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NOTE: Airport Construction. The first phase of Cleveland Hopkins Airport's rehabilitation project was completed in June 2016. The second phase is to begin in November 2016 and will last approximately one year.
Recent Changes Include:
The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), the oldest municipally owned airport in the United States, is located approximately 12 miles southwest of downtown Cleveland. Among the airport's many "firsts" in commercial aviation history, was the first direct train link from an airport to downtown in North America, opened in November 1968. It is highly recommended to take the Rapid Transit train (Red Line) to Tower City Center if you are staying downtown, unless you plan to rent a car. The "Rapid" is very accessible from the baggage claim area and not very expensive ($2.50, seniors with Medicare card $1.25-no transfers permitted-if you plan on taking 3 or more trips purchase an RTA day pass for only $5.50 ($2.75 for kids & seniors).
To access the RTA station, there is a down escalator just beyond baggage claim carrousel #6, a staircase on the other side (beyond the Welcome Center), as well as an elevator opposite the down escalator that will take you right to the lower level. The Rapid station is approximately 30 feet ahead on the left. It is fairly well marked and says "Train to Downtown." There are two ticket machines at the entrance of the station where riders can purchase single and mulit-ride tickets, as well as all-day passes prior to boarding the train. Remember to hold on to your ticket, in case there is a random check by the RTA Police. The machines' user interface has been greatly simplified and it only takes a few steps to purchase tickets and fare cards. Both machines at the airport take credit & debit cards, while the one on the left will give you change (in dollar coins and/or quarters), while the machine on the right requires exact change if you are paying with cash. There is also a change machine to the left of the ticket vending machines.
The public transportation system in Cleveland is adequate for getting around the downtown area, but if you need to head to the suburbs you should probably plan to rent a car. Car rentals are offsite at Hopkins airport, but there is a free shuttle from the baggage claim level (just past exit #4) to the consolidated rental car facility that runs continously, 24 hours per day.
Cleveland traffic is not as bad as many other cities, but accidents, road construction and poor weather can cause delays; normal rush hour times also apply. From the airport, I-71 North will take you straight to downtown.
Check with your hotel to see if there is a shuttle from the aiport. No downtown or Cleveland Clinic area hotel has a regular shuttle service. All shuttle & limosine service must be pre-arranged. You can do this before your trip or use the kiosks on the bagage claim level to call authorized shuttle companies. Click here for transportation companies authorized to wait for passenger pick-ups on airport grounds. Otherwise utilize a taxi (or public transit) to your destination. All taxis are dispatched from the taxi stand on the baggage claim level next to carousel #11. Taxi fares from the airport are flat rates based on mileage and all cabs accept credit cards or cash. To calculate the taxi fare to the airport in advance, use the Cleveland Taxi Fare Finder.
The Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport (BKL) is located in the downtown area. It is used by a variety of private and business aircraft. Ultimate Air Shuttle, which promises "VIP travel for commercial rates," launched twice-daily scheduled charter service from Burke to Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport on October 26, 2015.