Are Airports Open 24/7?

When planning a trip that involves multiple means of transport, you need to organize your time accordingly and work out the opening hours of stations and airports.

If you are planning to arrive early at the airport, or book a train or bus ticket to the airport, you will need to know whether the airport will be open, so you do not have to wait outside.

So, are there airports that are open 24/7, and which are they? 

Generally, there are a lot of airports that operate 24/7, not only in the USA but also around the world. Larger airports in the US, like JFK, LAX, and IAD operate 24 hours a day, meaning that they do not have a closing time. However, a lot of regional airports are open from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m.

In this article, I will discuss the policies of the airports in the USA and their working hours.

If you would like to inform yourself about airports that work 24/7, as well as, the closing time of the ones that do not, then you have come to the right place.

Here, I will give you the general guidelines of airports, so you know what to expect, and how to organize your travel time.

Are Airports Open All Night? 

Many airports around the world are open throughout the whole night, especially the ones that are the busiest and the biggest.

Therefore, in the USA, airports such as JFK, LAX, and IAD, are open all night, so you can go and catch a flight at any time of the day. However, most regional airports in the US do not operate 24 hours a day, meaning that they do have opening and closing times. 

  • Nonetheless, that does not mean that airports are fully closed when they do not accept passengers.

There is still a lot going on at the airports, even though there are no commercial flights on the schedule. For instance, there are a lot of people for emergencies, security, law enforcement, air traffic controllers, and so on. 

In addition to the airport staff, there are also passengers who missed their flights, or flights that were canceled due to various reasons.

These passengers often have options to stay at the airport until morning, i.e. until their flight is announced. Now, you may ask what are the reasons for closing the airports during the night. 

In fact, there are several reasons, and the main one is that airplanes can be loud, and can disturb people who live close by. Therefore, some cities have decided that this needs to be regulated, so they opted for closing the airports during the nighttime.

While this may not be the case for main and big airports, smaller and regional airports have this regulation, i.e. they do not have flights at night. 

Another reason for airports not working past midnight is the lack of demand.

Generally, if people have options to choose between day flight and night flight, they would probably choose the first option. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night to catch a plane unless there is no other solution, or the flight is way cheaper. 

  • When you are flying during the day, it is easier to find transportation to the airport, and it is way convenient to arrive in another place during the day.

So, people choose to be more practical rather than choosing a cheap flight during the night for several bucks less. There are however people that love a night flight to see the views as shown in this YouTube video!

However, you might still see some planes getting ready to fly somewhere. Usually, these are cargo planes that are preparing to transport loads of cargo to a different country.

The nighttime is a more convenient period of the day to do this, and the cargo gets unloaded even before airports start with their working hours.

When Do Airports Close? 

Usually, regional airports and those found in the urban areas close around midnight or 1 a.m. This is the rule for most airports in the US, even though some of them have different rules about the closing time.

  • For instance, when some airports close you cannot enter any area inside of the building, meaning that if you arrive late, or you have missed your flight, you will need to stay outside. 

On the other hand, there are airports that keep their front areas of the building open along with some of the cafes.

So, even if you cannot get to your terminal, you can wander around the coffee shops and bars at the airport that are still open. However, at some airports, you can stay inside of the building, but you cannot buy any food or drink since the cafes and bars close at the same time when the airport does. 

  • If you are concerned about leaving early for the airport and being forced to stay outside, you need to check whether the airport has regular working hours, or if it works 24/7.

When it comes to busy airports, you can expect that they do not close, but for the airports in the urban areas, you will need to check their working hours.