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CNN Airport to Shut Down March 31, 2021

CNN Airport to Shut Down March 31, 2021
Joe Cortez

One of the weird and wonderful parts of flying will no longer be gracing television screens at airports across the United States. CNN Airport will shut down for good on March 31, 2021, after a 20-year run of dedicated programming to travelers.

At the peak of its programming, CNN Airport was unavoidable. If you were flying in the United States, it seemed as if one television at the gate was tuned to the CNN Airport Network, delivering a mix of news shows and specialty programming just for frequent flyers. All good things must come to an end – and after a 20-year run in terminals, Variety reports CNN is pulling the plug on their dedicated stream, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for its demise.

Lack of Passengers and Streaming Media All Contribute to Network Closure

At one point, CNN Airport was found on TVs in over 2,100 gates at 50 major U.S. airports, reaching an estimated 469 million passengers every year. The programming was a mix between news from CNN and other Turner brands, including TBS, TNT, and sporting events produced by the media giant.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused air travel demand to drop significantly, as frequent flyers elect to stay safer at home. Between the lack of passengers in terminals and the ease of streaming news and entertainment to personal devices, CNN parent company WarnerMedia decided now is the time to end the mini-network.

“The steep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all of the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices, has lessened the need for the CNN Airport Network,” a spokesperson for WarnerMedia told Variety. “We had to make the very difficult decision to end its operation.”

The specialty network will continue to run through March 31, 2021. While WarnerMedia or CNN won’t offer an immediate replacement, it’s unclear if or how other programming options will replace the numerous screens once dedicated to CNN Airport.

Technology Disrupt Once Dedicated Services Targeted at Flyers

While CNN Airport may have come to an end, due in-part to the novel Coronavirus outbreak, it’s not the first time technology has replaced services once tied directly to the U.S. travel experience. In 2014, SkyMall filed for bankruptcy after many airlines removed the ubiquitous catalogs from seat-back pockets. Although there was an effort to bring it back in 2015, the shop was replaced by Amazon at Delta Air Lines and JetBlue, while SkyMall is now reduced to a small website.

View Comments (19)


  1. johngibel

    January 14, 2021 at 4:15 am

    This is the best news I’ve heard in the last 12 months!!!!!

  2. uhberific

    January 14, 2021 at 4:32 am

    Thank goodness.

  3. vargha

    January 14, 2021 at 4:45 am

    Thank goodness.

  4. carlosnunez.dfw

    January 14, 2021 at 4:49 am

    As someone who hated being graced by CNN Airport all of the time, this is awesome news.

  5. Gone4Weeks

    January 14, 2021 at 5:05 am

    At long last we will no longer be bombarded by CNN’s one-sided myopic view of the world around us. Apparently this is one good thing to come out of the COVID mess.

  6. schelsr

    January 14, 2021 at 5:47 am

    Praise God and good riddance!

  7. coplatua1k

    January 14, 2021 at 6:04 am

    CNN will continue to shrink for some time to come.

  8. c502cid

    January 14, 2021 at 7:21 am

    All good things must come to an end…… Seriously Joe?

  9. bozacksmith

    January 14, 2021 at 10:09 am

    “One of the wonderful parts of flying?” LMAO

    Best news since the clamp down on support animals!

  10. MiscMel70

    January 14, 2021 at 10:23 am

    I’m a fan of CNN but do NOT want to see or hear it when I’m in an airport. For that matter, I don’t want to see ANY news played, real or faux. They should switch to anything narrated by David Attenborough. He is a planetary treasure, his voice is calming and his shows are visual masterpieces.

  11. dliesse

    January 14, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Good riddance! Who needs a TV blaring 24/7, anyway? I don’t care what the content is, I just don’t want to be subjected to it in the airport. If people need entertainment let me direct them to these things called books and magazines!

  12. SamirD

    January 14, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Wow, I thought I was the only one that hated it, lol. Add me to the happy camper group. They should just run 24×7 how to wear masks and social distancing rules on the hardware–people DO need reminders of that. Show examples too–like the bunching up when exiting a plane, the bunching up in the jetbridge, etc–no, no, no! You shouldn’t have to have a weapon and threaten to use it for someone to back the F up!

  13. Bobbop

    January 15, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    CNN was paying airports to carry their content. This is a cost cutting move on their part and welcome news to any traveler who has been stuck in an airport with no other available content.

  14. Marko123

    January 16, 2021 at 9:23 am

    I never realized it was a different network; I always thought it was regular CNN.

  15. theavguy

    January 16, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Wont be missed !

  16. Dublin_rfk

    January 17, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Go ahead and blame the virus if you want or even the science based lockdowns. But the plain truth is the (absentee) parent company doesn’t have to $$$ to waste supporting a cause more lost than itself.

  17. fotographer

    January 20, 2021 at 9:59 am


  18. tommygreece

    January 20, 2021 at 10:19 am

    good riddance !

  19. jtrsss524

    January 25, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    Like everyone else in the comments… great news. And just like that – CNNs audience will shrink by 60%.

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