Hotels within airports – terminal decline?


Share on LinkedIn

The US leads the world in most metrics in the hospitality field be it number of hotel rooms, brands, concepts (boutiques), technology and a host of other areas. But when it comes to hotels within airport terminal buildings, the US is near or at the bottom of worldwide rankings. There are instances such as the Hyatt at DFW airport but even those are outside the actual terminal building and, thus far, there is no hotel for international travelers in transit at any US airport.

The Washington Times has an article entitled “Hotels just steps away from airport gates“. The article notes that ”it’s puzzling why in the United States, one of the most lucrative travel
markets in the world, the concept of airport transit hotels is so
foreign. There are signs that may be changing, but current plans seem
more like baby steps than bold decision-making.” The “baby steps” the writer refers to is a concept launched in Atlanta’s Hartsfield International airport called “Minute Suites“.

Not quite a hotel but each “suite” comes with “equipped with a comfortable daybed sofa, pillows
and fresh blankets. A sound masking system within each suite helps
neutralize noise and a unique “napware” audio program is available to
help deliver a refreshing powernap.” Other hotel-like features include an alarm clock (or request a wake-up call) and a
HDTV that”converts to a computer with access to the Internet and the airport’s flight tracking system. besides a desk, phone, and office chair.” There is also access to the airport’s WiFi or a direct connection port.

Nevertheless, as a founder of Minute Suites notes in the article, they “are not a hotel.” But there is a threshold reason for the US being such a laggard in the field; which is that the US’s Department of Homeland Security suspended (indefinitely) in 2003 two programs ” Transit Without Visa program (TWOV) and the International-to-International transit program
(ITI)” due to which it is unviable if not impossible to develop hotels within airport terminal buildings of the kind seen in Hong Kong’s Regal hotel at Chek Lap Kok or Singapore’s Ambassador at Changi airport, both more likely to overwhelm guests for convenience  rather than hospitality. Until (and it may well be years) the US permits transit travel without clearing customs and immigration hotels within terminal buildings likely never will be built.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vijay Dandapani
Since August 1993, Vijay Dandapani, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Apple Core Hotels, has been instrumental in the company's growth and development, including acquisitions, six hotel renovations and the implementation of state-of-the-art computer systems. A hotel industry veteran, Dandapani, is also a member of the Board of Directors for the following associations: Hotel Association of New York City, NYC & Company, NYSHTA (New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association), and the International Hotel Motel & Restaurant Show at Javits.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here