HOUSTON (CBS Houston) On Monday, United Airlines previewed its new Terminal B south concourse at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Houston Mayor Annise Parker as well as other Houston civic and business leaders.

“The new facility will open to limited flight operations over the next two weeks, with the first 15 gates planned to be fully operational by May 1, 2013. The airline will add 15 more gates by the end of the year,” according to officials wit IAH.

The $97-million south concourse is offers travelers a new 225,000-square-foot facility dedicated to United Express regional flights. “At nearly four times the size of the previous south concourse, the new space will provide a better customer experience, featuring modern and expanded gate-lounge areas, 17 food and beverage and retail concessions and a spacious central passenger lounge with expansive tarmac views,” added officials with IAH.

Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer feels the new concourse is key to hassle-free air travel: “Bush Intercontinental’s extensive connecting traffic makes it a premier international gateway and a key hub in United’s network,” said Compton in a statement. “We’ve designed our newest terminal to offer travelers a more customer-friendly airport experience where they can relax in comfort or work with greater ease.”

Compton further stated that Houston’s IAH is the ideal place for the concourse expansion endeavor: “I am proud that the City of Houston and United have continued the decades-long partnership that began withContinental,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “This modern and spacious new terminal is a significant investment in the future of George Bush Intercontinental as a major international hub.”

The new concourse will not only offer familiar favorites, but new concessions will be available to travelers. The new terminal has 15,000 square feet of food and beverage and retail concessions, which is a 500-percent increase in the concession space over the previous facility.

The 17 concessions include eateries that are IAH favorites. Chef Bryan Caswell’s 3rd Bar Oyster & Eating House and The Fruteria, by Chef Johnny Hernandez are but some of the places travelers can enjoy a hearty meal in between flights.

“Familiar favorites such as Famous Famiglia, Fresh Gourmet Marketplace, Panda Express and Starbucks round out the Terminal B south concourse food and beverage options,” added airport officials.

“Travelers in the Terminal B south concourse will also have a variety of shopping options, including The iStore Boutique, travel essentials store, Relay, Brookstone and The Body Shop. Other well-known retail stores include Ice Currency Exchange, Johnston & Murphy, Natalie’s Candy Jar and Nuance Duty Free.”


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