The Essentials

Airports That Allow Non-Travelers at the Gates

It’s a dilemma many parents have — being able to accompany family members to the airport gate for a final hug before they board or meet them at the gate when they return from a flight.

Most airports don’t allow this. For security reasons, you need to have a boarding pass. But there are now a number of U.S. airports that will let you go to the gate.


At Orange County’s John Wayne Airport in California, you check in at the information booth with a valid government issued I.D. and get approved.


In Detroit, up to 75 folks a day who are not traveling can get to the gate. It’s first come, first served. You just need to fill out an online form the day before your loved one’s flight.

The Seattle airport has been allowing non-travelers to get to the gates since 2018. And New Orleans has been running a similar program since 2019. Again, you have to apply online ahead of time.