Bradley Airport is the Stress-Saving Travel Hack CT Families Need

Short lines, affordable parking, and a growing list of nonstop flights are just a few things that make Bradley International Airport an easy choice for families in and around Connecticut.

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Forget the far-off food courts and endlessly-long security lines that leave you with hangry children before you’ve even boarded your flight! Choosing a kid-friendly airport has become my favorite travel hack, and Bradley International Airport fits the bill for families in the Connecticut area.

Located just outside of Hartford, Bradley has all the conveniences of a small airport, but the amenities of a large one. And after taking a special tour of the concourse with my daughter, I can confirm that it’s a perfect launchpad for your next family trip. Here’s why:

Rear view of airplane at airport

Bradley offers nonstop flights to more than 35 destinations.

Non-Stop Flights and Low-Cost Carriers

Whether you’re looking for theme park fun in Florida, perfect beach days in Puerto Rico, or international adventure in Ireland, Bradley offers nonstop flights to more than 35 destinations–which means no sprinting between gates with your toddler or torturing your tweens with long layovers. Bradley also offers affordable options for families, with flights from eleven airlines, including several low-cost carriers like Spirit, Frontier, Sun Country, Southwest, and Breeze.

Short Wait Times

Compared to bigger and busier airports in New York and Boston, checking into your flight at Bradley is quick and easy–with shorter lines and faster service. And not only does Bradley’s manageable size simplify check-in and security. The airport has TSA PreCheck and CLEAR biometric identification programs to keep things moving along. Children under 12 can accompany an enrolled guardian in the TSA PreCheck lanes. If they are between 13-17, they have to be on the same reservation.

Pro tip: Friendly airport service agents are also available to assist you throughout the airport. Head to the information center for assistance.

Two people standing in front of airport bus

Free shuttles make it easy to get from the parking lot to your gate.

Affordable and Convenient Parking

At Bradley, you can choose from several affordable parking options starting as low as $7.00 per day. Families have their pick of covered garage parking right at the main terminal or uncovered outdoor parking at the official BDL sPARK lots. All lots are either within a 5 minute walk or can be accessed 24/7 by a free shuttle that picks you up and drops your family off right at your car.

Woman standing in front of Jamba
Two people sitting down to eat at restaurant

There are plenty of restaurants fit for a larger sitdown meal, like Black Bear Saloon.

Tons of Dining Options–Plus Mobile Ordering

From sandwich counters to tap rooms, there are a number of family-friendly eateries across the concourse. Grab kid favorites like chicken tenders and sliders at Black Bear Saloon while the grownups enjoy elevated bar food and beer, or opt for convenient salads, wraps, and rice and grain bowls at D’Angelo’s. For pre-flight snacks, Jamba Juice, Auntie Anne’s, and Starbucks make good pit stops.

Pro Tip: In a rush? Bradley now offers mobile food ordering from many of the restaurants and shops via BDL Market. Order from the website or scan one of the many QR codes across the airport.

A Nursing Room for Moms

To make travel just a little easier for nursing and pumping parents, Bradley unveiled a dedicated nursing room back in 2017. With comfortable seating, a sink, a changing table, and outlets for electric pumps, the cozy space takes some of the stress out of feeding hungry babies while en route to your destination.

Two people shopping

Pick up local gifts and treats at Hartford Prints!, a favorite for all things Connecticut.

Grab’N’Go Gifts and Travel Essentials

Whether you’re in need of a gift or you’re just looking to bribe your kids into behaving on the plane, you’ll find local treats like artisanal chocolates, salt water taffy, and lobster-shaped lollipops at the Charter Oak Emporium, along with fun Connecticut gear at Hartford Prints! Bradley also has a couple of spots to grab in-flight necessities like magazines, bottled water, neck pillows, books, snacks, and more snacks.

Petting a therapy dog

Certified therapy dogs like Dory go gate-to-gate, helping nervous fliers relax.

The Bradley Buddies

This might be the sweetest incentive for flying out of Bradley, especially if you’ve got nervous fliers in the family. The beloved Bradley Buddies are certified therapy dogs–easily identified by their little blue vests–that go gate-to-gate helping overwhelmed travelers destress. Dog lovers young and old are sure to melt when they see these faces.

A Place for Pets

Speaking of furry friends, Bradley welcomes pets and service animals alike! The airport has two pet relief areas, an outdoor one and one that is located inside the terminal–making it easier to bring your cuddliest family members along on your next trip.

Ways to Stay Connected

To ensure travelers can stay connected, Bradley offers free Wi-Fi at every terminal. You’ll also find complimentary charging stations throughout the airport in case you ever find yourself with a dangerously low battery

Pro tip: Electric vehicle owners can find convenient charging stations at the cell phone lot. EVs are also available to rent at the Ground Transportation Center rental counters.

Charter Oak Emporium

Bradley International Airport strives to take the stress out of travel.

More Upgrades and Improvements to Come

Another thing I love about Bradley International Airport: It’s always focused on new ways to make travel easier and more accessible. Stay tuned for new improvements and, in the meantime, go ahead and book your next family vacation out of BDL!

All photos courtesy of Bradley International Airport

Bradley International Airport (BDL) invites you to love the journey at New England's second-largest airport. Recognized nationally by leading travel publications for its ease of travel, Bradley International Airport is ready to welcome you with new nonstops, expanded services, and convenient travel. The award-winning airport is operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority, and its operations are entirely self-funded. The airport contributes nearly $3.6 billion to the regional economy.

*Some nonstop flights may operate only during certain time periods of the year (seasonally). For the latest flight information, please visit the airline's website.