The U.S. Airports Where You Can Go Past Security Without a Ticket
You can enjoy everything these airports offer without having a boarding pass. Here's how.
Even in the inevitable stress that can accompany airline travel, there is something we find soothing about airport terminals. It's like a mall of the sky, where you can sit in an atrium eating a soft pretzel for a spell, a nostalgic throwback for millennials who spent their youth hanging out at the mall.
Airports know the pull of nostalgia (and we guess spending extra time with loved ones as well is a draw), as some locations now offer visitor pass programs so you can head to the terminal without a boarding pass to shop, eat, or (we guess) just hang out?
Now, a new airport has entered the guest pass chat. On November 1, Philadelphia International Airport is launching its new visitor pass program, dubbed the PHL Wingmate Guest Pass. The program, which is free to join, allows people without a ticket to come with you to the gate up until the moment of departure.
"We are pleased to offer this new free amenity for nonticketed guests," PHL Director of Marketing and Branding Megan O'Connell said in a statement. "We receive many inquiries from friends and family members looking to escort a passenger to or from their gate. The Wingmate Guest Pass will help loved ones spend more time with their family members before take-off or create a memorable arrival experience."
Getting a Wingmate Guest Pass is fairly simple. You only have to complete an online application, which you can find right here, one to seven days before your desired visit date. Then, you'll receive an email updating you on your application status, and if approved, you'll also receive a digital Wingmate Pass to enter at PHL’s D/E or A-East security checkpoints.
The Wingmate Guest Pass program will be available every day from 6 am to 10 pm, and guests participating in it will also benefit from exclusive deals at select PHL Food & Shops concessions.
Other airports that offer similar visitor pass programs include:
- Ontario International Airport in Ontario, California (which we wrote about last year)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Washington (the first West Coast airport to offer a visitor pass program back in 2018)
- Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans
- John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California
- Detroit Metro Airport in Detroit
- Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida
In addition to these, Afar recently outlined some smaller airports that also offer similar passes. There are some differences at each location when applying for a visitor pass, so make sure to follow the rules according to each airport’s website.