Dallas Fort Worth International Airport expects a 2.4 percent increase in the number of travelers using the airport this summer compared to last year.
DFW Airport officials’ project 18.4 million customers will fly through the airport for the travel season that runs from June 1 through August 31.
DFW Airport officials encourage customers to arrive two hours prior to their posted flight departure and the airport will have guest and luggage assistance available in all Terminals for travelers over Memorial Day weekend, May 27, May 28 and May 30.
To offer travelers some relief, DFW Airport is offering up to seven free days of Terminal Parking to the first 1,000 customers that enter designated ticket-only lanes at the North and South entry plazas on Friday, May 27. The vouchers were distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and will be valid through 11:59 p.m. on September 10.
“We want to make sure customers have a smooth travel experience through DFW Airport, and with our parking promotion we hope to share a little summer joy,” said Ken Buchanan, executive vice president of revenue management for DFW Airport. “Customers will see that we have unveiled significant updates inside the terminals and also to the DFW Mobile App as part of our ongoing effort to elevate the travel experience at DFW.”
If travelers do arrive early to the airport, at least they can try some of the new shopping and dining options now available at the airport, including:
Café Izmir – Mediterranean tapas restaurant near gate D12
Dylan’s Candy Bar – candy store near gate D17
Camille’s Ice Cream – Custom made ice cream shop near gate E17
Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse – Famous Texas barbecue restaurant near gate E13
Marshall-Rousso – women’s accessories store near gate E12
The Love Shack – Chef Tim Love’s Fort Worth burger joint near gate E11
Southwest News – newsstand near gate E14 (pre-security)
Garrett Popcorn – Famous Chicago popcorn near gate B29
Rodeo Bar – Western-themed bar near gate B32
Holiday air travelers get a break from long security lines
Meanwhile, travelers worried about long airport security lines may get some relief.
Travelers who were dreading long airport security lines ahead of the Memorial Day weekend instead reported moving quickly through checkpoints Friday after authorities opened extra screening lanes and used bomb-sniffing dogs to give some passengers a break from removing their shoes.
“Wow. I mean, wow,” said Mike Saresky, who flew into Chicago from Philadelphia, where he breezed through airport security in 12 minutes and got to leave his shoes on. “I thought it was going to be a lot worse.”
As the busy summer travel season kicked off, the federal Transportation Security Administration tried to offer travelers some relief after weeks of slow-moving lines blamed on a shortage of TSA security officers.
At Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, known as the world’s busiest, all 16 security lanes at the main checkpoint were open Friday morning as a bomb-sniffing dog and its handler walked among waiting passengers. Wait times were slashed to less than 15 minutes, compared with backups of nearly an hour seen in recent weeks.
“All the natives were telling me, ‘Brace yourself,'” said Carl Pluim, who arrived at the Atlanta airport to fly home to Denver. “I left myself two hours before my flight, so I think I’ll be OK.”
The canine teams were dispatched at busier airports.
The dogs “have the ability to screen large groups of passengers for explosives, making the removal of shoes and laptops and such unnecessary,” TSA spokesman Mike England said.
The agency has 900 dog teams nationwide, England said. He declined to say which airports they were sent to for Memorial Day weekend.
Nationwide, AAA said it expected 2.6 million Americans to fly during the holiday weekend. That’s out of an anticipated 38 million domestic travelers, most of whom will probably drive to their destinations. AAA predicted 2016 would have the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005.
DFW Airport officials also recommend the following travel tips:
• Download the DFW Mobile App to access tailored information for your particular journey through DFW, including intuitive wayfinding functions, interactive maps, custom flight information, and simple yet powerful search capabilities. The DFW Mobile App now features seven languages (including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese), news and weather alerts on the home screen, enhanced flight search with autocomplete functionality, an enhanced geo-enhanced “shops, dine and services” feature, improved parking information, activity suggestions for flight delays, Skylink locators, social media connectors, and overall improved offline use.
• Park closer, faster and smarter by using DFW Parking. With Valet, Terminal, Express and Remote Parking options available, DFW has a choice for every traveler. Learn more at www.dfwairport.com/parking.
• Speed through the security process by joining trusted traveler programs such as TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry, available from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, respectively. To enroll, visit www.TSA.gov or www.CBP.gov.
• Pack lightly and remember 3-1-1. Security rules require that liquids in carry-on bags should be in containers of no more than 3 ounces, packaged in a one-quart bag, with no more than one bag allowed per person.
Associated Press Writers Jeff Martin and Russ Bynum contributed to this report as did Jason Keyser in Chicago.