Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2000 3:49 am

Why Is DFW Such A Lousy Airport

Tue Sep 11, 2001 3:20 pm

I usually don't like being critical of places or airports, but DFW has gotten on my nerves. I fly about 170,000 miles each year and I don't think there is a place I hate more than DFW. I normally fly UA so I can go through a decent hub, but I was forced to fly AA last friday because of flight times to Austin. I don't know who designed the place, but it is absolutely lousy for connections. I've changed through DFW a considerable amount of times (not by my choice) and I always have bad experiences. I've been stranded in the god awful city of Dallas on 3 occasions. Anyway, I apologize for my outburst, but I needed to get it off my chest. Thankfully I get to connect in ORD or DEN for all my flights the rest of the year. I'd love to see AA dump Dallas in favor of St. Louis (I guess that's just a dream).
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RE: Why Is DFW Such A Lousy Airport

Tue Sep 11, 2001 4:18 pm

First of all, I am from Dallas and I have to say it is one of the most wonderful cities to live in. Valet everywhere! Haha. Wonderful places to eat, nice hotels, and the damn southern charm with a cosmopolitan flair. Oh yeah, and wonderful people everywhere. It is an amazing city. I lived in Boston for a while, and it doesn't compare to Dallas.

The DFW airport isn't actually situated in Dallas. It is in Irving and between Dallas to the east and Fort Worth to the west. As far as the DFW airport, it was designed with the idea that you could just drive up to the gate that you are going to depart from. In fact, DFW and AA have two radio stations on AM, one for departures, one for arrivals so you can pull up to the gate or baggage claim of your gate. The problem with DFW is getting from gate C29 to A1 or similar. With the crescent shape DFW's terminals are in, it makes it hard to have moving walkways and proper transportation. However, this all should change with the coming of the new international terminal, which BTW is not going to be crescent shaped. With the introduction of the new terminal, DFW will also be introducing a new billion some odd dollar transportation system that will be effecient and get people to their gates better than the current TrAAms that operate between DFW's terminals. DFW is actually an excellent airport for the volume of passengers that fly through it, but the design makes me wonder if it was intended to be a hub airport for connections or if it was intended to be just a destination only airport. But let me tell you, in all airports, it depends on where you arrive and where you depart from in making connections. If your arrival gate is far from your departure gate, no matter where, you will run into time issues, not just at DFW, but I can understand your frustration with DFW. However, it has proved to be an excellent hub for AA and even Delta, and don't expect AA to pull out of DFW anytime in the forseeable future. AA's home is in Dallas, and they are here to stay. AA is the biggest airline in the world, and as us texans know, everything is bigger in TexAAs.

"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way

RE: Why Is DFW Such A Lousy Airport

Tue Sep 11, 2001 6:56 pm

AA is more likely to abandon St. Louis than to ever drop one flight from DFW.

My biggest beef with DFW is the weather, ice storms in the winter and 55,000 ft top thunderstorms the rest of the year.

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Tue Sep 11, 2001 7:50 pm

...as Ual747 suspected (but did not know for certain), DFW was not built as a "hub & spoke" airport; when designed in the late sixties (it opened in 1973, if I recall correctly), the fully-regulated airline industry was dominated by point-to-point service and protected routes and regions for carriers.

DFW was exqusitely designed for that kind of service, which is (in turn) terrible for connections (really, only a problem for connections on AA, since AA expanded beyond having one terminal). Also, design was committed before security checkpoints were envisioned, and the terminals have never been very good for that either.

Amazing, really, to recall that when the airport opened, AA had only 1/2 of a terminal (shared with Eastern), and only Braniff international Airways had enough traffic to have its own terminal.

At that time we had AA, BN, EA, CO, DL, TI (Texas international) and Ozark.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
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RE: Why Is DFW Such A Lousy Airport

Tue Sep 11, 2001 9:46 pm

When I lived in Ft. Worth I spent a lot of time around DFW. Those were the days. 707's, 727's, and 747's were in aabundance. The Concorde was even there for a while.

I don't think DFW is a "lousy" airport, but it's certainly not what it used to be. I personally like it, but it can be a pain.

The main problem at DFW, imo, is American Airlines. After deregulation Braniff decided to start service to almost everywhere. AA was right on their tails. That, imo, is when DFW started becoming a "super-port". Later, after BN's demise, AA became a mega-carrier, and made DFW what it is today. AA now has 3 terminals at DFW, and it wouldn't surprise me if they added a 4th. in a few years. I suspect if you were using DL, CO, UA, or one of the other carriers at DFW it wouldn't seem so bad.

DFW can be a real pain for AA passengers. Many of us know that from experience. I have had flights arrive at one end of 3W (or whatever they're calling it now), and my connecting flight at the opposite end of the other terminal. Even with the trAAm, it's a real pain getting cross country. People who haven't been to DFW may not believe this but in some cases your AA connection can be over a mile away! And God help you if you are connecting to another carrier.

I don't think there's any quick and easy answer to DFW's problems. The new international terminal will help some, but it isn't a cure-all. As long as AA, or any other carrier, uses a big airport such as DFW for its principal hub there are going to be problems. I'm afraid that we who travel are going to have to put up with it as the price we pay for getting to wherever we're going.

Btw, the last I heard DFW was in Grapevine, not Irving. One of the eastern runways is in Irving, but I thought the airport proper was in Grapevine. If that is wrong I will stand corrected.
Flying Colors Forever!
Matt D
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RE: Why Is DFW Such A Lousy Airport

Tue Sep 11, 2001 10:11 pm

I took my first trip to DFW this last Memorial Day Weekend (thanks again to Jay Davis for picking me up and showing me around.) and I LOVED it!

Ok, so the airport left a lot to be desired from a photography standpoint. The tinted windows in the terminals and my puny 300MM zoom lens just won't cut it. But I found the terminal to be clean, aesthetically pleasing, and relatively user friendly. Ok, I didn't have to change planes.

And as for the city of Dallas, and the surrounding areas, I think it's a nice town. All of the people I came in contact with were leaps and bounds friendlier than the @$$holes I'm used to encountering here in SoCal. The freeways were easy to navigate. I drove around, and never had a map, and never got lost. There was very little traffic, and the weather was beautiful.

Either I was very lucky that weekend, or these gripes are very unfounded.

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