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New Home Airport - DFW - need tips please

New Home Airport - DFW - need tips please

Old Dec 13, 10, 3:46 pm
  #1  
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New Home Airport - DFW - need tips please

I have just changed jobs and relocated to Dallas. I've been based out of IAH for nearly a decade, and I'm finding it to be very difficult to make the transition to DFW as my home airport. So, if DFW is your home airport and you have tips and best practices, I would appreciate them.

So far my biggest issues have been with parking. I travel every week, typically Tuesday - Friday. Of my past 6 trips, 5 of them returned to a different terminal, or a different end of the terminal, than my departure flight. Unfortunately, I do have to check a bag every time (must carry quite a bit of equipment and documentation with me) so Skylink isn't an option for me. The green buses take forever, and it's not very pleasant to stand outside (especially now that it's cold) late at night, alone, waiting for them. Or walking, outside, all the way from one end of the terminal to another.

Also, last week I parked on the top floor of parking located at the B terminal (many of the lots are pretty filled up on Tuesdays) and was not very happy to realize that there are NO elevators in that parking garage, leaving me to carry all my luggage up and down several flights of stairs.

So, for those of you who consider DFW your home airport, where do you park? What are your tricks? How do you keep it low stress?

Once I am inside and have checked my bags, it is mostly smooth sailing. But I would appreciate any best practices that others have learned over the years. Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 14, 10, 4:11 pm
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I think DFW is a fantastic home airport for business travelers. Centrally located in the country, nonstops almost anywhere I need to go, and I can often get from car to gate in 5 minutes or less.

That said, as you've found out, flying AA and checking bags makes the terminal parking a hassle. When checking bags, I find the Express lots are pretty convenient. The buses run frequently, pick up and drop off right at your car, and it doesn't matter if you return to a different terminal.

By the way, the garage at terminal D does have elevators, none of the other ones do.
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Old Dec 14, 10, 8:04 pm
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Wink

A suggestion when flying AA and parking in a terminal garage....

Check in, print BP at home, drive thru terminal lower level, pulling up at one of the AA "cubside" baggage check stands, hopefully with a short or no line, bail out (quickly, watching for the traffic gendarmes), check bag, then make the circle to enter the parking garage and park, leaving only your carryons to muscle into the terminal. Doesn't work every time, but worth a try at off-peak departure hours.

Works better when I have spouse along so that one of us stands at car door while the other checks bags, then we switch.

Doesn't solve the return to a different terminal, however....(always unless using an off airport parking lot).
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Old Dec 14, 10, 9:46 pm
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Originally Posted by TMOliver View Post
A suggestion when flying AA and parking in a terminal garage....

Check in, print BP at home, drive thru terminal lower level, pulling up at one of the AA "cubside" baggage check stands, hopefully with a short or no line, bail out (quickly, watching for the traffic gendarmes), check bag, then make the circle to enter the parking garage and park, leaving only your carryons to muscle into the terminal. Doesn't work every time, but worth a try at off-peak departure hours.

Works better when I have spouse along so that one of us stands at car door while the other checks bags, then we switch.

Doesn't solve the return to a different terminal, however....(always unless using an off airport parking lot).
If you're solo and not comfortable leaving the car while dealing with the Skycaps, use the one hour spots on the upper level. A short stair-free walk to the check-in counters. Once the bags are checked, go back and move the car.

Similarly, if returning to a different terminal than where your car is, you can ride the Skylink to your car, then drive back to your arrival terminal, park in the one-hour spots, and go inside to get your bags.
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Old Dec 19, 10, 10:45 am
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Agree with the above comment about getting your car before picking up checked bags.

I also suggest looking into valet parking (on airprot and off airport options). They will bring your car to your arrival terminal for you. If cost is an issue, you could also look at off-airport parking; it will just take a little longer. From the north, I suggest Park N Fly, from 114 Parking Spot North, from 183 Parking Spot South. All the offsite parking have frequent parking programs if that interests you.
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Old Dec 20, 10, 8:58 pm
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If I have a checked bag, I do not exit to baggage claim. Instead, I take the SkyLink back to where I parked my car, drive to the new baggage claim (and park in one hour parking) and retrieve my bag. About 75% of the time I arrive at the same time as my bag. Bonus is that I don't have to haul it up or down stairs in the garage since I'm now parked right up front.

The terminal valet is another good option. I have yet to try it but have a couple of colleagues who swear by it. Parking is usually plentiful at Terminal B. I have one colleague who always parks there for that reason - plus she said she never has to worry about finding her car after a trip.
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Old Dec 22, 10, 8:42 am
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Good advice re the parking.

We are infrequent travelers these days, and use the Park and Fly lot on 635 at Royal. They're okay if you live east of the airport. If you can expense parking at the terminal, that would be better.

I would make a point of learning how to use the automatic notification features of your airline. DFW does have some weather exposure during t-storm season, and the possibility of fog in the winter. And of course, if it's icy, the whole city goes straight into the ditch.

And if you come in from the north end, allowing extra time for that construction project (the largest construction project currently under way in the US) is a must.
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Old Dec 22, 10, 10:11 am
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What about Love Field, at least for some trips? I assume you occasionally used Hobby Airport when you were in Hosuton.
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Old Dec 26, 10, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by skoenig View Post
What about Love Field, at least for some trips? I assume you occasionally used Hobby Airport when you were in Hosuton.
BIG difference between Love and Hobby

I would on occation fly out of Hobby when living in Houston/Galveston area, and you have a choice of airlines, including AA's RJs to DFW. Alas Love has the Wright ammendment limiting where you can fly, and other than WN there are a handful of CO's RJs to IAH and three DL/NW CRJs to MEM.

Lots more choices out of Hobby ^

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Old Dec 26, 10, 2:56 pm
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Here's one more option, which worked well for a colleague doing 6-months of weekly air commuting........ She found that car rentals for 3 or 4 day weekends were lower cost than full-price close-to-terminal parking (so employer was happy and she got extra miles/points for the car rentals). She liked just making one stop at the airport at the car rental return, then the buses went non-stop to each terminal...... and on return it didn't make any difference which terminal she arrived at.

You'll find threads and postings on discount codes for car rentals, plus extra miles/point codes for car rentals in those categories on FlyerTalk.

(My colleague also liked saving by cutting-down on auto insurance for her self-owned car.....and by renting different cars on weekends, such as a convertible for goimng to Hill Country, or an SUV when picking up antiques.)
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Old Dec 27, 10, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by techgirl View Post
If I have a checked bag, I do not exit to baggage claim. Instead, I take the SkyLink back to where I parked my car, drive to the new baggage claim (and park in one hour parking) and retrieve my bag. About 75% of the time I arrive at the same time as my bag. Bonus is that I don't have to haul it up or down stairs in the garage since I'm now parked right up front.
This is exactly what I do if I check a bag. I catch Skylink to my car, toss my laptop in my trunk, drive around to short term parking at the terminal where I landed and retrieve my bag. I usually park at the terminal of departure if I am in a hurry. I fly 2 or 3 weeks out of the month and it works well for me. As for remembering where I parked I send myself a text message from my personal phone to my work phone with something along the lines of C17A close to back wall.

The rental car option mentioned in another post never worked for me. I tried it a couple of times. I live north of the airport and I could be home 3 times over in the time it takes to ride the rental car shuttle to the rental car facility south of the airport and then drive back north towards home.

For personal trips I use Remote North or Express North to save money, the shuttles come around pretty frequently, although Murphy's law when I do this I seem to see the South shuttles before the North come around. Last year I spent a month in the UK so I hired a car service both ways instead of parking somewhere for a month.

Last edited by MissJoeyDFW; Dec 27, 10 at 8:32 am
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Old Dec 27, 10, 2:09 pm
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I second using the express north or south lots rather than terminal parking since you have the additional complication of checked bags (I never check bags).

A co-worker of mine likes to park in D, go through security there, and then take the skylink to the departure gate. He swears this is faster since there's plentiful parking there and the security lines are always short. However, I was skeptical and have never tried this trick.

Be aware of issues caused by the highway construction around the north entrance. I suggest visiting www.dfwconnector.com and subscribing to their email alerts.

If you are not traveling on AA, be aware that restaurants in the desolate terminal E can have odd hours. I am usually on AA but once found myself traveling on CO and due to a delayed flight, went looking for some dinner. The TGI Fridays closed at 6:30 p.m.
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Old Jan 4, 11, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by techgirl View Post
If I have a checked bag, I do not exit to baggage claim. Instead, I take the SkyLink back to where I parked my car, drive to the new baggage claim (and park in one hour parking) and retrieve my bag. About 75% of the time I arrive at the same time as my bag. Bonus is that I don't have to haul it up or down stairs in the garage since I'm now parked right up front.

The terminal valet is another good option. I have yet to try it but have a couple of colleagues who swear by it. Parking is usually plentiful at Terminal B. I have one colleague who always parks there for that reason - plus she said she never has to worry about finding her car after a trip.
Same here.

As for DFW as a whole, I'm always happy to get back to DFW since it's pretty much my favorite airport. I was based in ORD (what a mess!) so DFW has been great for the last 7+ years. Like many on FT, I've been to my fair share of airports, and DFW is my top choice...and I'd like it even more of some of the older terminals got some updates!
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Old Jan 18, 11, 12:36 am
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+1 on the following:

Terminal D parking (regardless of departure gate) - usually plenty of space, well-lit, elevators, little or no security line.
Curbside check-in.
Sending text message to self with parking spot info.
Taking SkyLink back to car, then driving to baggage claim.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 3:13 pm
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I use the valet parking. Often enough to get free days of parking. The guy meeting me unloads my gear from my car and carries it into the airport for me and does the reverse on my return.

www.theairportvalet.com These guys wear yellow shirts.

In cold weather I leave my coat with the valet and request that it be brought to me at baggage claim when I return to DFW. Works fine.
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