Albany International Airport (ALB)
Serving the Capital Region, Northeastern New York & Western New England
Albany International Airport is the major air center for Albany and the Capital Region, and it has grown considerably over the years to meet the increasing needs of travelers, comprised of 11 counties, 13 cities, and 143 towns. It holds the distinction of being the oldest municipal airport in the U.S.
Currently, the airport handles arrivals and departures for several commercial airlines including Delta, Southwest, United, jetBlue, and Frontier. A $104.6 million project, which began in the fall of 2018, is underway to update and modernize the airport. In addition to renovated escalators, restrooms, waiting areas, and food courts, a new 1,000-car parking garage will provide travelers with 20 percent more parking spaces. The parking garage will be connected to the terminal by a pedestrian bridge. The airport will also undergo technological improvements, adding solar panels, better internet service, and energy-efficient lighting.
As of January 31, 2020, new concessions have opened at the airport and new escalators are operational in the ticketing area and under construction in the existing parking garage. Construction of the new parking garage is expected to be finished in March 2020.
Also part of the improvement project is the long anticipated Exit 3 off the Northway (I-87). The new exit will take drivers directly to the airport, bypassing extra traffic lights, improving travel time, and reducing congestion. Construction began in the fall of 2018, and Exit 3 officially opened in October 2019.
Past expansions at the airport added a much anticipated new terminal in 1998 to accommodate Southwest Airlines, known for their competitively priced airline fares. In 1999 a new parking garage was added, accommodating 1,600 parking spaces, with an 800-car addition added in 2001. The garage links directly to the terminal through a heated pedestrian bridge -- a particularly useful feature during the region's long and chilly winters. Other additions expanded the TSA checkpoints to increase passenger queueing, and increased the number of available concessions.
In addition to commercial airlines, Albany International Aiport also handles arrivals and departures for corporate and private charter company Million Air, and is the home base for two flying clubs.
Tips on Flying In & Out of Albany Airport
General advice is to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to flight departure. The amount of time it can take to move through the security checkpoint can vary greatly. Allow more time for early morning flights and typically heavy travel periods, such as holidays. The airport does offer a TSA pre-check line for eligible participants.
Note also that Albany Airport uses body scanners; there are currently three millimeter wave scanners in use. You can choose a pat down instead of going through the scanner if you prefer, but plan ahead and factor that in to how much time you will need to pass through the security checkpoint.
Currently, curb-side skycap service is only available for Delta. Though the airport is open 24 hours a day, the skycaps are not. Currently, Delta's skycap service is typically available from 4:30 am to 8:30 am and from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, but call ahead to confirm.
Flight arrivals and departures can be checked here or by phone at 518 242-AFLY.
Albany Airport offers both short-term and long-term parking, as well as an Economy E-lot which takes you to and from the airport by shuttle, 24-hours a day. All the airport lots accept EZ-Pass Plus. The very rear E-lot is automated, so be sure to have a credit card or an EZ Pass available in case that is your only parking option.
Drive an electric car? There are six charging stations available at the airport. You'll find them in the parking garage on the second floor facing the terminal, and in the ground level of long-term parking, by the 'Parking Revenue Control Building'.
In addition to airport parking, there is off-airport parking available through Albany Park Ride and Fly, which you can pre-book. And, many of the local hotels offer park, sleep and fly packages - especially useful for those with early morning flights and/or longer drives.
Food, Beverage & Other Concessions
There are food and drink concessions located in each concourse and in the food court, with varying hours of operation. In addition to nationally-recognized brands such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, you will also find regional options, including Adirondack Lodge, The Albany Empire Deli, and Saratoga Silks Bistro.
DepARTure, the Museum Shop, opened in 2000 and is a unique retail concession that is definitely worth a visit. You'll find hand-crafted gifts, artwork and historic materials from more than 60 museums and cultural attractions located throughout the Capital Region. Purchases from DepARTure help support local artists and participating musuems, with over $1.5 million in revenue raised to date.
Places to Stay Near the Airport
You can't stay much closer to the airport than The Desmond, which is just over a mile away (by car or their complimentary 24/7 shuttle). The Desmond has been in business for almost 50 years and is regarded as one of the best hotels in Albany, with its unique indoor courtyard and two on-site restaurants.
Just under 2 miles away, Albany Marriott is perfect if you're looking to explore all of the shopping and dining options along Wolf Road. The hotel also has its own restaurants, spacious rooms, and an airport shuttle service.
La Quinta Inn & Suites Albany Airport is less than 5 miles away in Latham, and well worth the short drive. This newly-renovated hotel offers close proximity to a hub of stores and restaurants, a free breakfast, and a free shuttle service.