04:01 AM

DFW Airport Predicting Christmas - New Year's Travel Up 9 Percent

Travelers Enjoy Holiday Helpers, Santa And Sweet Treats From Krispy Kreme Today; Airport Activates 972 574 Info For Security Updates

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas (Dec. 23, 2003) - DFW's nationallyrecognized Holiday Helpers hit the terminals early this morning, handing out reindeer antlers, candy canes and popcorn in DFW's four terminals, as the Airport predicted a strong holiday travel week and the biggest travel period for 2003 to ring in the New Year. 

The Airport predicts 3.206 million guests will travel during the Christmas/New Years period. That is 9.3 percent above last year's 2.933 million guests and 13.4 percent above 2001's 2.827 million guests.

The Airport also predicts seven of the top 10 travel days for passengers during the Christmas/New Year's period. This year's holiday travel season began on December 19 and will continue through January 5, 2004.

"We wish all our travelers a very safe and joyous holiday season with friends and family," says Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport. "It's been an extremely challenging year for the airline and airport business, but we've all made great strides in coming back, thanks to the traveling public."

"It's evident that the economy is growing stronger and travelers are taking of advantage of competitive fares and more flights," says Joe Lopano, executive vice president of marketing at DFW. "And we're showing them some good Texas hospitality today as they make the trip. We are cautiously optimistic that 2004 will be an even stronger travel year."

Meanwhile, travelers are moving quickly through the Airport's toll plazas, parking lots and checkpoints with new Level Orange security measures in place. The Airport has also activated a special information line - 972 540 INFO - so travelers can prepare for their new procedures in advance. 

DFW has launched a new holiday parking coupon that allows parkers who find Remote and Express lots full to receive a coupon and park in terminal garages at the reduced rate of $13 per day. Parkers simply request a coupon at the Remote or Express lots. DFW has more than 12,000 close-in parking spaces in terminal garages, despite the closing of one-hour parking. 

"We are trying to accommodate all of our great parking customers and this will get them even closer to their terminal at a lower price," says Lopano.

The Airport's nationally recognized Holiday Helpers program is in high gear today, with dozens of airport employees volunteering to assist passengers during this busy travel day. Holiday Helpers and Airport Ambassadors are checking security checkpoints to keep lines moving and dishing out holiday spirit along the way. Santa and Mrs. Claus are also in the terminals today spreading yuletide cheer.

Krispy Kreme donated more than 200 dozen doughnuts and set up a "dipping station" in Terminal A to allow sweet-toothed travelers a chance to custom sprinkle their doughnuts with a variety of toppings.

"We truly appreciate the support we receive for Holiday Helpers from community and Airport businesses, and Krispy Kreme's participation will certainly brighten some holiday faces," says Ken Capps, vice president of public affairs at DFW. "All of our sponsors go the extra mile to make our guests feel good on a busy travel day, and it's a tradition born after 9/11 that we are proud to continue."

Pepsi is offering free samples of Pepsi Vanilla and Diet Pepsi Vanilla today, and AT&T is providing complimentary access to its High Speed Internet Phone, the AT&T PP2000-i. The phone provides telephone and T-1 internet access.

One very special guest and his traveling party of eight are also on the way. DFW has opened its special SantaTracker Hotline at 972 586 NOEL so North Texas can follow Santa’s flight plan, landing and refueling at the Airport on Christmas Eve. The progress reports will begin at 12:00 p.m. on December 24, and continue until 11:00 p.m. More updates on Santa's Texas visit, including a special "SleighTV" of Santa's simulated approach to DFW is also available at www.dfwairport.com/santatracker

DFW encourages travelers to check ahead for flight status, security updates and other useful information on its Web site, www.dfwairport.com. The Airport is also supporting the Transportation Security Administration's new initiative, Prepare for Takeoff, by linking directly to the TSA web site from the front page of the DFW's site under "Holiday Resources". Under this, travelers will also find the latest parking information, which details the Airport's new, convenient and affordable options in Express and Remote Parking.

Editor's Notes: This release, and past news releases issued by DFW International Airport, are available online at www.dfwairport.com in the “Media Site” section.

For the latest news, real-time flight information, parking availability or details regarding the many services provided at DFW International Airport, log on to www.dfwairport.com. To arrange interviews contact DFW Public Affairs at 972 574 NEWS (6397) or Ken Capps, APR, Vice President Public Affairs, kcapps@dfwairport.com.