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Published: March 17, 2022

Race to the Gate!
Longest and Shortest Airport Walks

From the terminal to the closest and furthest gates, here's how far you can expect to travel in US airports.

It’s travel day, and you’re ready. Your bags are packed, you’ve got your boarding pass and mask, and you’ve even grabbed a head pillow for the plane.

But are you ready for a potential workout on the way to your gate? Many airports involve quite a trek from check in to baggage claim, and as air travel grows, length between gates and terminals may only continue to increase.

So just how far will you have to walk (or wheel) from check in to baggage claim?

The team at KURU Footwear measured the longest and shortest airport terminal walking distances in the US and surveyed 1,000 people to learn air travel experiences, so you can be prepared the next time you lace up your sneakers on travel day.

Making the Gates Feel Closer

For many—especially those unable to walk long distances—the mileage between terminals and gates can feel like a workout at best or become nearly inaccessible at worst.

For example, the #1 longest walk in our study clocks in at an ambitious 2.16 miles at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, whereas the #1 shortest walk in our study comes in at a brisk 0.11 miles at Blue Grass Airport in Kentucky.

To help solve their sometimes limiting distances, many airports offer concourse trains, moving walkways, or wheelchairs for easier access. Before your next trip, we recommend reaching out to each airport you’ll visit if you or a loved one might benefit from assistance.

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Top 3: Routes of Longest Airport Walks

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
(2.16 miles)

Washington Dulles International Airport
(1.62 miles)

George Bush Intercontinental Airport
(1.52 miles)

Top 3: Routes of Shortest Airport Walks

Blue Grass airport
(0.11 miles)

Westchester County Airport
(0.12 miles)

Harrisburg International Airport
(0.13 miles)

Methodology

To find this data, the team at KURU Footwear first measured the top 10 largest and smallest airports by land area in the US. We then analyzed airport maps and Google Maps to determine the length of the journey from each terminal to the nearest and farthest gates.

Finally, we surveyed 1,000 Americans to learn more about their air travel habits and experiences. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4% and a confidence level of 95%.

Air Travel Interesting Findings

Our survey of air passenger travel habits provides some insight into your sole-searching questions, including air travel frequency, average time walking at the airport, and which shoes travelers wear most through airport security.

  • The majority (63%) of travelers arrive at the airport 1–2 hours before departure. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 (~11%) of travelers arrive 50 minutes ahead of time.
  • 1 in 3 (30%) of Americans say they never fly! The next most frequent answer (27%) was “a few times a year” followed by (23%) using air travel once per year.
  • The most common shoe worn to airports? For 41% of air travelers, a sneaker or casual shoe was their footwear of choice.
  • The majority (55%) of air travelers say they spend 1 hour or more walking around the airport.
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of travelers said that longer walks to the gates of smaller airlines would not prevent them from flying with them.

Airport Navigation Tips

As we dig in, let’s unpack a few tips to keep in mind for your next air travel journey:

  • Plan Your Bathroom Breaks. Often the closet restrooms to a busy terminal involve equally busy wait times. However, most airports don’t go long between restrooms, so if you are able to wait an extra couple minutes, try traveling to the next restroom down. You might just save yourself a line.
  • Schedule Assistance Ahead of Time. If you or a loved one would benefit from an escort between terminals or wheelchair service, call the airport before your travel day to arrange assistance. Many airports offer accessibility services, and scheduling it ahead of time will help prevent difficulties or potential shortages on travel day.
  • Save Time at Security. Being prepared for a few things at security can save yourself time and hassle. Keep your tablets and computers accessible to place them in their own bin, use 3oz bottles for liquids and store them in a separate clear bag, wear socks since you’ll likely have to shed your shoes, and keep your ID and boarding pass ready.
  • Follow Signs at Every Turn. At the airport, it’s all about looking up. Most airports provide signage about terminal locations and baggage claim above your head, and offer departure and arrival information on screens near busy gates. Stay alert and focused as you travel between terminals to avoid a wrong turn.
  • Keep Essentials Easy to Access. Most airlines allow just two items on board, including a personal item, such as a purse or backpack. Make it easy on yourself by stowing must-have essentials—including your phone, wallet, passport, medications, water, snacks, earbuds, small blanket, and reading material—in your personal item and store the rest in an overhead compartment. It’ll save room for your feet and reduce in-flight luggage rifling.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of walking you’ll do on travel day, especially when you’re focused on getting to your flight on time. But it’s common to clock in a mile or two at the airport, so supportive shoes will help your journey remain a little less painful.

About Us

We are driven to design and develop footwear that performs at the highest level while empowering you to get out and go chase your dreams. Since the launch of our direct-to-consumer model in 2008, thousands have experienced the unique style, superior support, and unimaginable comfort of KURU.

Please direct all media inquiries to pr@kurufootwear.com.