DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- With a reggae band belting out hot Caribbean tunes before dawn, DFW's nationally recognized Holiday Helpers program debuted in International Terminal D this morning, heralding the first major holiday season celebrated in the Airport's 2-million square-foot international facility. The Airport expects more than 2.2 million passengers to travel through DFW from November 17 through November 29, a slight increase from last year's total of 2.1 million travelers.
Passengers in International Terminal D and throughout DFW's four other terminals will be serenaded today with holiday music, and Airport volunteers known as Holiday Helpers will be bearing treats for families and children. Travelers will also have an opportunity to sign postcards for soldiers departing the Airport for Iraq and Afghanistan, and an opportunity to meet some of the Texas artists in Terminal D's acclaimed art program.
DFW concessionaires are also getting into the spirit with holiday offers for free internet access, the chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and tasty deals on everything from ice cream to barbeque.
"This very first holiday season inside of International Terminal D is very special, and we want to make sure all of our local residents as well as international visitors enjoy a terrific experience here as well as in our other four terminals, " said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW International Airport. "Our employees join together with our Airport Ambassadors to create this holiday spirit, and that's something we think makes DFW truly unique during the hectic travel season."
More Flights, More Competition
DFW's travel forecast of 2.2 million passengers and a modest increase in air traffic from last Thanksgiving reflects the Airport's continued recovery from the massive downsizing of Delta Air Lines at DFW earlier this year. However, there are certainly bright spots in new airline business, including Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines beginning operations here and outstanding holiday fares on six low-fare carriers serving DFW.
"DFW is the airport in North Texas for airline competition and that's why we continue to forge ahead in very challenging times," said Joe Lopano, executive vice president of marketing and terminal management at DFW. "We have 25 airlines that compete here every day and that's good for our customers and good for this region."
New this November: * Alaska Airlines has begun new service to Seattle * Mexicana Airlines now services 3 cities in Mexico * US Airways has begun flights to Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. * American Airlines and American Eagle increased flights year-over-year, and have started nonstop service to over 20 new destinations this year, including their most recent additions of Osaka Japan, and Columbia, South Carolina
"Our local travel market remains very strong and these new flight options and great fares make it a great time to take off to see family or old friends or try out some exciting new places," said Lopano.
Fast Security Lines -- No Bare Feet Required
While holiday travelers consider their flight options, they will be navigating security even faster this year with enhanced efficiency across DFW's 21 checkpoints in five terminals. New procedures instituted in May have sped the process by more than 30 percent, with the majority of wait times at 12 minutes or less. Highlighting the initiative are double entry lanes at each checkpoint to keep passengers moving quickly through the pre-screening process and roomier spaces past the screening stations for passengers to collect their belongings.
Passengers are advised of the improvements with new signs done in easy-to-read pictograms. DFW is also providing clear plastic drawstring bags to hold valuables, and disposable slippers for those who do not want to walk barefoot on the floor after removing their shoes.
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Overall, 16.3 million passengers have flown through DFW since Memorial Day, buoyed by lower fares, new destinations and new airlines.