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Five Things to Do on Your Layover at: Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

Where: Dallas-Fort Worth International [map], Dallas, TX, United States
January 12, 2011 at 9:06 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’ve all had layovers that were a little longer than initially expected. Mechanical delays, weather emergencies, and all kinds of other issues make that tight 45-minute connection turn into something extraordinary. We can’t get promise your flight will depart on time, but we can offer some time killers at the airport.

Five picks for spending a few extra hours within the terminals of DFW Airport:

· Hit The Club:
For the extended layover it might just be worth it to plop down a few bucks to gain access to the airport’s very own club. The Club at DFW doesn’t require a pricey annual membership or elite frequent flier credentials, because as long as you’re willing to pay the entry fee you’re welcomed like a VIP.

Just $35 will get you access to the lounge, and you’ll be living the comfy life of a white collar corporate drone. Expect a lot of the usual airline lounge offerings here, including free drinks—both soft and hard—as well as snacks, newspapers, televisions, WiFi, and computers. There are even some shower facilities if you’re hanging out before or after a long-haul transatlantic flight. There’s even a separate smoking section within the lounge, which might be worth the price of admission if you’re dying for a smoke.

· Time For Tacos:
Terminal D is the latest and greatest when it comes to the airport's terminals, so even if you have no business being in the terminal be sure to visit during your layover. The best shops, restaurants, and other nice stuff are all found here, including one of our favorite airport restaurants—Cantina Laredo.

We ate here not too long ago and got some kind of Chimichanga thing, and it was actually way better than we anticipated. It might have helped that we were also downing chips and guacamole along with a healthy sized margarita. Part of the appeal—to us at least—is that the restaurant is located in the terminal’s mezzanine level so you can get a bird’s eye view of the comings and goings below. If you’re craving something from south of the border be sure to swing by near Gate 27, and hopefully our recommendation will hit the spot.

· Play with the Little Ones:
If you’re toting around little ones en route to somewhere magical like Disney World or Grandma’s house, then you might want to visit one of the airport’s play areas. Traveling can be pretty stressful even without children as part of your carry-on luggage, so make your way to the play area in Terminal B and the Pepsi Junior Flyer’s Club. The kids can burn off energy as they pretend to violate the FAA’s three-hour tarmac rule on the make-believe runway along with the air traffic control tower and airplanes.

The kids are a pain to drag around—or at least that’s what we’ve heard—so luckily there’s more fun to be had in Terminals E and D as well if that’s where you land. Terminal D—that’s the nice one with the tacos and stuff from above—has some fun right around gate 33. Over in Terminal E, the plastic things to jump on and slide through are right around the bulk of the Delta airline gates. Just be sure to keep an eye on your little pilots lest they take off.

· Take It Outside:
Sometimes a layover is so long that you just need to escape the airport, so we suggest grabbing a little fresh air at DFW’s Founders’ Plaza. It’s the best place at the airport to do a little bit of plane spotting, and an airport like DFW is bound to have some good stuff to look at. In addition to the fun in the sky there are picnic tables, telescopes, historic stuff to read, and live communication from the air traffic control tower.

The park is located on the north side of the airport where Texan Trail and North Airfield Drive meet, so you’re going to need to fetch a taxi or grab a quickie rental car. As far as we know there’s no shuttle service, but maybe that’s something you can toss into the airport suggestion box.

· Take a Ride on the Train:

Any airport that has its own train is cool in our book, as there’s nothing worse than knowing you can’t visit other sections of the airport without clearing airport security a second time. Thanks to the airport’s airside Skylink you can check out the offerings in the airport’s five terminals.

It’s totally free—obviously—and trains arrive about every two minutes so you never have to wait too long. You can probably be where you want to go in about five minutes, but if you’re planning to check out each of the terminals you might want to ensure you have a enough time during your layover. Now the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop (near C27), Jethro Pugh Western Shop (around A12), Natalie’s Candy Bar (all over the place at A22, A33, B33, and D15) and the Best Buy vending machine (C31 among other gates) are only a ride away.

Got a layover elsewhere? Check out our similar stories on what to do at Chicago-O'Hare, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Detroit-Metro and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

[Photos: jwalsh, miamism, and Jeff Keen]

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