Airport Rush is a semi-realistic run game that features airplanes at airports instead of people running on racecourses. It tasks the player with working in the control towers of increasingly complex airport terminals (Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3). They don't need to be successful with Terminal 1 to access the other terminals. Instead, they can access each one out of sequence. The game focuses more on the number of planes the player successfully helps land and take off. The player tries to prevent crashes and, if they must start over, beat their last-best number.
Terminal 1 is a small airport with two hangers and one main runway in a heavily forested and seemingly rural area. Terminal 2 features three hangars and two runways in a forested zone abutting a city or suburb. Terminal 3 features four hangars and two runways in another forested area. It has a unique airport layout with two waiting areas for planes on the tarmac before they approach the hangars and faster, more dense traffic.
Airport Rush doesn't require a console or complex controls. The player selects an onscreen action button labeled with an image of the type of action they want a plane to take at the airport. Even if they don't use it, the action happens automatically after a white timer ring around the button disappears.
The game doesn't pause if the player switches between browser tabs, which means that a crash between two planes can happen if the player doesn't pay close attention. For example, arriving planes often share the same path when leaving their respective runways and departing planes sometimes fail to approach empty runways.