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How to navigate DFW Airport: The second-busiest airport in the world for passengers

To help make your entire process at the DFW International Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from terminals and parking to details on the airport’s 260 nonstop routes worldwide.

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Fly me to the moon with TSA PreCheck. | Photo by @dfwairport

Table of Contents

Traveling via plane is fun — jet-setting over beautiful blue waters or rolling hills, taking in cloud formations, and landing in a completely different location in a matter of hours is unlike anything else. The whole navigating the airport part? Less exciting, and sometimes pretty stressful.

To help make your time at DFW International Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from terminals and parking to details for the third-busiest airport in the world for passengers— serving 79.7 million customers in 2023.

Plus, North America’s largest airport is celebrating 50 years this year.

What to know

  • TSA | According to DFW Airport, it takes ~10 minutes to get through security during off-peak hours and 30+ minutes during peak hours. Track the real-time lines.
  • Map it out | If you’re like us and need to completely visualize a place before you step foot inside, this interactive map of the entire airport will be your saving grace.
  • Food and drink | Check out our easy guide for where to eat, broken down by terminal.
  • Reminder | By May 7, 2025, you will need a REAL ID to board commercial flights in the US.
  • Flight status | While we recommend staying updated via your respective airline, you can also check the airport’s dashboard for your flight status in a pinch.
FTW-Terminal F Renderings DFW Airport

DFW Airport unveils the interior renderings for Terminal F. | Video provided by DFW Airport

Airport updates

The DFW Airport recently opened five new gates — C35-39 — that were constructed off-site and installed over the summer and is planning to add another four to Terminal A by 2026.

In a 10-year deal with American Airlines, DFW Airport will add 24 new gates to prepare for future growth and innovation. The Use and Lease agreement includes $4.8 billion in pre-approved capital investments including the construction of a sixth terminal, renovations, and gate expansions.

In the agreement, the airport will invest $2.7 billion for the expansion of the Central Terminal Area — including a “major reimagining” of Terminal C.

New plans will use $1.6 billion to build Terminal F south of Terminal D with a 15-gate concourse, for now. Construction on Phase One is expected to start late next year and wrap up by 2026.

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Planes, trains, and automobiles — the DFW Airport has transportation for all needs.

Photo by @dfwairport

Parking, transit, and rideshare

Not everyone has a bestie who will drop everything to pick them up from their 3 a.m. landing. Schedule your parking in advance for a hassle-free travel day and save up to 50% on parking. The price per day is as listed:

  • Terminal | $27/day
  • Express | $15/day for uncovered or $18/day for covered
  • Remote South Lot | $12/day (Note: The Remote North Lot is currently closed.)
  • Valet | $40/day

Bonus: We’d recommend the Parking Spot North and South if you’re going to be traveling for several days. The safe and convenient service is just outside the airport’s property and is only $11 per day.

Because DFW Airport is so big, you can hop on the Terminal Link shuttle or Skylink monorail to get where you’re going.

Hate the thought of driving yourself? Try taking a shuttle, rideshare, or taxi service that will take you to and from the terminal. These services are suggested by the DFW Airport:

  • DART| Public transit | Head to Terminal A to commute to Dallas for under $2-$6.
  • TRE | Public transit | Hop on the TRE Link shuttle in Terminal B to catch the commuter rail.
  • Uber | Rideshare | Exit your terminal under the rideshare sign near the baggage claim to catch your ride.
  • Lyft | Rideshare | Remember to accommodate the amount of luggage in your party.
  • 15+ cab companies | Taxi | An airport guest assistant is available 8 a.m.-12 a.m. to help you secure service from one of the DFW Airport-recommended cab companies.
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Sometimes, you just need to get away.

Photo by @rabiation

Nonstop flights

DFW Airport offers 260 nonstop destinations — 193 domestic that go to all 50 US states, plus 65 international destinations to 36 countries.

Pro tip: Remember that flight times and schedules will often change you should rely on your respective airline for exact timing and to stay updated on any changes.

Here are five nonstop flights to local destinations.

  • Miami, FL | American Airlines, Frontier, Spirit | Daily | Miami is a year-round destination if you want to spend some time in the Florida sun.
  • Boston, MA | Delta, JetBlue, American Airlines | Daily | Although Dunkin’ calls the Boston area home (we’re talking 60+ locations), let these local coffee shops keep you caffeinated.
  • Austin, TX | American Airlines | Daily | If you’re traveling from Cowtown to the Live Music Capital of the World, you’ll need this guide to 23 local music venues.
  • Denver, CO | Frontier, United, American Airlines | Daily | The Mile High City has perfect access to skiing + hiking, as well as a bustling arts and culture scene.
  • Honolulu, HI | American Airlines | Daily | Get ready for sun all year round, fresh poke, and sand between your toes on this tropical island.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines added new flights from DFW Airport this year. Here’s a look at the new nonstop destinations:

  • Brisbane, Australia | American Airlines, Qantas | Daily seasonal service begins October 27
  • Veracruz, Mexico | American Airlines | Daily service starts June 12
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | American Airlines | Daily seasonal service begins October 27 |
  • Kona, Hawaii | American Airlines | Daily seasonal service beginning October 27

Here are five nonstop flights to international destinations.

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Swing by Terminal C to see the new gates with lifesize tree sculptures.

Photo by DFW Airport.

Terminals

Here are the five terminals with popular food and drink options, lounges, and stores nearby:

  • Terminal A | American Airlines | Nearby services: Kick back at the Dallas Cowboys Club for elevated Tex-Mex or level up your travel experience in the American Airlines Admiral Club. Bonus: grab a Cowboys t-shirt at the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop.
  • Terminal B | American Eagle | Nearby services: Stop by the USO Lounge or load up on Cousin’s BBQ. Headed somewhere chilly? Pick up a pullover from Eddie Bauer.
  • Terminal C | American Airlines | Nearby services: Rest at the connected Hyatt Regency Hotel and grab a breakfast pastry from Whisk and Bowl on your way to an early flight. Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth at Sugarphoria.
  • Terminal D | International flights | Nearby services: Grab your hometown’s favorite Whataburger or stop into one of the eight global lounges on your way out of the country. Plus, travel in style after a quick shopping spree at the many luxury stores.
  • Terminal E | Air Canada, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, United, and Westjet | Nearby services: Grab a quick bite at Chef Tim Love’s Love Shack or four premium lounges. Pick up a “Don’t Mess with Texas” souvenir from Texas Marketplace.

Fly comfortably

While we may not be able to offer solutions for crying babies or mysterious in-flight meals, we do have some tricks up our sleeves for upping your comfort while flying. Browse some of our favorite travel essentials:

  • Lights Out Sleep Mask | This eye mask provides optimal comfort and aids restful sleep amidst changing environments and varying light conditions.
  • The AirFly Pro | Make sure you can always access in-flight entertainment (while avoiding the wired headphones airlines pass out) by using an AirFly. It plugs into your seat’s headphone jack and connects to your earbuds or headphones via Bluetooth.
  • Trtl travel pillow | The Trtl pillow is scientifically designed to provide a better head position when sleeping upright, thanks to an internal support system comfortably cushioned in cozy fleece.
  • Leather Dopp Kit | Keep your essentials organized and easily accessible, ensuring hassle-free journeys wherever you go.
  • Bose Noise Canceling Headphones | These headphones are tried-and-true traveling companions, beloved for their crisp sound and ability to block exterior noise.
  • Cozy Earth joggers | These Oprah-approved joggers are polished enough to navigate the airport in, but comfy and stretchy enough for long flights.
  • Snacks | Bringing your own snacks ensures dietary preferences are met — plus, you’ll save time and money while traveling.
  • Anti-nausea wristbands | Some simple anti-nausea wristbands might relieve a nervous stomach or sensitivity to turbulence while flying.
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