An Ode to DFW

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Traveling by air doesn't always bring out the best in people.  Strict (and often confusing) security procedures, hours spent in a tiny plane seat, and frequent delays can put a rough start on a vacation or lousy way to wrap up a trip.  Most of my travel requires a layover at a hub airport where I get to wait between one and four hours to catch my connecting flight.  Multiplied by several hundred flights, it could be the formula for a disaster.  

I've come to find favorite things about each hub - Denver (United Airlines) has free wired internet in the 2nd level of several concourses, Atlanta (Delta Airlines) has a good seafood restaurant, Chicago (American/United) has the best breakfast burritos and even Minneapolis (Delta/KLM) has awesome hand dryers made by Dyson.  Okay, I know that last one sounds lame, but you try flying 18 hours on a plane coming home from India and then tell me hand dryers from outer-space aren't cool.

But my all-time favorite airport has to be Dallas-Fort Worth, a hub for American Airlines.  I started flying through DFW to get to El Paso, Texas in February of 2007.  As I started traveling there in the winter, a quick flight south of Des Moines gets me away from winter weather; it just made more sense than heading towards Denver or Chicago.

It wasn't long before I started planning my trips through DFW Airport specifically - and I knew I was in love.  Their Skylink monorail system connecting all the terminals makes finding your next gate a breeze.  With two stops at each terminal, you are never more than about 600 feet from a Skylink stop where you can quickly take the escalators to the upper level. Waiting less than two minutes to catch the next train and in less than nine minutes, you can travel the entire airport.  The speed that Skylink provides has helped me catch my flight after unscheduled delays, and somehow my luggage even made it - no "Home Alone" sprint through the airport!

The destinations I travel to usually have gates in the B and C terminal, which has options for food, coffee and places to relax.  Near gate B27 you'll find chase lounges, the perfect place to relax over a long layover or with an unforseen delay.  I'm also a fan of the Samsung Lounges - free lounges connected to the Starbucks in Terminals A, B, C & E, that offer comfy chairs, places to charge your phone and free wired internet.

But a quick trip on the Skylink will take me to the International terminal; Terminal D.  Terminal D is the newest terminal and offers more food options (Check out Blue Bamboo Xpress and Blue Mesa Taco & Tequila Bar), duty free shopping and some interesting sculptures.  Terminal D is a good place for people watching too - I once was on a flight from LAX to DFW where I sat one row behind Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.  (Of course I asked for a photo!) But a quick hop on the Skylink will have me back at my gate with plenty of time.

This may sound odd (although what can be weirder than a tribute to an airport?) anytime my layover is in DFW, I feel more relaxed about my trip.  Maybe it is the familiarity that makes me comfortable, or just the ease of navigating my way to the nearest Auntie Ann's Pretzel.

Any features of other airports to share? Other tips and tricks?

Post a Comment

Please make sure your comment does not contain information on my employer. Thanks!

Latest Instagrams

© Has Passport, Will Travel. Design by Fearne.