St. Louis Lambert International Airport Guide

St. Louis Lambert International Airport

 Courtesy of St. Louis Lambert International Airport

St. Louis Lambert International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Missouri with over 15 million passengers traveling through the airport in 2018. Lambert International Airport is the go-to airport for most people in St. Louis and eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and the surrounding areas, and it is the largest American airport classed as a medium-sized primary airline hub.

The airport as people know it today was completed in 1956 at the direction of architect Minoru Yamasaki. Despite containing two terminals the airport is not as big as one might expect of an international airport. That’s because it’s not really an international airport anymore.

Back when Lambert was a hub for Trans World Airlines, it was common to catch non-stop flights abroad out of St. Louis; after American Airlines absorbed TWA, transatlantic flights stopped by 2003. Now, despite still being called an international airport, it serves as a step-down from major hubs like Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Chicago.

Know Before You Go

The airport has undergone extensive renovations in the past 10 years, which has modernized the airport and its offerings to passengers. It has two separate terminals: Terminal 1 has four concourses, two of which (Concourses B and D) are currently vacant. Terminal 1 has an American Airlines Admirals Club.

  • Concourse A holds Air Canada Express, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Volaris, a charter company.
  • Concourse C holds Air Choice One, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cape Air, Contour Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.

Terminal 2 is almost solely dedicated to Southwest departures and arrivals; Southwest is the airport’s most active airline.

There is a free, 24-hour shuttle between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, operating out of each terminals’ Exit 12 in approximately 10-minute intervals.

The airport itself is not as busy as Chicago O’Hare, for instance, but it’s still recommended that you arrive two hours before boarding for domestic flights, just like at any airport.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport Parking

Parking is ample at Lambert International Airport and is open 24 hours a day every day of the year. There are seven secure, affordable parking options and each terminal has an attached garage and surface lots within walking distance. For long-term parking, there are several lots that are just minutes away by shuttle.

The airport also offers cell phone lots, which allows vehicles picking up passengers to wait in a separate area so as not to clog the arrivals area. When passengers are ready to be picked up, they can call and the driver is close enough to arrive in minutes.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport is located just off Interstate 70, 14 miles northwest of downtown St. Louis. There is a north/south connection to Interstate 170 east of the airport and a north/south connection at Interstate 270 to the west.

You can get to the airport by St. Louis Metrolink’s Red Line, which stops at both terminals. You can also ride the Metrolink to downtown St. Louis, Clayton, and Illinois suburbs. Alternatively, two MetroBus lines go to the Lambert Bus Port, which is near Terminal 1.

There is a taxi stand outside each terminal exit, as well as a spot for ride-sharing services to drop off and pick up passengers.

To rent a car, you can choose from companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty Car Rental; each company has a free shuttle service that will take you to and from the airport.

Where to Eat and Drink

Each terminal has several fantastic dining options.

Terminal 1

Before you even go through security—or for people meeting you at the airport—there are several casual options. For coffee, baked goods, and quick sandwiches, choose Brioche Dorée, The Great American Bagel Company, or Starbucks. For heavier fare, local favorite The Pasta House Co. has Italian food and a full bar, while Heavenly Hot Dogs offers hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels.

At Terminal 1’s A Gates, you can find another Starbucks and a Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins combination for grab-and-go convenience. For a sit-down experience, try the Budweiser Brew House for a casual menu with plenty of beers, Grounded in St. Louis for gourmet burgers and milkshakes, or Pizza Studio for crafted pizza. Try Mike Shannon’s grill for a semi-casual restaurant with options including sandwiches and steaks. Alternatively, if you’re thirsty, Vino Volo is an excellent wine bar with a rewards program!

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is smaller, but manages to pack a lot into a few gates. Before and after security, you’ll have access to Starbucks, but past security your options really open up.

For casual food on the go, try Great Wraps Grill or La Tapenade. If you need to sit down and unwind, try local brewery Schafly’s restaurant with a full bar, craft beers, burgers, and more. Eighteen 76 is a Budweiser property with a full bar and fun menu; The Pasta House Co. and Schafly teamed up in Terminal 2 for Italian food and local beers. You can also try the St. Louis Brewmasters Tap Room for other locally made brews and burgers or Three Kings Public House, a St. Louis standby for gourmet pub food.

To quench your thirst, head to the Stella Artois bar or Vino Volo.

Where to Shop

There are several Hudson locations in both terminal where you can pick up magazines, snacks, books, electronics, and toiletries. Each terminal also has their own Natalie’s Candy Jar for sweet treats.

In Terminal 1, find St. Louis souvenirs at Discover St. Louis or pick up last-minute tech accessories, like headphones and chargers at Tech on the Go. Ebony News carries Ebony-branded products, while Eddie Bauer and Luxe offer high-quality items and gifts for friends and family.

Terminal 2 carries St. Louis sports apparel at St. Louis Sports, toys and games for the kids at Kids Works, and CNN-branded products, newspapers, and magazines at the CNN Newsstand.

How to Spend Your Layover

Because the airport is not particularly close to the actual city of St. Louis, unless you have an especially long layover, you may not want to leave the airport. However, inside the airport you have a few options:

  • The Children’s Play Port, designed by St. Louis children’s museum The Magic House, is in Terminal 1 and features a transportation-themed playground so kids can pretend they’re flying an airplane, working in air traffic control, or driving a MetroLink train.
  • Religious services are available at the Airport Interfaith Chapel. In Terminal 1, Catholic Mass is held Monday through Friday at noon and 4:30 pm on Saturday and Protestant services on Sunday at 10 and 11 am. Prayer rugs for those who practice Islam are also available.
  • There are several shoeshine stations throughout the airport.

Airport Lounges

There are just three lounges at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Terminal 1 holds American Airlines’ exclusive Admiral Club, which offers complimentary Wifi, television, food and drink, and professional workstations. You can access the lounge if you are a member of the Admirals Club or you can pay a fee at the door.

In Terminal 2, you’ll find Wingtips, a common-use public airport lounge that offers food, drinks, Wifi, private restrooms, and comfortable furniture to any passenger regardless of airline, all for under $40 for four hours.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport also features one of the largest USO facilities in the country in Terminal 1, which is open 24 hours a day. They also have a satellite lounge in Terminal 2. The USO serves military visitors with ID and offers rest and sleep areas, complimentary snacks and drinks, a nursery and playroom for children, television and video games, and Wifi all for free.

Wi-Fi and Charging Stations

St. Louis Lambert International Airport offers one hour of free Wi-Fi per day through Boingo; additional Wi-Fi time is available for purchase. There are no dedicated charging stations but free outlets are available for use throughout both terminals on the walls and between the seats at some gates.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport Tips and Tidbits

  • The building design inspired the design of terminals at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • It was the first airport with an air traffic control system in the late 1920s, when it was still called Lambert Field.
  • A Monocoupe 110 Special aircraft that was manufactured in St. Louis in 1931 hangs in Terminal 2’s ticketing hall.
  • There are indoor and outdoor gated pet relief areas.
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