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Monterey Regional Airport adds an outdoor courtyard

August 21 2022
4 min read
Monterey Bay
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Outdoor observation decks, patios, courtyards, gardens, open spaces — whatever you call them, outdoor decks were once a common airport amenity.

They offered travelers a chance to get fresh air and great views before or after a long flight.

Many outdoor spaces at airports have been closed over the years due to security concerns and the repurposing of terminal space. Still, there are some left, and slowly but surely, new ones are being created.

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Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) — which sits near Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove and Carmel-by-the-Sea on California’s central coast — is the latest airport to offer passengers an outdoor space to enjoy while waiting for a flight.

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(Photo courtesy of Monterey Regional Airport)

The airport's new outdoor courtyard is post-security, by Gate 1. It offers comfortable seating and impressive views of runway activities and the surrounding area, including Monterey Bay. As a bonus, the space is also home to a pet relief area, complete with faux fire hydrant, fake grass and oversize, decorative dog bones.

“Very few airports offer the opportunity to enjoy outdoor seating past security,” Michael La Pier, the airport's executive director, said in a statement. “However, this Courtyard will give visitors and travelers the chance to enjoy our climate for a bit longer before they board their flight. And you cannot beat the views of the Monterey Bay.”

The pre-security restaurant at MRY, Woody’s at the Airport, is located on the upper level and has some outdoor seating that overlooks the runway and Monterey Bay as well. The restaurant is open seven days a week and offers validated parking.

Nonstop routes from MRY include Burbank, California; Dallas; Denver; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Phoenix; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle.

Which other airports offer outdoor spaces?

While not inclusive, here are some of the airports around the U.S. where you can get some fresh air while waiting for a flight.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has a post-security outdoor terrace in International Terminal G as well as a pre-security SkyTerrace in Terminal 2, which offers great views of the spot where all four runways intersect. The airport museum's exhibit about the history and the architecture of the terminal space circa 1954 is on display in the SkyTerrace lobby.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) offers travelers a post-security outdoor patio on the mezzanine level of the main Barbara Jordan Terminal, between gates 1 and 2. The South Terminal has a post-security outdoor patio with seating, a pet relief area and a food truck.

At John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), there’s an outdoor rooftop deck at JetBlue Terminal 5. Located post-security across from Gate 28, the deck has places to plug in gadgets plus available seating on benches and grassy areas, and a pet relief area called the Wooftop Lounge.

Three outdoor patios are on the books for Denver International Airport (DEN); two have opened already, with the third set to open later this year. The first to open was at the far western end of Concourse B. It has fire pits, a variety of seating, a pet relief area and great mountain views. The patio on Concourse C offers sunrise views, firepits, a seating area and a pet relief area as well. An outdoor patio will open on Concourse A later this year.

(Photo courtesy of Monterey Regional Airport)

Airline lounges with outdoor decks

Again, this list is not inclusive, but travelers may also enjoy outdoor spaces at some airline lounges.

Patios, or outdoor viewing decks, are among the features at Delta Air Lines Sky Club lounges in AUS, JFK (Terminal 4), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Concourse F), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). The Star Alliance lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX also has an outdoor space with a fire pit. There are nice views of the Hollywood Hills from the outdoor terrace at the United Club in Terminal 7, by Gate 71A.

Featured photo by Michael Troutman/DMT Imaging
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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