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Guide to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

Often referred to as DFW Airport, Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) is the major airport serving not just the Dallas-Fort Worth area but also the whole region of North Texas. It is the biggest hub for American Airlines and ranked third in the world in terms of aircraft movement and second-busiest in passenger numbers.

DFW is located midway between Dallas and Fort Worth and occupies over 17,000 acres of land making it bigger than the whole of Manhattan Island in New York and the second-largest airport in the United States behind Denver International.

The airport and surrounding acreage is considered large enough to have been allocated its own American Zip Code and boasts its own post office and police force as well as fire and medical services.

Currently, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport operates flights to 260 destinations worldwide and is used by 28 airline companies.

DFW Airport History

Even before the city of Dallas opened its own airport, the City Council proposed a joint venture with nearby Fort Worth to build an airport that would serve both cities. This proposal was turned down by Fort Worth officials in 1927 with the result that each city built its own airport which were named Love Field, six miles from Dallas, and Meacham Field located five miles north of Fort Worth.

A joint airport was again proposed in 1940 with the new airfield to be built near the city of Arlington but, once again, the authorities of Dallas and Forth Worth disagreed and the plan was shelved in 1942. Following the end of World War II, a new airport was built by Forth Worth authorities and named Amon Carter Field. By 1953, all operations had been transferred from Meacham Field to the Amon Carter site which was located just 12 miles from Dallas Love Field. In 1960, it was renamed Greater Southwest International Airport but the change of name failed to yield the hoped-for commercial upturn as Greater Southwest Airport only received 1% of all Texas air traffic while the airport near Dallas received almost 50%.

The concept of a joint airport resurfaced in the sixties as business declined at Greater Southwest and Love Field struggled to cope with the demands placed upon it. A vote was taken and Dallas and Forth Worth came to agreement on a suitable location for a new airport that was to be built halfway between the two cities.

The new site was purchased in 1966 and construction work commenced in 1969. The new airport was provisionally named the North Texas Regional Airport with the official opening taking place in September of 1973. When commercial services began in 1974, the airport had undergone another name change and was now called Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport. The present day title of Dallas/Fort Worth International International Airport didn't come about until 1995 and the airport was given the IATA (International Air Transport Association) designation code DFW.

Terminals Guide

There are five terminals at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, denoted A to E, with Terminal D being the international terminal. Terminals A, B, C and E are semicircular in shape with parking areas contained within the arms of the semicircle. Terminal D is the exception as it forms a rectangle but again has its parking area located within the rectangle's arms.

The International Parkway splits the airport in half with Terminals A, C and E located on the eastern side of the road and Terminals B, D and a large parking area to the west.

Terminals A and B are directly opposite each other and are connected by a walkway and the same applies to Terminals C and D. Terminal E, however, stands on its own and is not connected to any of the other terminals by a walkway.

Terminal A

Terminal A is divided into two areas: East and West. Both areas have check-in and baggage claim facilities and is the principal domain of American Airlines.

Terminal B

Terminal B is exclusively for the use of American Eagle (a regional arm of American Airlines).

Terminal C

American Airlines also operate out of Terminal C.

Terminal D

This is the principal international terminal and used by many of the world's biggest airlines.

Terminal E

Most of the American and Canadian airlines use Terminal E including Delta, JetBlue, Air Canada and Alaska Airlines.

It is possible to get around the airport on foot, yet distances can be long and time consuming. However, Dallas/Fort Worth has an excellent SkyLink train which has considerably reduced any unnecessary walking.

The SkyLink is an automated people carrier that operates airside within the security area. The system links to all five terminals and takes approximately 18 minutes to complete a full circuit of the airport while the greatest distance between two terminals takes around 9 minutes. It should be noted that the SkyLink services can be cancelled or suspended in adverse weather conditions as it runs outdoors between terminals.

Airline Companies and Allotted Terminals

Although Terminal D is recognised as being the international terminal at Dallas/Fort Worth it is not the only terminal catering to international arrivals and departures as can be seen from the following guide:

Terminal A

Air France, American Airlines,

Terminal B

American Eagle (American Airlines)

Terminal C

American Airlines

Terminal D

Emirates, Qatar Airways, British Airways, AeroMexico Airlines, Volaris Airlines, Interjet, Japan Airlines, Viva Aerobus, American Airlines, Avianca Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Korean Air, Qantas, Lufthansa

Terminal E

JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Air Canada, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines

Regardless of which terminal non-American visitors arrive at they will be directed through the secure area to immigration and customs checkpoints.

Multiple Checkpoints

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport is known for having more checkpoints than other large airports and there are multiple security checkpoints in each of the terminals. Regular visitors to the United States can avail of Global Entry which is designed to expedite customs checks after international travel.

Global Entry Program

Operated by the Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agency, the Global Entry Program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and nationals from a specific list of countries which includes the European nations of Germany, Holland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Having passed an interview and background check, accepted members of the Global Entry Program may use the Global Entry Customs kiosks located in many of the major U.S. airports including Dallas/Fort Worth. Global Entry members can avoid queues by using one of the kiosks provided which uses facial recognition or fingerprint matching software to clear the member for entry to the United States.

ESTA and Visas

Regardless of whether a visiting foreign national is a member of the Global Entry Program or not, he or she must possess a valid passport that has been ESTA approved. ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and replaces the old paper visa system of years gone by and is available to citizens of countries in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

By means of a detailed questionnaire, followed by an in-depth background check, the system determines whether an applicant should be granted an ESTA and thereby allowed enter the United States or not. Once granted, the ESTA is electronically linked to the applicant's passport and will show up during screening at immigration control checkpoints. It should be noted that while an ESTA is a mandatory requirement it does not guarantee a right of entry as the final decision rests with the CBP agent on duty.

Transfers and Ground Transportation

As with any major American airport, there are several options available for getting to and from Dallas/Fort Worth International.


The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Route 230 runs between the airport and downtown Dallas while TRE Link buses operate from both Dallas and Fort Worth to DFW.


There are three rail operators serving Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.


The DART Orange Line runs seven days a week from downtown Dallas to Terminal A


TEXRail operates a commuter train from Fort Worth to Terminal B

Trinity Railway Express

Trinity Railway Express runs from DFW Airport Station and serves both Dallas and Fort Worth

Taxis are plentiful at Dallas/Fort Worth as are the usual car rental firms. Travel time by car to both Dallas and Fort Worth is around 25 minutes as the two cities are almost equidistant from the airport.