September 22, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Austin may be weird, but it doesn’t have an airport chapel. I finally determined this for certain as I arrived a bit early for a departing flight recently. I asked the cashiers at one of the many Austin-based eateries. They didn’t know of any chapel. I asked the shoe-shine vendors, certainly they would know. They didn’t. I went on-line to see if perhaps a chapel or prayer room might be hidden away, more visible to travelers than staff. No luck, I found no chapel.


The International Association of Civil Avaition Chaplains lists over 150 airport chapel in over 40 countries.  There's no listing for Austin.  Just to be sure, I walked the length of the airport. I found massage chairs for body and foot massages. I saw signs for hydration stations, which turn out to be faucets to refill empty water bottles. I saw art displays and waiting areas of all kinds, but no chapel.


Austin’s airport does have some special places, perhaps for Austin, you could call them sacred. Near the central food court is a bandstand. This pulpit is reserved for local talent who serenade weary travelers at regular intervals. Another site is at the baggage claim where a bronze statue of the terminal’s namesake, the late Barbara Jordon, is seated. The artist captured this icon of public service with fingers together, deep in thought. As the daughter of a minister, perhaps Barbara Jordan is pondering the same question. Why doesn’t Austin, the Capital City of Texas, have an airport chapel?


Austin Bergstrom International Airport, 3600 Presidential Blvd, Austin, Texas

Memorial/ Chapels