on the shuttle’s schedule and will possibly have to share space with other passengers. Unlike other cities with door to door shuttle services, airport shuttles in Houston are only permitted to go to certain hotels in certain parts of the city. If you need a ride to an office or to a home, you'll probably need to catch a cab.
The Houston Metro bus service has recently added scheduled bus service, every thirty minutes, from Intercontinental to downtown Houston. From downtown it is quick, easy and much cheaper to hop a cab to your final destination. Check the airport website for more details.
Ellington Field ( EFD ) is a busy civil / military airport. Approximately 15 miles south of downtown Houston, Ellington Field is located off of I-45/Gulf Freeway, the major highway heading from the City to NASA and Galveston Island. There is no scheduled airline service into Ellington.