Airports used to be set up to allow families and loved ones to gather around an arriving gate to surprise a passenger getting off their flight, but with heightened security measures, this ritual has become a thing of the past.
There are currently three airports that are hosting a sort of blast from the past by allowing family and friends to purchase visitor passes to the airport so that they can have access to the airside beyond security checkpoints.
Visitors and those wanting to meet their loved ones at an arriving gate should keep in mind that every individual planning to purchase a pass should be prepared to pass through security just as they would if they were getting on a plane. No restricted items, including beverages and other liquids, are not permitted through security checkpoints at any time.
Detroit Metro Airport
Visitors can apply for their pass online but may only do so the day before they plan to meet their loved one at their arriving gate. Passes may only be obtained from Tuesdays to Sundays between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm and are limited to 75 issuances a day.
Pittsburgh International Airport
Those wanting to meet their friends at a gate should head to the third floor and find the MyPITpass ticket counter in the landside terminal. Pittsburgh issues passes every Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm; parties who have more than 15 people attending should call ahead.
Tampa International Airport
Tampa only permits 25 guest passes on Saturdays, so any parties who want to meet their loved ones at an arriving gate in Tampa request their passes 24 hours in advance. Guests can use their pass for the Tampa International Airport between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm on the day it was obtained.
Passengers and their loved ones are equally excited about the changes happening in these three airports. There are a few other airports around the country that have considered the idea of implementing airport passes, so if the program is successful enough in the above cities, there may be more to follow suit in a few years.