As a long-time American Airlines flier, I’ve spent a lot of time connecting through Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) airport over the years. DFW has always been a decent airport to connect through. DFW has been a tale of 3 cities as far as I’m concerned.
The D terminal is the newest terminal at DFW, opening in 2005. The C terminal is a bit dated but has some reasonable amenities, though nothing exceptional in terms of sit-down dining. Then, you have terminals A and B. For the longest time, neither of these terminals offered much in the way of decent restaurants or shops. B was mostly prop planes and regional jets and had next to nothing in terms of good concessions. DFW has a fifth terminal (E) which American doesn’t fly out of. I’ve been over there once or twice and it feels like the land that time forgot.
Fast forward to modern time and DFW has decided it needed a facelift. They started with the A terminal and released some moderate changes last year. I was pretty unenthused about the changes so didn’t spend much more time researching what else they were planning. Recently I had a flight get delayed because of whether while at DFW on a layover, so I decided to get some exercise. I had heard the first part of A was done with the full renovation so figured I’d wander over to see what it looked like Boy, was I surprised. There’s still a fair amount boarded up, but some new things are starting to shine through.
First, American has folded in its new boarding strategy into the redesign of the new gate areas. For as long as I can remember, airlines have always boarded flights through one lane or two side-by-side lanes (one reserved for First Class and elite members). American is transitioning to a system where those two lanes are separated by quite some distance. I’ve got two separate pictures below that show how the main boarding area is located in a different area than elite boarding. In this first one, you can see the blue main boarding sign on the left, while elite boarding is a more traditional straight line in front of the door. The benefit here is that the longer main boarding line queues up in the seating area as opposed to blocking the hallway for people trying to get from one place to another.
Here’s another image where priority boarding is in the traditional location at the boarding door but the main boarding area is in the seating area. This makes sense to me, as people in the main boarding groups will be waiting longer to get on board, so why bother getting up and standing in the walkway, causing everyone to be miserable?
The gate areas are much more inviting, with new counters that are lower and smaller so you’re closer to the gate agents when you talk to them (that could be good or bad!). There are tables with power outlets and plenty of touch screens for changing flights.
But the gate areas weren’t the only thing that got a refresh. The food at the far end of the A terminal is now significantly improved. They had added a Pappadeaux seafood restaurant just about 2 years ago, but that was about it for decent choices. Now, we have:
Ling & Louie’s Asian Bistro
A refreshed TGI Friday’s. Not high on my list but at least it’s new and clean.
Vino Volo, which I wrote about in the past.
A high-end dessert shop called Ice Box.
And, finally a Salt Lick BBQ.
I’m going to post separately about my Salt Lick experience, which wasn’t great. There’s also a new Dunkin Donuts with a broader menu than the kiosk that used to be in A and an Einstein Bros. Bagels right around the corner.
Got kids? No problem. They’ve added a great new kids area. Enclosed with only one way in and out for safety, plenty of room for the little ones to run around and tons of fun things to play with. There’s a fairly intricate wall of gears and balls when you walk in as well as a number of things to climb on.
Finally, there’s a pretty awesome toy store. I’m pretty sure it’s overpriced, but it was pretty cool to wander around in for a few minutes. Love the name Geppetto’s.
I never dreaded having a flight that landed in A before. Though not the most picturesque, it was functional. And, I always look at my layovers in DFW as forced exercise. I briskly walk all four main terminals for 30 minutes to pretend like I’m in shape. Now there are great reasons to end up in A (and never bother leaving). I’d have to do some thinking, but the new DFW A terminal might be my favorite domestic US terminal that I’ve visited.
What’s your favorite terminal in the US? Internationally?