South Bend Regional Airport is located close to the main business district in the city of South Bend. The Regional Airport is the state's second largest commercial airport; Indianapolis International Airport is larger. The abbreviation for South Bend Regional Airport are SBN. For a while, the airport was called the Michiana Regional Airport. This name blended Michigan with Indiana, reflecting the fact that the airport serves both northeast Indiana and southwest Michigan. The airport is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The public airport has more than 91,000 visitors annually and accommodates more than 40,000 aircraft maneuvers. There are three asphalt runways, measuring 4,300 ft, 7,000 ft and 8,000 ft. The airport is unique among U.S. airports because it offers a direct link to all types of local and interstate ground transportation. A short-term parking lot is located just across from the main terminal doors. Adjacent to it, drivers will find a long-term parking lot, a cell phone waiting lot and an economy lot. A cell phone lot provides drivers with a free place to wait pending the arrival of their friends or family. Valet parking is available at Door F.
The oblong terminal features doors marked A through H. Generally, arrivals will pick up their luggage from the baggage carousel and leave the airport by Doors B, C or D for personal car travel. For those departing passengers who arrive by car, they use doors E, F and G. From there, they will find their airline counter where they can check in their luggage. It is just a short walk to the security checkpoint. Security screening is usually swift, especially compared to major U.S. airports.
The terminal has a main concourse with gates 1 through 6. There are restrooms, waiting areas and a few retail and food opportunities. A children's play area and a family restroom are located at the end of the concourse next to the regular restrooms. For a fee, Wi-Fi is available. The airport is open from 4 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. It opens two hours prior to the first scheduled flight and closes after the last flight has arrived or departed. The Airport Authority maintains an information booth from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the main waiting area. If you need to page someone, the information booth attendant can take care of it. Not all on-site facilities open this early or close this late. There is an automatic banking machine between Doors F and G in the main terminal. The airport does not have lockers or a foreign money exchange facility.
The airport was just a dirt runway in 1919 when aerial stunt planes entertained surprised crowds. These stunt pilots also provided early commercial flights. In the early 1930s, the airport was named Bendix Municipal Airport for its new owner. Vincent Bendix was a wealthy industrialist who was pivotal in bringing the airplane to more people. He sponsored the most prestigious national race, the Bendix Cup. Starting in the early 1930s, individual pilots competed in an endurance contest to see who could go cross country in the shortest time. This promoted air travel as a national pastime and gave aircraft manufacturers a chance to develop their planes. In 1936, Amelia Earhart used the airport as a stopover. That same year, the city bought the airport from Mr. Bendix.