Data Reveals the Longest and Shortest US Airport Walks

Here’s how much walking you’ll do from check-in to the closest and furthest gates in US airports

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By: KURU Footwear
This year, airline travel is expected to increase in record numbers. For spring break alone, TSA is expecting a 6% increase in travelers compared to last year. And what about summer?

Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer, is one of the busiest times to travel. Fridays in the summer and July 3–4 also bring the highest airline fares and the biggest airport crowds.

But expensive flights and large crowds are only two factors to consider.

Are you ready for a potential workout on the way to your gate? Many airports involve quite a trek from check-in to boarding, and as air travel continues to grow and hit record numbers as it did in 2023, the length between gates and terminals may only continue to increase.

So just how far will you have to walk (or wheel) from check-in to your gate?

The team at KURU Footwear measured the longest and shortest airport terminal walking distances in the US and surveyed 800 people to learn about air travel experiences so you can be prepared the next time you lace up your sneakers on travel day.

Foot Traffic Findings

For many—especially those unable to walk long distances—the mileage between terminals and gates can feel like a workout at best or become nearly inaccessible at worst.

For example, the #1 longest walk in our study clocks in at an ambitious 2.16 miles at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, whereas the #1 shortest walk comes in at a brisk 0.11 miles at Blue Grass Airport in Kentucky.

Airport megahubs with the most global connecting flights, such as JFK Airport or George Bush Intercontinental, require some of the longest walks as well.

To help solve a long walking distance, many airports offer concourse trains, moving walkways, or wheelchairs for easier access. Before your next trip, we recommend contacting each airport you’ll visit if you or a loved one might benefit from assistance.

Top 3: Routes of Longest Airport Walks

1. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) – Dallas, Texas

  • Walking distance: 2.16 miles
  • Land size: Approximately 17,207 acres
  • 182 gates

2. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) – Dulles, Virginia

  • Walking distance: 1.62 miles
  • Land size: Approximately 12,000 acres
  • 123 gates

3. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) – Houston, Texas

  • Walking distance: 1.52 miles
  • Land size: Approximately 11,413 acres
  • 130 gates

Top 3: Routes of Shortest Airport Walks

1. Blue Grass Airport (LEX) – Lexington, Kentucky

  • Walking distance: 0.11 miles
  • Land size: Approximately 911 acres
  • 1 Terminal with 16 gates

2. Westchester County Airport (HPN) – White Plains, New York

  • Walking distance: 0.12 miles
  • Land size: Approximately 702 acres
  • 1 terminal with 6 gates

3. Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

  • Walking distance: 0.13 miles
  • Land size: Approximately 680 acres
  • 1 terminal, 12 gates

Interesting Air Travel Facts

Our survey of air passenger travel habits provides some insight into air travel frequency, average time walking at the airport, and which shoes travelers wear most through airport security.

  • 58% of Americans plan to travel by air in 2024 while 28% are unsure or don’t know yet. 14% have no plans to travel by air this year.
  • Americans travel with varying frequencies throughout the year. Our survey found that 3% travel once a week, 7% travel once a month, 8% travel a few times a month, 33% travel a few times a year, 26% travel once a year, and 23% never travel.
  • The top reasons why Americans travel include vacation, which accounts for 43% of travel, followed by visiting family, which represents 21% of travel, and business or work-related trips, making up 17% of travel.
  • When Americans arrive at the airport:
    • 27% arrive more than 2 hours before their flight
    • 34% arrive about 2 hours before
    • 20% arrive one hour before their flight departs
    • 4% arrive 50 minutes before
  • 35% of Americans spend less than an hour walking around the airport before their flight, while 33% spend an hour.
  • The most popular forms of transportation to and from the airport include traveling by private car, which accounts for 36% of journeys, followed by rideshare services at 16%. Additionally, rental cars and situations where the mode of transport depends on various factors both represent 9% of travel, while taxis make up 7% of transportation choices.
  • Only 40% of Americans are annoyed by a long walk to an airport departure gate.
  • Only 27% are deterred from flying out of a particular airport because it’s such a long walk through the airport.
  • When an airport is under construction, almost half of travelers—49%—feel frustrated by it.
  • 41% have specifically booked travel out of a smaller airport for convenience.
  • 36% of Americans prefer to fly out of large airports, 19% prefer small airports, but most (45%) don’t care about airport size and just fly out of whichever airport is most convenient.
  • Most Americans (66%) wear sneakers when traveling.
  • A whopping 74% of Americans feel they walk more when traveling.
  • Almost half of Americans (46%) say their feet usually hurt from increased walking after a vacation/trip.

Airport Navigation Tips

As we get started, let’s unpack some helpful tips to keep in mind for your flight:

  • Plan Your Bathroom Breaks. Often the closest restrooms to a busy terminal involve equally busy wait times. However, most airports don’t go long between restrooms, so if you are able to wait a few extra minutes, try traveling to the next restroom down. You might just save yourself a line.
  • Schedule Assistance Ahead of Time. If you or a loved one would benefit from an escort between terminals or wheelchair service, call the airport before your travel day to arrange assistance. Many airports offer accessibility services, and scheduling it ahead of time will help prevent difficulties or potential shortages on travel day.
  • Save Time at Security. Being prepared for a few things at security can save you time and hassle. Keep your tablets and computers accessible so they can be easily placed in their own bin, use 3-ounce bottles for liquids and store them in a clear quart-sized bag, wear socks since you’ll likely have to remove your shoes, and keep your ID and boarding pass ready.
  • Follow Signs at Every Turn. At the airport, it’s all about looking up. Most airports provide signage about terminal locations and baggage claim above your head and offer departure and arrival information on screens near busy gates. Stay alert and focused as you travel between terminals to avoid a wrong turn.
  • Keep Essentials Easy to Access. Most airlines allow just two items on board, including a personal item, such as a purse or backpack. Make it easy on yourself by stowing must-have essentials—including your phone, wallet, passport, medications, water, snacks, earbuds, small blanket, and reading material—in your personal item and store the rest in an overhead compartment. It’ll save legroom and you’ll be able to quickly find what you need.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of walking you’ll do on travel day, especially when you’re focused on getting to your airport gate on time. If you have a layover, you’re also likely to do additional walking to pass the time. In general, it’s common to walk a mile or two at the airport, so supportive shoes will help your journey be a little less painful.


To find this data, the team at KURU Footwear first measured the top 10 largest and smallest airports by land area in the US. We then analyzed airport maps and Google Maps to determine the length of the journey from each terminal to the nearest and farthest gates.

We also surveyed 800 Americans in February 2024 to learn more about their air travel habits and experiences. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3% and a confidence level of 95%.

About Us

At KURU, we’re on a mission to help you Heel Better™ with footwear technology designed to relieve foot pain, so you can live a life you love. Since launching our innovative technology in 2008, we’ve received more than 32,000 five-star reviews from thousands of customers who tell us their KURU shoes helped them with conditions (such as plantar fasciitis) and got them back to doing what they love.