These Airports Let Non-Travelers Dine at Their Restaurants

Some airport restaurants are allowing non-travelers beyond security for a taste of their menus.

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people in airport restaurant
Photo: haireena (Shutterstock)

It’s pretty unceremonious to say your goodbyes and dump your loved ones out at the airport departures curb so they can brave the security line by themselves, but hey, those are the rules, and they have been for decades. However, travel publication AFAR recently compiled a list of U.S. airports relaxing that policy by letting non-ticketed guests obtain special passes to hang out past the security area, where they can choose to chill at an airport restaurant, do a little shopping, or linger over a drink at an airport bar.

Airports offering guest passes and dining passes

The newest airport to relax its policies is Orlando International Airport in Florida (MCO), as part of a new offering called the Experience MCO Visitor Pass. You can use the pass to go through security without a boarding pass, which means you can take in the sights and tastes of the terminal without traveling anywhere.


All you have to do is fill out an online application within seven days of your visit, and if it’s approved, you can come in via a designated terminal on the date of your pass, between certain specified hours. (All standard security rules still apply, so don’t bring a plethora of liquids and gels with you.)


AFAR notes that the following airports also have similar programs for visitors (all of which have their own set of specific rules to abide by):

  • Bishop International Airport (Flint, Michigan)
  • Capital Region International Airport (Lansing, Michigan)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport
  • John Wayne Airport (Orange County, California)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
  • Ontario International Airport (California)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Tri-Cities Airport (Pasco, Washington)
  • Tulsa International Airport

As much as I stress out about traveling, there is something weirdly restorative about lingering at an airport bar over a cocktail. The people-watching is always top-notch, and spotting planes taking off just outside the window never gets old. Sure, the prices are marked up, but everyone knows what they’re getting into when they sit down at that airport bar. Well, most of us, at least.