Why Do Airports Always Play CNN?

It's not exactly the same program you'll see at home.

CNN Airport TVSorbis/Shutterstock

Waiting for a flight requires equal parts patience and distraction. Airports provide some of the latter with their TVs—and many specifically show CNN.

So, why do so many airports play CNN? First, it’s technically not the same exact CNN program people watch at home. Instead, the CNN Airport Network offers unique programming. The content is similar; however, the network caters directly to people in waiting rooms and—you guessed it—airports. People can even connect to Wi-Fi to watch specific programs from CNN on their phones, too. Use this map to find your airport Wi-Fi password.

According to the network, 59 airports across the United States run the CNN Airport Network. They show a mix of lifestyle, entertainment, sports, and business headlines, as well as live CNN. There’s a dedicated staff for the airport network that programs everything. You won’t find any news about commercial aviation crashes or stories inappropriate for a family-friendly airport environment. No matter what airport you fly to or from, remember these 16 airport mistakes to stop making before your next flight.

Although many airports show CNN, they have their own individual relationships with the network. Airports request proposals from news outlets to show their content and often can’t air other competitors. CNN Airport Network happens to be a popular choice. It might be because the network reportedly pays airports for exclusive access to display their content and provides funds for TV equipment. Airports can even include free, personal, original programming and local advertisements specific to the area as part of the deal.

CNN might be the popular choice, but other networks are still trying to break into airports, too. CBS and ReachMe.TV have an upcoming in-airport mobile entertainment network, Deadline reports.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.