04:08 AM

DFW Airport Rolls Out Live Bands, Holiday Helpers For Thanksgiving Travel Rush

Holiday Travel Up 8 Percent --- New Terminal Link Service Draws Rave Reviews

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas (Nov. 26, 2003) — DFW Airport struck up the bands and turned out the volunteers today as more than two million passengers are expected through DFW Airport during this Thanksgiving holiday week, an eight percent increase from last year.

The busiest travel week so far in 2003 began last Friday. DFW’s forecast reflects the continued recovery of the economy and the airline industry. DFW is expected to serve 2.012 million passengers though Tuesday, Dec. 2 and handle three of the busiest travel days of the entire year. Last year, during the same holiday period, DFW served 1.858 million passengers. In 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, DFW handled 1.3 million passengers.

"We continue to be encouraged by this year's increased travel volumes and we’re ready for all our additional travelers with some great holiday hospitality," says Joe Lopano, executive vice president at DFW Airport.

The latest customer service addition at DFW is already drawing rave reviews. Terminal Link, direct terminal-to-terminal van service carried more than 700 passengers on Monday, its first day of operation. The new service solves the decades-old problem at DFW of flying out of one terminal, coming back to another, and being displaced. Terminal Link is replacing the 30-year old Airport Train, which will retire in the coming months.

“Our guests are telling us this is the best thing we’ve done for them since the upgrading and simplifying of the parking services,“ says Lopano.

DFW's Holiday Helpers are in the terminals today, one of the busiest travel days of the Thanksgiving season. More than 100 airport employee volunteers will join Airport Ambassadors in assisting travelers, helping families traveling with small children, and providing a positive presence for all. Children will be treated to free crayons, coloring books and Thanksgiving candy. All will enjoy popcorn, cotton candy and soft drink sampling, courtesy of Pepsi. The volunteers will also be distributing free Internet access cards courtesy of Neptune Networks, which has more than 50 locations at DFW. The Holiday Helpers program is in its third year, born during the 9/11 attacks.

DFW’s security lines remain among the fastest in the country, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Airport’s own timing. Holiday Helpers and Ambassadors will be monitoring the lines throughout the day to assist passengers and direct them to a nearby checkpoint with a faster entry time.

And the Airport’s live music program tuned up at 5:30 a.m., with a variety of music groups, school bands and entertainers taking to the terminals to treat holiday guests. Passengers heading to or from Mexico for the holidays will be treated to the voices and instruments of several Mariachi bands throughout the day, and the rest of the musical feast will range from gospel and country to tango and flamenco.

"Our local musicians really enjoy playing the grand stage that is DFW Airport, and it’s a entertaining way to get everyone in a holiday mood,“ says Ken Capps, vice president, public affairs at DFW. “We even get bands sending us CDs and head shots to sign up to perform. This is just another way to have a little fun in the Airport during what could be a stressful travel day.”

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 latest initiative, “In, Out and Off” by linking directly to the TSA web site from the front page of the DFW’s site under “Resources”. Under this link, travelers will also find the latest parking information, details of the Airport's new Terminal Link service, TollTag use, and 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 "MediaSite" section.