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DFW Vs. MCI And Connecting Ease  
User currently offlineDLX737200 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1903 posts, RR: 20
Posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3279 times:

I've flown in and out of MCI once and have never been to DFW but in photos, both airports appear to have similar terminal layouts with the half circle designs. I've always heard how MCI's design is inefficient for today's travels with numerous security checkpoints for every few gates and limited seating area. Now I've never seen inside DFW but why is it a better hub design than MCI? AA seems to be pretty happy having a hub there. How do the two cities compare in ease of connecting and going from concourse to concourse?


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14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3252 times:

Quoting DLX737200 (Thread starter):
I've flown in and out of MCI once and have never been to DFW but in photos, both airports appear to have similar terminal layouts with the half circle designs. I've always heard how MCI's design is inefficient for today's travels with numerous security checkpoints for every few gates and limited seating area. Now I've never seen inside DFW but why is it a better hub design than MCI? AA seems to be pretty happy having a hub there. How do the two cities compare in ease of connecting and going from concourse to concourse?

DFW was able to be redesigned so concessions, restrooms and the like were inside security (it opened in 1974, but MCI opened in 1972), while MCI wasn't redesigned until recently. Consequently, DFW has been a much better connecting hub than MCI ever could've been, not to mention the huge differences in the populations of the respective metro areas. TWA was so mad at MCI for the terminal designs, they moved everything except maintenance to STL over the rest of the 1970s. MCI was supposed to be their ORD, a perfectly situated mid-continent hub to feed the world for MCI and MCI for the world, so to speak. EA and BN tried limited hub operations there with mixed success.

[Edited 2009-08-17 11:56:29]


It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3104 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3231 times:

MCI was first with "drive to the gate", DFW was a close second. LBB and JFK-Pan Am are also in that era. DFW was originally similarly arranged as MCI, with clusters of gates and ticket counters with accompanying baggage claims. None were designed for the purpose of large connecting hubs. (Interesting since AA, DL, and particularly BN, all had large connecting hubs at DFW.) But, because DFW was designed with a wider " concourse", it was easier to adapt to make it easier to transfer. Certainly not ideal, but doable. I think MCI's rings could be widened some in a retrofit if they wanted to consolidate some transferability. Why they haven't in the past couple decades is a mystery to me (while STL, ICT, OKC even SGF have undergone improvements).

-Rampart


User currently offlineMtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2428 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3124 times:
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Best part of DFW is that ALL gates are easily accessible after going thru security once. Main drawback of MCI I believe, even before DFW's Skylink train.


"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlineN911YX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2965 times:



Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1):
think MCI's rings could be widened some in a retrofit if they wanted to consolidate some transferability. Why they haven't in the past couple decades is a mystery to me

The MCI terminals were renovated in 2004-5 at a cost of over $250 million. The B terminal was the only one to get expansion treatment, widening the gate areas by more than double the original space. WN and DL were the beneficiaries of that but they also paid some of the renovation costs to have it done. Terminals A and C were renovated with the addition of bathrooms in the gate holding areas. The problem of multiple security checkpoints was partially solved by making the gate holding areas larger. and adding restrooms. In the case of YX, 6 gates are served by one large seating area. Making connections from YX to YX doesn't require an additional screening as the pax doesn't leave the area unless he insists for whatever reason.

The terminal set-up (curb to gate) is loved by the locals for its convenience. There aren't that many connecting passengers going from one airline to another at MCI so this really is a tempest in a teapot. Getting from one terminal to another is accomplished with circulator busses that operate frequently for those that do connect.

There is a proposed rebuild of MCI out there that does away with the rings and starts fresh on the south end of the airport property but it has not been funded and isn't likely to be in the near future. As of this week nearly one third of the 80 plus gates at MCI are not used due to airlines consolidating and shrinking. Those gates aren't cheap to lease from the airport.


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21474 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2956 times:

DFW only recently became somewhere that connecting wasn't a nightmare. Sure, if both gates were nearby, that was one thing, but most of the time, the walk was miles. Not exaggerating. If you wanted to stay inside security, you could walk over a mile! DFW was one of the first airports to use the "excuse the cart" carts, driving people around because it was just not a good connecting hub.

So first attempt was made by AA, to put trams inside security. This helped a lot, but with only 2 stops per concourse, it was still a lot of walking.

Now there is the monorail, which is faster, but still, with 2 stops per concourse, there's a lot of walking, but I guess not much more than places like IAH or EWR (terminal C), or MIA or STL.

Still, as connecting hubs go, DFW is pretty inconvenient. It just takes longer, the concourses always feel crowded, etc. Airports with gates on both sides of concourses always work better. Less walking for connecting (but more walking for O&D).



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2788 times:



Quoting DLX737200 (Thread starter):
inefficient for today's travels with numerous security checkpoints for every few gates

I find the numerous security checkpoints at DFW to be one of the airport strongest advantages over places like ATL, SDF, HOU, DAL, FLL.

There are almost always two checkpoints open in each terminal, sometimes three.

It moves people through security pretty fast, and a hang up at one checkpoint does not bring the entire process to a stop.

Yes, DFW does offer miles and miles of walking, though any large airport does the same thing these days. AA can be especially inefficient with three full terminals and most of a fourth terminal in use.

One thing which always bugged me is that I would leave from one terminal, and return to another. Finally completely gave up on airport parking and use off-site lots now.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26376 posts, RR: 76
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2786 times:

The problem with both DFW and MCI was that they were supposed to be modern connecting hubs, but were built much more with O&D in mind. Kind of counter-productive.

That said, I completely get the complaints about DFW, because it is actually used as a major connecting point, but not so much MCI that is largely O&D. I really don't get a lot of the LAX complaints, seeing that is the largest O&D airport in the world and built incredibly well for that purpose.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineContrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1832 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2681 times:

I've flown into MCI a few times, and it's a nice airport, but DFW is my favorite airport. Many people are intimidated by it, due to its size, but navigating the airport is easy, imo. Of course, I used to live in Ft. Worth and I've spent many hours at DFW, so maybe I'm a little biased.

I guess "connecting ease" is in the eye of the passenger, but I've never had any problems making connections - if the arriving flight isn't late getting in. The airport SkyTrain makes getting around easy. I fly AA and I've often had to go from D terminmal to C terminal to make a connection, or vice versa. If I tried walking it would take forever. With the SkyTrain it only takes a few minutes.

The drawback to DFW, imo, is the long taxi to/from the gate to/from the runway. Sometimes this seems to take forever, especially when the plane has to taxi to/from the opposite side of the field from where the gate is. Of course, there are other airports where long taxis are the norm also.

I wish someone (other than WN) would make MCI a hub again. It might take some of the pressure off ORD and DFW, and would give pax more options. I don't guess I'll see that again any time soon.



Flying Colors Forever!
User currently offlineAvConsultant From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1360 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2664 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 6):
I find the numerous security checkpoints at DFW to be one of the airport strongest advantages over places like ATL, SDF, HOU, DAL, FLL.

DFW is a doubled edge sword. Yes, the number of check points are incredible and nice. However, if you fly AA and park in front of your terminal and checking luggage there is a good chance your return flight not be in front of your car. If that's the case you'll have to fend for yourself in getting to your car is parked. The SkyTrain is inside security.

I've often heard that is MCI "Achilles Hill" in luring a hub carrier.


User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2661 times:



Quoting Contrails (Reply 8):
I wish someone (other than WN) would make MCI a hub again. It might take some of the pressure off ORD and DFW, and would give pax more options. I don't guess I'll see that again any time soon.

Unfortunately, there's not nearly enough O&D at MCI to make it substantial hub. If CVG, PIT, and STL can't support heavy operations, there's no way a medium-sized market like MCI would either.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21474 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2575 times:



Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
I really don't get a lot of the LAX complaints, seeing that is the largest O&D airport in the world and built incredibly well for that purpose.

Exactly. LAX is not located correctly to be a hub other than for Pacific Rim destinations, and even then, SFO is closer to ALL Pacific Rim destinations other than New Zealand and the South Pacific, where it's basically a wash. SFO is even closer to Australia.

LAX is a destination, and the terminals are designed as destination terminals for the most part, and for someone who lives here, I don't find them a hassle at all (other than a few where the TSA area is just not large enough).

Even for visitors who stay at Airport hotels, those hotels are much closer than most other airports around the USA. The only real hassle for visitors is the rental car situation (finding your company on return, mostly), and that can be solved with a better central rental facility like so many other airports have.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineProfcalvin From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 107 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2531 times:

I live in Dallas now and have relatives in Kansas and make the hour and a half hop quite frequently.

I can understand how DFW is absolutly huge and a hassle for people connecting so I can totally understand your problems there but MCI?

MCI is a nice mid sized airport convenient and useful for locals and people who start or end there. As soon as you get off the plane and through the jet way it is just 5 steps before you are in the main hall(out of security checked area) where you are greeted by a loved one or friend which is always nice, and from the main hall you are just another 5-10 steps away from the fresh out side air(Baggage claim usually isn't that bad but I can understand a few complaints there). As for departing passengers the story is very much the same. 10 steps to check in, 10-20 steps to your gate. How much more simpler can you get? And for people who are connecting at MCI, I have rarely heard such a story except for maybe YX or WN which in those cases all (or most) of the gates are located in just one security checked area... And don't worry about food or the bathroom, there's a small Wolfgang Puck or something called like that that has sandwiches and cokes so what more do you need?

I am sorry but I really don't think MCI deserves that much complaining because it is no ORD, or DFW and most likely never will be. I think the way it is set up now is just perfect and I like the design how you can be outside with your family, or inside getting excited and jumpy about flying again and only be a couple steps (ok a little exagerated) away.

Cheers


User currently offlineMCIGuy From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1936 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2513 times:



Quoting N911YX (Reply 4):
The terminal set-up (curb to gate) is loved by the locals for its convenience.

Absolutley, I love it! I can go curb to gate in seconds, literally. I've gotten there 10 minutes before my flight and still made it in time, with online check-in, of course. I'm not crazy about being 30 miles from my house, though.  Smile
Of course, I'm barely old enough to have flown out of MKC before MCI openened. No jetways and a large river at both ends of the runway!  Wow! Big grin



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User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2360 times:



Quoting AvConsultant (Reply 9):
park in front of your terminal and checking luggage there is a good chance your return flight not be in front of your car.

After about the 43rd time that happened to me, I gave up completely on airport parking, and now always park in off-site lots with shuttle service. Cheaper also.


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