Holiday Travel Tips

Tips to ensure Thanksgiving travel to and from Dallas doesn’t suck

Tips to ensure Thanksgiving travel to and from Dallas doesn’t suck

Dallas Love Field airport
Here are your top holiday travel tips for Dallas Thanksgiving travelers. Dallas Love Field/Facebook

If you're hitting the road for Thanksgiving, here's some advice on travel, including tips on airport parking and information on wait and arrival times.

A just-released travel forecast by AAA predicts ​Thanksgiving 2016 will see the the most travel since 2007, with a 1.9 percent increase in travelers, and the highest volume of airline travelers in eight years. One million more Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving than 2015. Based on AAA.com bookings, the top 5 destinations will be Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Orlando, and New York.

Of course, you already know to check with your airline for flight departure/arrival status prior to arriving at the airport. That goes without saying. Carry-on items are limited to one small bag and one personal item such as a camera, laptop, briefcase, or purse.

Dallas Love Field
Dallas Love Field has many spots under construction; as a result, many areas have been changed. You'll want to give yourself time to get acquainted with new locations and directions.

Regarding arrival times, you should arrive at least one-and-a-half to two hours before your flight, to allow time for parking, check-in, baggage check, security, and any unplanned events, especially during peak hours.

Drop-off and curbside check-in for all Southwest Airlines' passengers is on the upper roadway in front of the Ticketing/Check-In on Herb Kelleher Way (formerly Cedar Springs Road).

Pickup for all arriving passengers is in front of Baggage Claim on the upper roadway on Herb Kelleher Way. Who knew that Cedar Springs Road inside the airport is now called Herb Kelleher Way? Already, this is new information.

Use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot when picking up travelers. It is located on airport property as you approach the terminal, right before the valet parking lot. You can wait there until your passenger calls for pickup at the curb. But parking or waiting curbside is not allowed. Dallas police will be on-site to control traffic and curb monitoring. Vehicles parked in unauthorized areas will be towed.

Parking garages A and B offer the first 30 minutes of parking for free. After that, charges apply; see Dallas-LoveField.com/parking. To avoid theft, don't forget the old "Hide, Lock, and Take." Hide your belongings. Lock your car. Take your keys. If you own a truck, be sure to lock or secure the tailgate.

Pickup for taxis, limousines, transportation network companies, and for-hire shuttles is located on the lower level curbside.

Additional travel and airport information can be obtained by visiting one of the three information booths in the terminal lobby, baggage claim, and the concessions village. There's a concessions village? That is more new information.

Public transportation options to Love Field are now limited to DART’s Inwood/Love Field station. You need to take a shuttle bus, Route 524, to get there from the airport. It's a free shuttle that operates every day from approximately 5:30 am to 1 am. For schedule and fare information, visit www.DART.org/LoveField.

The airport recommends you consider any option other than driving to the airport, due to the volume of vehicles during the holidays. That includes DART, taxis, shuttle services, and transportation network companies (Lyft, Uber, Wingz, etc.). Although from personal experience, some of those can be sketchy; one time, one of the shuttle companies just plain blew me off and I had to call a taxi at the very last minute.

The airport also suggests having someone pick you up or drop you off, which is easy for them to say; apparently the airport has better friends than I.

For more information, call the airport communication center at 214-670-5683 or email at 214670Love@dallascityhall.com.

DFW Airport
From November 18 through November 29, 2016, approximately two million passengers are anticipated to travel through DFW Airport to their final Thanksgiving destination.

Arrive at DFW at least two hours before your departure time to ensure ample time to park, check-in, clear security, and arrive at your departure gate.

​The airport is kicking off Thanksgiving travel season on November 23, by offering a week of free Terminal Parking. The first 1,000 cars that enter through specially marked parking plaza lanes starting at 6 am on November 23 will be given parking vouchers. They can be used by travelers entering Terminal Parking between November 23-27. The promotion runs a maximum of seven days after date of entry through 11:59 pm on December 4.

Normal parking rates will apply following those seven days.

DFW Airport has new shopping and dining options throughout its five terminals, including the new Univision Travel Shop and Whitetail Bistro in Terminal D; and Lorena Garcia Tapas y Cocina in Terminal A.

To easily access flight information and notifications, travelers are encouraged to download DFW’s Mobile App and sync it with their Apple watch. Does everyone have an Apple watch?

Parking options include valet, terminal, express, and remote parking.

To speed up the security process, you can join programs such as TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry, available from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the US Customs and Border Protection, respectively. Click on the links to enroll.

Pack lightly and remember 3-1-1: Liquids should be in containers of no more than three ounces, packaged in a one-quart bag, with no more than one bag allowed per person. Leave gifts unwrapped to ensure swift inspection at security checkpoints.

DART schedules
Look for schedule changes on November 24-25; Regular scheduled transit service resumes on Saturday November 26. The changes include:

  • Bus detours due to the 2016 Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot on Thursday November 24. Routes affected are 1, 2, 11, 12, 19, 21, 26, 29, 35, 42, 52, 59, 60, 76, 110, 111, 161, 164, and 749.
  • DART buses and light rail trains will operate on a Sunday schedule Thursday, November 24. They'll observe a Saturday schedule on Friday, November 25. The TRE will not operate on Thanksgiving Day but will follow a regular schedule Friday.
  • DART's customer information center will be closed Thanksgiving Day but re-open on Friday. The administrative offices, Customer Care Center, and Lost and Found will be closed both Thanksgiving Day and Friday.