Major and Regional Commercial Airports in Tennessee

Innovative programs welcome travelers to the state

Nashville Airport

 Mx. Granger/Wikimedia COmmons 

From high-volume Nashville to low-key Tri-Cities, commercial airports in Tennessee share a common mission to make the travel experience enjoyable. So it's no wonder that in "The Volunteer State," Tennesseans enthusiastically welcome visitors through local airport ambassador programs.

Travelers arriving through Nashville get treated to live music, while passengers at Chattanooga airport experience the world's first LEED Platinum terminal. All of the state's major airports provide convenient access to downtown areas and top tourist destinations.

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    At the busiest of Tennessee's airports, 16 airlines operate 520 daily arriving and departing flights for more than 14 million passengers a year. With the addition of a British Airways nonstop flight to London in May of 2018, Nashville became an international airport again after more than two decades.

    Ground transportation options run the usual gamut from rental cars to taxis and limo services to ride-shares with Lyft or Uber. Many downtown hotels offer complimentary shuttle service, and both private and public buses transport passengers as well.

    The airport is located about 20 minutes from downtown Nashville, and 15 minutes from Opryland. Taxis run from the airport to each area on a flat fee.

    The airport's concessions program gives visitors a taste of Nashville right at the airport, with many long-time Music City favorites represented. Unlike at many airports, of-age travelers can enjoy an adult beverage anywhere in the secure terminal areas instead of being confined to the bars. There is free Wi-Fi available throughout the airport.

    Look for the Flying Aces in bright red vests or blazers if you have a question while traveling through the airport. This group of volunteers is deployed throughout the terminals on a daily basis to assist passengers.

    Fitting its host city's nickname, Nashville International Airport greets visitors with art and music through the innovative Arts at the Airport program. Live music performances take place at six locations around the terminals, with more than 700 performances across music genres each year. Rotating visual art exhibits join permanent collections for easy viewing of works by some of the state's most acclaimed artists.

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    Located just 9 miles from downtown Memphis, the Memphis International Airport sees about 140,000 travelers each month. Air Canada, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Southwest, United, and Vacation Express all operate flights into and out of the Memphis airport.

    Travelers departing from Memphis find plenty of parking in the easily-accessible economy and long-term lots, with charging stations for electric vehicles and designated spaces for oversize RVs, trailers, and large vans.

    Arriving travelers can pick up rental cars from any of the major car rental agencies at the Ground Transportation Center, or hire a taxi or limo service outside of the Concourse B baggage claim area. Ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft meet passengers outside of the A, B, and C ticketing lobby exits on the outer commercial drive. Some hotels offer complimentary shuttles for guests, and you can also take a public bus into downtown Memphis.

    The airport's Blue Suede Service is a volunteer group of local retirees who answer passenger questions regarding gates, directions to baggage claim and ground transportation, restroom locations, types of restaurants, etc. You can easily spot them in their navy blue vests, white shirts, and khaki pants. Look for the clipboard with the Blue Suede Service logo.

    You can get something to eat at the Memphis airport beginning at 5 a.m. with a variety of fast-casual and bar and grill-style restaurants serving sit-down and to-go meals throughout the day. You can also access free Wi-Fi throughout the terminals.

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    McGhee Tyson Airport serves the Knoxville metro area from approximately 12 miles south of the city in the town of Alcoa. Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, and United operate flights year-round, with Frontier Airlines adding seasonal routes during the summer. With 130 daily flights, about 20 of which are nonstop, the airport accommodates nearly 2 million passengers a year.

    Several chain restaurants provide travelers with a choice of full-service dining or grab-and-go meals, while two marketplace-style stores sell snacks, beverages, and travel sundries. The airport provides free Wi-Fi.

    The long-term lot has covered parking spaces, but the airport does not operate shuttles to the terminal, which is about a 10- to 15-minute walk away.

    Arriving passengers can rent a car; utilize rideshare services; or hire a taxi, limo, or private shuttle to downtown. Some hotels near the airport provide complimentary guest shuttles.

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    About a 10-mile drive west of downtown Chattanooga, this small airport, also known as Lovell Field, offers nonstop flights to and from a handful of destinations on the eastern half of the U.S.

    One restaurant beyond the security checkpoint serves breakfast until 10:30 a.m., followed by a robust menu of burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and Mexican dishes. You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal.

    There is both short-term and long-term parking in close proximity to the terminal, with a charging station for electric vehicles. Many of the major car rental agencies operate desks at the airport, and ground transportation options include the ride-share companies as well as the usual taxis, limo services, and shuttle buses.

    The airport's terminal was the first in the world to earn a LEED Platinum rating, and an on-site solar farm provides about 85 percent of the airport's energy requirements. The Airport Authority intends for the facility to eventually be energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral.

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    Tri-Cities Airport, located 3 miles off Interstate 81 at exit 63 in Blountville, serves several counties in northeastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, and southeastern Kentucky.

    Tri-Cities Airport offers nonstop service to four hubs, meaning that with just one connection, you can get to many places throughout the U.S. and even around the world from this small airport. There are both long- and short-term parking lots located directly across from the terminal, and the major car rental companies operate desks in the arrivals area. A free cell-phone waiting lot makes it easy to meet someone on an incoming flight.

    One combination restaurant, bar, and gift shop remains open from the earliest departure until the last incoming flight of the day lands. The business center inside the security checkpoint provides travelers with a birds-eye view of the terminal, and a quiet and comfortable place to get some work done while waiting for a flight.