Therapy Dogs, Art Classes and Free Parking: Your Guide to Surviving the Airport This Thanksgiving

DFW and Love Field are both doing their best to make you missing your flight as painless as possible this holiday season.

The good news is, it isn't 2014. That year, Love Field was stone-out of parking spaces by the middle of the day on Thanksgiving, leaving travelers to hopelessly circle the airport or just head home to return on DART. In the two years since, Love Field has added about 2,000 spaces to the 4,000 it already had, inching capacity up to the 8,000 spaces it intends to provide by the end of 2017.

The not as good news is that traveling out of either of DFW's major airports over the next couple of days is still going to be a bear. Both airports warn that flyers should get to the airport a couple of hours early to find parking, navigate security lines and deal with the biggest flying days of the year. As an incentive to be early, Love Field is providing travelers with free art classes.

DFW never comes close to running out of parking, thanks to more than 20,000 remote, express and terminal spaces. They are encouraging early arrivers by offering seven days of free terminal parking for the first 1,000 cars that show up after 6 a.m. on Wednesday. The airport is also deploying an army of therapy dogs, who'll be on hand to help with travel anxiety. "Thanksgiving gives everyone at DFW a chance to show how thankful we are for our customers by ensuring their DFW travel experience will be a seamless and enjoyable one," Ken Buchanan, executive vice president of Revenue Management at DFW Airport, said last week.

Most of Love Field's new parking spots are in the Love Connection lot, a remote lot located at the intersection of Mockingbird Lane and Harry Hines Boulevard. Shuttles from the lot run every 15 to 20 minutes, 24 hours a day. To help people find the new lot, Love Field installed what it calls a parking guidance system (it's really just a handful of electronic signs) to guide would-be travelers to available spaces, wherever they might be.

While Love Connection parking is less than half as expensive as Love Field's primary garage at $6 a day, both DFW and Love Field officials recommend getting to their airports by other means during the holidays, if possible. A DART trip from anywhere in the transit system's service area to either of the airports is just $2.50 one way. If you prefer ride-sharing, taking an Uber from downtown to Love Field runs about $10, while doing the same from downtown to DFW generally runs about $25.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young