Traveling through airports can be a confusing experience, especially if you’re not familiar with the different parts of an airport. As you make your way from ticketing to your gate, you’ll likely come across signs pointing you towards something called a “concourse.”

But what exactly is a concourse in an airport?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: A concourse is a large, usually linear hall or passageway in an airport that connects the main terminal to the gates. Concourses contain restaurants, shops, restrooms, and seating for passengers as they wait for their flights.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll give you a detailed look at what an airport concourse is, what you can find there, and how concourses connect the different parts of an airport.

What is an Airport Concourse?

An airport concourse is a crucial component of an airport terminal. It serves as a pathway that connects the main terminal building to the departure gates. This long hallway is designed to handle a large number of passengers efficiently and provide them with various facilities and amenities to enhance their travel experience.

A Long Hallway Connecting the Terminal to the Gates

The airport concourse is essentially a long, spacious hallway that extends from the main terminal building to the departure gates. It is designed to accommodate the flow of passengers and their belongings, allowing them to move seamlessly from one point to another.

With its strategic layout and directional signage, the concourse ensures that travelers can easily navigate their way to their designated gates.

Contains Amenities Like Restaurants, Shops, and Lounges

One of the notable features of an airport concourse is the presence of various amenities. Passengers can find a wide range of facilities such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops offering a variety of products and services.

These amenities cater to the diverse needs and preferences of travelers, providing them with options for dining, shopping, and relaxation before their flight. Additionally, many airports have airline lounges located within the concourse, offering premium services and comfort for business class travelers or members of frequent flyer programs.

Allows Passengers to Get to Their Gates

The primary function of an airport concourse is to provide passengers with a direct route to their departure gates. As travelers make their way through the concourse, they can access the different boarding areas where their flights are scheduled to depart.

The concourse typically consists of multiple gates, each clearly marked with flight information displays, making it easy for passengers to identify their specific gate and boarding time. By efficiently connecting the terminal to the gates, the concourse ensures that passengers can reach their destinations in a timely manner.

Where are Airport Concourses Located?

Airport concourses are strategically positioned within the airport layout to efficiently handle the flow of passengers and aircraft. They can be found in various locations, depending on the airport’s design and configuration.

Here are some common locations where airport concourses are typically situated:

Attached to the Main Terminal Building

Many airports have concourses that are directly attached to the main terminal building. These concourses serve as extensions of the terminal, providing additional space for passenger services, boarding gates, and other airport facilities.

Passengers can easily access these concourses by walking through the terminal and following the signs to their designated gate.

Accessible After Passing Through Security

Another common location for airport concourses is beyond the security checkpoint. After passengers have gone through the necessary security procedures, they can proceed to the concourse area where the boarding gates are located.

This setup ensures that only screened passengers have access to the concourses, enhancing security measures within the airport.

Organized by Terminal and Gate Numbers

Airport concourses are often organized based on terminal and gate numbers. For example, a large airport may have multiple terminals, each with its own set of concourses. These concourses are then further divided into sections or gates, which are numbered for easy navigation.

Passengers can refer to their boarding pass or consult airport signage to determine the specific concourse and gate they need to reach.

It’s important to note that the location of airport concourses can vary from airport to airport. Some airports may have a single concourse, while others may have multiple concourses spread across different areas of the airport.

The layout and design of these concourses are carefully planned to ensure efficient operations and a seamless travel experience for passengers.

What Can You Find in an Airport Concourse?

Restaurants and Food Courts

One of the most important features of an airport concourse is the availability of restaurants and food courts. Passengers can find a wide variety of dining options to suit their tastes and preferences. From fast food chains to upscale restaurants, there is something for everyone.

Whether you are craving a burger and fries or a gourmet meal, the concourse has got you covered. It’s a great opportunity to grab a bite to eat before or after your flight.

Shops and Retail Stores

Another key feature of an airport concourse is the presence of shops and retail stores. Travelers can explore a range of stores offering everything from souvenirs and luxury goods to clothing and electronics.

Whether you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a loved one or simply want to browse the latest fashion trends, the concourse has a diverse selection of shopping options. It’s a perfect chance to indulge in some retail therapy while waiting for your flight.

Lounges and Waiting Areas

Airport concourses also provide passengers with comfortable lounges and waiting areas. These spaces are designed to offer a relaxing environment where travelers can unwind before their flight. Lounges often provide amenities such as comfortable seating, complimentary snacks and beverages, and access to Wi-Fi.

They are especially beneficial for frequent flyers or those who have longer layovers, allowing them to wait for their flight in style and comfort.

Restrooms and Water Fountains

Restrooms and water fountains are essential facilities found in airport concourses. These facilities ensure that passengers have access to clean and sanitary restrooms during their journey. Water fountains are also conveniently located throughout the concourse, allowing travelers to stay hydrated before boarding their flight.

It’s important for airports to provide these amenities to ensure the comfort and well-being of their passengers.

Charging Stations and WiFi

In today’s digital age, access to charging stations and Wi-Fi is a must for travelers. Airport concourses understand this need and provide ample charging stations where passengers can charge their electronic devices.

Additionally, most airports offer free Wi-Fi access, allowing travelers to stay connected throughout their time in the concourse. Whether you need to catch up on work, stream your favorite show, or stay connected with loved ones, the concourse has you covered.

Types of Airport Concourses

Linear Concourses

Linear concourses are one of the most common types of airport concourses. As the name suggests, these concourses are designed in a linear fashion, with gates arranged in a straight line. Passengers can walk from one end of the concourse to the other, with gates usually located on both sides.

Linear concourses are known for their efficiency, as they allow for easy movement and quick access to boarding areas. Some examples of airports with linear concourses include the Denver International Airport and the Dubai International Airport.

Pier Concourses

Pier concourses, also known as finger concourses, are characterized by a central building or terminal that extends outwards in multiple directions, resembling the shape of a pier. Each “finger” of the pier houses several gates, allowing for multiple aircraft to be serviced simultaneously.

This design maximizes the use of space and provides easy access to boarding areas. Notable airports with pier concourses include Heathrow Airport in London and Changi Airport in Singapore.

Satellite Concourses

Satellite concourses are separate buildings or terminals located away from the main terminal. These concourses are commonly connected to the main terminal via underground tunnels or automated people movers.

Satellite concourses are often used in larger airports where space is limited near the main terminal. They provide additional capacity for airlines and offer a more spacious and relaxed atmosphere for passengers.

Examples of airports with satellite concourses include Frankfurt Airport in Germany and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Hybrid Models

Some airports utilize a hybrid model, which combines elements of different concourse types. This allows airports to adapt to their specific needs and maximize efficiency. For example, an airport may have a linear concourse connected to a satellite concourse, providing a combination of straight-line access and additional capacity.

This flexibility in design ensures that airports can effectively handle the growing number of passengers and aircraft. One such airport that has implemented a hybrid model is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Understanding the different types of airport concourses is important for passengers and aviation enthusiasts alike. It allows for a deeper appreciation of airport design and functionality. Whether it’s a linear concourse, a pier concourse, a satellite concourse, or a hybrid model, each type serves its purpose in ensuring smooth and efficient operations within an airport.

Navigating the Concourse to Your Gate

When traveling through an airport, one of the most important things to know is how to navigate the concourse to reach your gate. The concourse is the area of the airport where passengers can find various amenities, such as shops, restaurants, and lounges, as well as their departure gates.

Here are some tips to help you find your way:

Understand Your Terminal and Gate Numbers

Before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with your terminal and gate numbers. These numbers can typically be found on your boarding pass or through the airline’s mobile app.

Knowing this information in advance will save you time and prevent any confusion or last-minute rushing.

Follow Signs to Your Concourse and Gate

Once you arrive at the airport, follow the signs directing you to your concourse and gate. Airports are designed to be easy to navigate, with clear signage throughout the terminals. Look for signs indicating your airline or gate number, and follow the arrows or directions provided.

If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask airport staff for assistance.

Ask for Help from Airport Staff If Needed

If you find yourself feeling lost or unsure of where to go, don’t hesitate to ask for help from airport staff. They are there to assist passengers and can provide you with directions or answer any questions you may have.

Airport staff members are easily recognizable by their uniforms or badges and are usually stationed at information desks or roaming throughout the terminal.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Lastly, it’s crucial to give yourself plenty of time to navigate the concourse and reach your gate. Airports can be busy, especially during peak travel times, and unexpected delays or long security lines can occur.

Arriving early will give you ample time to find your gate, explore the concourse, and complete any necessary airport procedures before your flight.

Remember, navigating the concourse to your gate doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By understanding your terminal and gate numbers, following signs, asking for help when needed, and giving yourself plenty of time, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey through the airport.


Airport concourses are indispensable parts of the airport experience, allowing you to easily get to your departure gate and providing conveniences to make your wait more comfortable. By understanding what a concourse is and what you can find there, you can better navigate these transit halls on your next airport journey.

So next time you’re traveling through the airport and see signs pointing towards concourses A, B, C or beyond, you’ll know exactly what that means and what to expect. Safe travels!

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