Surprise! Passes at these airports allow visitors to greet loved ones at gate

Passes can also allow for more time spent with family, friends before departing flight

Stock image/Brett Sayles (Pexels)

For anyone who has driven a family member or friend to the airport, one of the saddest moments is often when you reach the security line and have to say goodbye because only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond that point.

However, some airports give out opportunities to have more time spent with loved ones before saying goodbye, or surprise them at a gate if they are arriving into town.

At certain airports around the country, people can purchase passes that allow them to go beyond the security line (they still have to go through it) and hang out near the gates.

The passes allows people who aren’t dropping off or picking up loved ones to hang out and either dine or shop near gates at the airport.

Of course, the passes come with some boundaries and restrictions.

Applications for the passes must be submitted beforehand and they are only good for certain periods of the day.

Here are the airports that offer such passes and you have to do in order to get one.

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport. People can apply for what’s called the DTW Destination Pass on the day prior to a visit by going on the airport’s website. The pass is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Bishop International Airport. Located in Flint, Michigan, the FNT Visitor Pass allows non-ticket visitors access to the airport from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Applications need to be made a day prior to a visit and there is only one visit granted per month.
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The airport hands out up to 100 visitor passes each day. Those who want to apply for the SEA Visitor Pass can do so up to seven days in advance.
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. People can apply for the MSY Guest Pass no less than 24 hours in advance. The passes are good from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Only 50 visitors are allowed on weekdays and 100 on weekends, with only one visitor pass being allowed each month.
  • John Wayne Airport. Those who wish to visit this airport without a plane ticket can apply to the John Wayne Airport’s Post-Security Access Pass only inside the airport on the date of a visit. Those who obtain a pass can enter between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., but must exit the airport by 11 p.m. Visitors can bring only one personal item, such as a purse or a backpack.

Of note, the Tampa International Airport and the Pittsburgh International Airport in the past have offered visitor passes similar to the airports above, but they have decided to suspend that service until further notice due to the pandemic.

Is this something all airports should offer? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.