Culture / Travel

Houston’s Top Chefs Get New Airport Restaurants as United Airlines Tries to Make Flying Tastier

BY // 05.12.16

The airport waiting game is often lengthy and mundane, plagued with terminals defined by shoddy wi-fi connection, a shortage of electrical plugs and subpar dining. But United Airlines is looking to change the status quo at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with a one-of-a-kind terminal upgrade that may actually warrant the suggested two-hour early arrival.

United has partnered with airline eatery company OTG (the two enterprises recently collaborated on a similar project at Newark Airport) for a Terminal B, C and E overhaul, outfitting the spaces with updated technology and an array of new restaurants from some of the city’s most beloved chefs.

“United is pleased to bring this industry-leading airport experience concept to our Houston hub,” said United’s vice president of corporate real estate, Gavin Molloy. “The collaboration with OTG will provide exceptional food, beverage and retail options with the comfort and high-tech amenities that travelers today want.”

For starters, United will install nearly 8,000 iPads throughout its terminals, providing patrons with internet access, duty-free shopping and a quick link to the airline’s featured restaurant menus.

Travelers can also experience United’s farm-to-terminal offerings in the future C North Concourse with five new restaurants headlined by some of Houston’s biggest culinary names: Roland Laurenzo of El Tiempo unveils a unique taqueria; Coltivare’s Ryan Pera riffs on his signature seasonal pizzas for an airport pizzeria; John Nguyen of Cajun Kitchen showcases his international roots with a Vietnamese-Cajun biergarten; chef Monica Pope of the now shuttered Sparrow Bar + Cookshop adds a locally sourced panini bar; and Underbelly’s Chris Shepherd provides his culinary flair with a Houston-centric tavern.

An added bonus — United’s Mileage Plus members can purchase food with miles. That’s right, no currency required. Restaurant employees will also deliver customers’ orders straight to their confirmed gate, making the friendly skies much more appealing.

The project is slated for full completion in 2021.

Home, chic home.

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