Airport to work in: IAH or EWR?
August 23, 2017 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Which airport is more comfortable to spend a full day working in airside: IAH or EWR? Flying United. Both are the same fare. Looking for a good place to sit down with power plugs that has a table or desk-like space so I don't have to prop my laptop on my actual lap.

I have a mi-fi so wi-fi is not an issue.

I am about to book flights with workday-length layovers ... if I have to fly during buisness hours, I prefer to work remotely in an airport all day instead of on a plane, so as not to eat my paid time off.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
 
I recommend EWR. I've always found IAH to be more chaotic.
posted by Libelula y colibri at 9:21 AM on August 23, 2017


You didn't mention frequent flyer status - an airport lounge is likely your best bet for a comfortable solution. IAH or EWR are likely equivalent in that regard for United. I think a day pass is something like $30 if you don't have status...
posted by NoDef at 9:33 AM on August 23, 2017


No status. I do have 2 United club passes attached to a credit card I have not used yet. (I had ideas I might spend them on someone else, but there's no one else right now...)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 10:00 AM on August 23, 2017


I would normally bias toward EWR, because IAH is always nuts. But I've found the food options to be far better at IAH. Honestly neither airport really have great spaces for working and your best bet will be a lounge--if so, IAH might win out for me.
posted by danny the boy at 10:26 AM on August 23, 2017


Belay that, I am an idiot, I got the Houston code mixed up for Chicago... more coffee.
posted by danny the boy at 10:31 AM on August 23, 2017


If you're working all day and want a desk, I think you should use a pass or pay for the United Club. IAH's terminal E club is pretty ok. Much better than EWR.
posted by inevitability at 10:33 AM on August 23, 2017


IIRC, the IAH United Club options are fairly decent for a domestic airline (check FlyerTalk, they'll have info on the best one). If you want to work, definitely use one of those passes.
posted by praemunire at 10:55 AM on August 23, 2017


I spend a lot of time in United Clubs, and my opinion is that the IAH clubs are a lot nicer than EWR. That's the clear choice to me if you're willing to use your passes (and for an entire day, I think you'd be crazy not to).

(And just for the record, frequent flyer status does not help you with domestic lounge access. You need to buy your way in, either via membership, day pass, or credit card. Or if you have passes as the OP does).
posted by primethyme at 11:09 AM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


And just for the record, frequent flyer status does not help you with domestic lounge access

*dramatic pause* Actually...

If you have frequent-flyer status on an international airline that is in an alliance with a domestic airline, and you'd have access to the international airline lounges based on a certain status (often the case), you'll have access to the domestic airline lounges, too. I used to be BA Silver and that got me into the AA domestic lounges regardless of fare class.
posted by praemunire at 11:28 AM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just FYI, if you have gold frequent flier status on United and are connecting on an international flight, you can use a domestic lounge for free. (As opposed to domestic to domestic connections where you can't use the lounges.
posted by mercredi at 11:37 AM on August 23, 2017


First, go with IAH if you're flying in the winter. The less time you spend in the north east, the less likely you are to suffer from weather issues.

But 100% use the lounge pass. You can get away from the TVs and the noise, and eat and drink for free (take some ones to tip the bartender if you plan to drink alcohol). I wrote a chapter of my PhD thesis in the business center of an American lounge during a day long layover.

I'll let others speak to the relative merits of the lounges at EWR and IAH, but I doubt there's much to choose between them. Like the lounges of all US airlines, United's are pretty terrible by international standards, but they're light years ahead of the rest of any large US airport.

If for some reason you don't want to use the pass, my vote is for IAH even if you're not concerned about weather. EWR installed touch screens for ordering at pretty much all seats with tables in the United terminal. Apparently some people prefer being bombarded with visual noise and advertising in a futuristic hellscape, but personally it's not my cup of tea. Also the food options are better at IAH.

But seriously: use the passes. If you're worried about using both, just buy more on eBay (they are widely available thanks to precisely the credit card you have) or you can pay $59 on the door for one time access.
posted by caek at 1:53 PM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Seconding that $30 will be well spent anyway, because the club will provide food, beverages, and snacks. Go to the club.
posted by Night_owl at 3:01 PM on August 23, 2017


(Good points on lounge access involving international flights. I fly almost exclusively domestic [sigh], so I forgot about that. I stand corrected!)
posted by primethyme at 4:43 PM on August 23, 2017


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