Dallas Love Field Airport

DAL: 5 Things We Love About Dallas Love Field Airport

The “5 Things We Love About…” series marches on. Even though we are forced to stay on the ground and close to home.

So today we are celebrating some of the features and amenities we love at Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL).

Keep in mind that some of the things we love at DAL airport may be temporarily closed due to health concerns. But we are confident they will be back.

If we miss one of the features you love about Dallas Love Field Airport, please drop a note in the comments section below.

And be sure to take a look at some of the other airports on the “5 Things We Love About…” list. The series will continue as long as there are airports to visit. There are a lot of airports, so we will just keep this occasional feature going here on StuckatTheAirport.com

5 Things We Love About Dallas Love Field Airport

1. Live at Love Stage

The Live at Love Stage at DAL airport presents daily, lunchtime musical performances by local artists. The music is piped throughout the terminal, so you can still enjoy the music at your gate, in a restaurant or a shop.

2. The Love Field Art Program

Love Field has a robust art program, with both permanent artwork and changing exhibitions to enjoy both before and after security. You can even join an airport art tour.

3. The LBJ Plaque

Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office as President aboard Air Force One as it sat parked on the ramp at Dallas Love Field.

Johnson is the only President sworn-in west of the Mississippi River and an exhibit at the Love Field Observation Deck recognizes the event with a plaque and a presidential seal on loan from Amy & Farris Rookstool, III

At night, a light illuminates another plaque out on the aircraft apron that shows the exact location of Air Force One at the swearing-in.

Here’s a note from Mr. Rookstool:

 “I spent 11 years working on honoring this Presidential History at Dallas Love Field. As a child I was at DAL on November 22, 1963. Never in a million years would I have ever imagined that I would be the historian responsible for marking this historic site at the airport. The LBJ inauguration was the first and only time a President has ever been sworn in aboard and aircraft (Air Force One) at an airport.

4. Lil’ Love Lounge at Love Field

The children’s play area at Dallas Love Field Airport was a popular spot before it had to temporarily close due to COVID-19 health concerns. DAL officials promise it is coming back with a fresh new theme.

5. The Souvenirs at DAL Airport

Here at StuckatTheAirport.com, we’re a big fan of quirky, locally-themed souvenirs. The shops at Dallas Love Field Airport offer plenty of options.

Did we miss one of your favorite amenities at Dallas Love Field Airport? Let us know in the comments section below.

What airport should we feature next?

Texas Ranger statue removed from Dallas Love Field

Courtesy Dallas Love Field

Statues are toppling and being taken down around the country because the historical figures they portray had a role in the oppression of others.

Included in this movement is the removal of the iconic Texas Ranger statue from the main lobby at Dallas Love Field Airport.

The 12-foot-tall bronze statue has been on display at the airport on and off since 1963 but was taken down in early June.

City officials decided to remove the statue. Their decision was prompted by published excerpts from a new book documenting the history of the Texas Rangers law enforcement agency and its connections to brutality and racism, the Dallas News reported.

In his book “Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers“, and in an article published in D Magazine, Doug J. Swanson explains how during almost 200 years of patrolling Texas, many Texas Rangers “performed countless acts of bravery and heroism.”

But, Swanson says, some Texas Rangers were also responsible for “terrifying atrocities, including massacres on the Texas-Mexico border.”

The Texas Ranger statue that was at Dallas Love Field turned out to be especially problematic.

Sgt. E.J. “Jay” Banks, the Texas Ranger who served as the model for the statue at Dallas Love Field, was the commanding Ranger on the scene in 1956 when attempts were made to integrate the high school in Mansfield, near Dallas.

“But unlike state police in other Southern racial hotspots, the Rangers in Mansfield did not escort black students past howling mobs of white supremacists. They had been sent instead to keep the black children out of a white school,” Swanson writes, “A wire service photo showed [Banks] casually leaning against a tree outside Mansfield High. To his left, above the school’s entrance, was a dummy in blackface, hanging from a noose.”

What will happen to the statue – the spot it once filled at Dallas Love Field Airport?

According to an airport spokesman, “It has been placed into storage and the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture will lead the conversations and decisions as to what will happen to it next. There is no plan at this time to place anything else in that space.”

Nintendo’s pop-up airport lounges

Nintendo pop-up lounge at Dallas Love Field

Calling all Nintendo fans. Or anyone wanting some entertainment while they’re stuck at the airport.

Nintendo has rolled out a cluster of pop-up game lounges at four airports just in time for the spring break travel season,

The Nintendo Switch On The Go pop-up airport lounges are at Washington Dulles (IAD), Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA), O’Hare International (ORD) and Dallas Love Field (DAL) airports.

Each lounge gives travelers hands-on time with game demos using Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

According to Nintendo, anyone who visits one of these Switch On The Go lounges can order Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems and receive a free carrying case with their order.

Another promised bonus for anyone who stops by is a free Nintendo Switch branded luggage handle wrap and a $10 coupon from Target to use on any Nintendo purchase of $75 or more – “available while supplies last.”

Nintendo pop-up lounge at SEA airport

But: We stopped by the SEA pop-up lounge on Monday, the first day Nintendo’s pop-up lounge was opened. Although the attendants were friendly and chatty and offered to take our photo, no luggage handle wraps or coupons were offered. So, if you’re interested in that, be sure to speak up.  

Look for the pop-up lounges through March 29, 2020 at these airports:

Top airports share their secrets to success

What ‘secret weapons’ do airports use to make passengers happy? For my most recent “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY, I asked some of the ‘winners’ in the most recent JD Power suvey to share what they think makes their airports stand out against others.

Airports around the country are dealing wiht record high passenger volumes and a wave of major terminal construction projects. Yet, U.S. airports are doing a bang-up job of pleasing passengers.

That’s the major take-away from the 2018 North America Airport Satisfaction Study recently released by J.D. Power, which ranks everything from airlines and airports to electronics and cars.

The study says travelers’ overall satisfaction with airports is at a record high, based on factors such as terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.

Of course, some airports rank higher in the study than others. And when we quizzed ‘winners’ about the secrets to their success, “a commitment to customer service” emerged as a universal theme. But so too did did a keen, good-hearted sense of competition.

The ‘mega’ airports

 

Among ‘mega’ airports – those serving more than 32.5 million annual passengers – Orlando International Airport (the 2017 category winner) and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas tied for first place.

Orlando International (MCO), Florida’s busiest airport, credits its return win to “a seamless arrival and departure experience that exceeds the needs of the traveler and instills a memorable imprint of the culture and environment of the region.”

The airport is meeting milestones in its $4.27 billion Capital Improvement Plan and has completed a variety of ‘passenger-pleasing’ projects ranging from improved Wi-Fi and baggage systems to a people mover system that transports passengers over waterways and landscape that evoke the Florida sense of place.

When McCarran International Airport (LAS) landed in the number 3 slot in J.D. Power’s ‘mega’ category last year, Rosemary Vassiliadis, Director of Aviation for Clark County, Nevada,  gathered her team together to strategize how to move up to first place.

“It’s personal for us,” said Vassiliadis, “Las Vegas is a destination city and our airport offers the first and last look for almost 50% of the people who visit. We want to let them know how much their visit means to us.”

To gain its first-place tie this year, LAS teams focused on upgrading terminal spaces, smoothing out checkpoint experiences and perfecting the “You’re in Vegas” vibe that includes slot machines, a neon “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, and a curated “Voices of Vegas” taped music program highlighting iconic Vegas acts and songs that name check the city.

At Detroit Metropolitan Airport (ranked third in this category this year) logo welcome mats have replaced industrial black runners. DTW officials also credit high passenger satisfaction ratings to amenities such as new nursing rooms, water bottle refill stations and light fixtures that can be programmed with seasonal and sport-team colors.

At Denver International Airport, which placed fourth in the ‘mega’ category this year, the secret to success is always looking for ways to “surprise and delight passengers,” said airport spokeswoman Emily Williams.

DEN offers everything from a Canine Airport Therapy Squad (that includes a cat) to airport events in an outdoor plaza that have featured a beer garden and an ice-skating rink.

And during its current terminal renovation project, DEN is having success delighting passengers with a series of “Pardon our dust” messages that embrace the conspiracy theories and rumors of alien inhabitants that date back to 1995, when the airport opened.

The best ‘large’ airports

Among ‘large’ airports serving 10 million to 32.4 million passengers California’s John Wayne Airport, in Orange County, ranked highest this year; Dallas Love Field ranked second and Oregon’s Portland International Airport ranked third.

John Wayne Airport 2006

With a departure curfew, passenger and flights caps and just 505 acres, “We’re a postage stamp of an airport, but passengers like our airport’s convenience.” said Deanne Thompson, spokeswoman for John Wayne Airport (SNA), which is located about an hour from LAX.

At SNA, passengers also appreciate ‘extras’ such as water bottle refill stations, pet relief areas, the vibrant art program and the nursing mothers lounge with adjustable lighting, said Thompson, “All amenities that make travel easy.”

Dallas Love Field Airport, which must contend with a gate cap, credits its customer satisfaction success to “personal touch and high-quality customer service.”

The airport offers a live weekday lunchtime music performance program, permanent and changing art exhibitions, a public piano, a children’s play area and information booths that are staffed from 5 a.m. until the last flight.

And at Oregon’s Portland International Airport, passengers enjoy the wide selection of local and regional shops and restaurants, true street pricing and a suite of amenities that includes a free movie theater, said PDX spokeswoman Kama Simonds.

“The secret sauce? The folks who work at PDX, who have an awesome sense of pride in the work they do and the travelers they interact with,” said Simonds, “And as we all know from when we’re travelers, that makes the whole experience that much better.”

The best ‘Medium’ airports

Among medium sized airports – those serving between 3 million and 9.9 million passengers – this year Buffalo Niagara International Airport ranks the highest, followed by Indianapolis International Airport and Fort Myers/Southwest Florida International.

 

In addition to focusing on customer service, “We also do things that go above and beyond,” said Kimberley Minkel, executive director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The airport has a branch of the Anchor Bar where Buffalo chicken wings were invented and the second largest ‘Paws of Love’ therapy dog program in the country. Thanks in large part to BUF’s award winning snow removal team, the airport never closes.

Among its ‘secret weapons,’ Indianapolis International Airport cites its bright, wide-open spaces and amenities such as human-powered charging kiosks and an extensive permanent and rotating art exhibition program. Events at the airport often mirror what’s happening in town: i.e. during Indianapolis 500 season, IND hosts a panel with drivers sharing stories of their racing experiences.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0084.JPG

And a Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, “Our secret to success is the sense of place at our facilities,” said RSW spokeswoman Victoria Moreland, “In the terminal you can look out huge windows at the busy ramp and runway areas while sitting at a table under a palm tree.”

Do you agree with these rankings? And have you noticed these ‘secret weapons’ employed?

Art program taking off at Dallas Love Field Airport

Dallas Love Field Sign

There’s been lots of news about new air service coming to Dallas Love Field, but the airport art program is also getting revved up. Nine new commissions have been added to the five already installed and there more are on the way.

Here’s a selection:

DixieFriendGayMuralfromBalcony

This mosaic mural greeting passengers in the main lobby – North Texas Sunrise, by Dixie Friend Gay – is 60 feet long and 18 feet high and depicts a Dallas sunrise breaking over a field of Texas wildflowers.

Torus

Sky, by Brower Hatcher, is made of intertwined light weight fiberglass rods and includes 3000 flying objects ranging from modern airplanes and biplanes to birds, bees and clouds, with small LED chip lights that create atmospheric effects.

CohnGoldberg_Love_Night View of 4

Julie Cohn and Diana Goldberg’s six 10-foot-tall Luminaria greet visitors at the airport entrance.

InFlight-Full-PaulMarioni

And In Flight, by Paul Marioni, is a terrazzo floor that features birds flying over a changing skyscape.

InFlight-Closeup-PaulMarioniTake a look here to find out more about the program.