With the nation’s longest light rail network and a new Orange Line extension, D/FW travelers have a new great option for getting to and from D/FW Airport. With a location far outside the city center, D/FW has long has the disadvantage of being less convenient than Love Field for central city dwellers and visitors in Dallas. While the Orange Line extensions hasn’t physically relocated D/FW closer to Downtown Dallas, new rail access directly to Terminal A has sure made it a lot easier. Love Field also has a rail station along the Orange and Green Line but unfortunately, the line was routed around the airport to save money and there is no direct terminal access. Rail riders must take the 524 DART bus from Love Field Station to the terminal and the bus frequency is about on average about every 15 minutes.
I’ve had a chance to ride the Orange Line to D/FW a few times now and it’s a breeze, even if you’re not used to riding the rail. Here are a couple of observations I’ve made and a few tips to make your trip to D/FW a tad bit stressful.
Check the route of your train depending on the time and day of the week. The Orange Line runs during peak hours from D/FW Airport to Downtown and then follows the same path as the Red Line all the way to Parker Road station. During non-peak hours, the trains terminate at LBJ/Central station.
Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour for travel. The journey from Downtown Dallas to D/FW airport is about 50 minutes. I usually try and target a train that puts me at D/FW Airport station a minimum of 1.5 hours before my departure time. That way, if I miss a bus or train connection or the Skylink is delayed, I have some cushion time.
D/FW Station is directly adjacent to Terminal A. Take the Skylink post-security to reach your terminal/gate. Sometimes I luck out and my flight (American) departs from Terminal A and I’m already where I need to be. But even if you aren’t flying American, you can still clear TSA in Terminal A and then take the Skylink to the other terminals. It’s much quicker than the inter-terminal bus which is delayed much more frequently the Skylink and you still have to clear TSA when you reach your terminal.
For TSA PreCheck flyers, keep in mind that there is rarely a dedicated PreCheck line in Terminal A. There is still TSA PreCheck option, but unfortunately, there is almost never a dedicated line, even during peak hours. They will hand you a PreCheck card so you can keep your shoes on and your bag intact. Terminal C has more a efficient PreCheck system with a dedicated entry.
I’m thrilled to have a new transit option at D/FW. I think it’s incredibly convenient to air travelers but also a boost for the D/FW economy. Express service from Downtown Dallas to the airport isn’t available yet but there are rumors that it’s a possibility in the near future.