DFW or DAL? Your Guide to Choosing the Dallas Airport That’s Right for You

Dallas holds the distinction of housing two airports to serve eager travelers looking to explore Dallas and those looking to hop a flight for a getaway out of the city.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport sits between the two cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, while Dallas Love Field Airport sits just north of the downtown area.

If you’re planning a trip into or out of Dallas, knowing what each airport offers in terms of airlines, flights, destinations, and amenities will help you choose the best airport for your next journey.

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Which Airport Is Better: Dallas Fort Worth or Love Field?

It all depends on what you’re looking for! Dallas Fort Worth is the fourth-busiest airport in the US and supports international and domestic flights, while Love Field is a smaller, regional airport with fewer flights. Both have their perks depending on where and when you’re flying.

Fort Worth wins hands down in terms of amenities, which is to be expected from an airport the size of a small city. If it’s big enough to have its own police and fire departments, it’s big enough to cater to your every need: kid’s play areas, an array of lounges, art walking paths, and much more.

On the other hand, Dallas Love Field doesn’t offer many amenities or comforts. Still, it gives travelers a cheaper way to fly, with budget flights in and around the United States.

Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW)

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is the biggest airport in Texas, serving over 260 destinations so that you can travel the globe. Or very nearly most of it, in any case. 

Of the thousands of airports worldwide, not many can claim that distinction. 

You may think navigating an airport this size would be a difficult and unpleasant experience, but this Dallas airport doesn’t let its size go to its head. DFW Airport previously earned itself the title of Airport of the Year in 2019, partly because of its exceptional customer experience and streamlined operations.

With multiple options to get to the airport—including passenger drop-offs and the DFW Airport Station leading directly to Terminal A—along with moving walkways and a light rail system with two stations in each terminal, travelers have found traversing the airport’s organized layout a breeze.

Which Airlines Fly Out of DFW?

More than twenty legacy, low-cost, and foreign carriers operate out of Dallas Fort Worth Airport’s staggering one hundred and sixty-four gates, five terminals, and seven runways. 

Legacy Carriers

All four of the major legacy carriers in the US operate out of DFW, those four being Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines. 

Because the headquarters for American Airlines is in Fort Worth, the company focused its efforts on making DFW its largest hub. In those endeavors, American Airlines has succeeded.

Three of the airport’s five terminals—A, B, and C—solely service American Airlines flights. However, AA also uses gates in Terminal E, which also services Alaska, Delta, and United Airlines, and Terminal D, which acts as the airport’s international terminal. 

Unsurprisingly, most planes you’ll see taking to the Dallas skies from DFW Airport have the classic red, white, and blue stripes on their tail for American flights.

Budget Airlines

Dallas Fort Worth Airport supports its share of budget airlines as well, with another four domestic but low-cost carriers operating from its gates:

  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines

Frontier, JetBlue, and Spirit Airlines all run out of Terminal E, while Sun Country, the least well-known of these budget carriers, flies out of Terminal D.

Foreign Carriers

Finally, international carriers account for the largest number of airlines working out of DFW Airport. 

Though they operate significantly fewer flights to fewer destinations than their domestic counterparts, flyers out of the Dallas Fort Worth international terminal can travel on direct flights to London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and more through thirteen airlines.

  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • VivaAerobus
  • Volaris

These airlines all share gates in Terminal D, the international terminal, except for Air Canada, which operates from a single gate in Terminal E.

Top 10 Departures Out of DFW

With hundreds of destinations at their fingertips, travelers have an abundance of choices between domestic vacations and international getaways. But, no matter their location, gorgeous beaches and bustling city capitals topped travel plans out of Dallas in 2020.

If you’re eyeing a trip to one of these destinations yourself, check out the airlines below to see where you should look to score your next cheap flight!

  1. Los Angeles, CA
    • American, Delta, Spirit
  2. Chicago, IL
    • American, Spirit, United
  3. Atlanta, GA
    • American, Delta, Spirit
  4. New York, NY
    • American, Delta, Spirit
  5. Las Vegas, NV
    • American, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country
  6. Denver, CO
    • American, Frontier, United
  7. Cancún, Mexico
    • American, Spirit, Sun Country
  8. London, UK
    • American British Airways
  9. Phoenix, AZ
    • American, Spirit
  10. Orlando, FL
    • American, Frontier, Spirit

Is There a Place to Sleep at Dallas Fort Worth Airport?

Most travelers don’t enjoy sleeping in an airport. That said, in a pinch, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is pretty ideal. With an offering of lounges, minute-suites, and hotels, you can catch a few minutes or hours of sleep in comfort rather than in an airport chair.

No matter which of Dallas Fort Worth Airport’s five terminals your flight plans direct you to, you’ll have plenty of sleep options if you want peace and quiet between flights.

DFW Airport Lounges

DFW Airport has several airport and airline lounges, so travelers can plan a relaxing stop while waiting for their next flight. Some are membership only, but others allow you to pay per use and offer single-visit passes.

The most common airport lounge in DFW airport is the American Airlines Admirals Club, which has locations throughout the airport in Terminals A, B, C, D, and E. 

However, American Airlines is far from the only option. You’ll find plenty of other airlines to choose from, including Centurion Lounge, the Club DFW, United Club, British Airways Club, and more. 

Unlike American Airlines, these lounges have just one location available, so it helps to double-check which terminal and gate your flight is scheduled for to find the most convenient lounge nearby to catch some shut-eye.

DFW Airport Minute Suites

If you’re looking for a more private option than an airport lounge, the Minute Suites at DFW airport provide that and more, with excellent soundproofing to keep out the general airport noises, so you’re sure to sleep soundly. 

And if you’re not interested in sleeping, the rooms provide speedy Wi-Fi and DirectTV to allow you to relax or get in some work in your airport oasis. Pillows and blankets are also available if needed, and you can grab a quick shower for an additional cost.

You’ll find these Minute Suites located in Terminal A and Terminal D behind airport security.

DFW Airport Hotels

If the lounges and suites aren’t to your liking, Dallas Fort Worth Airport also has a great location to spoil travelers with hotel options at and near DFW.

Located inside the airport in Terminal D, the Grand Hyatt DFW is easily accessible from all terminals via SkyLink and Terminal Link.

Meanwhile, the Hyatt Regency DFW is located adjacent to Terminal C with a free 24-hour shuttle service to all terminals.

Outside of these options, travelers will find a slew of hotel options located within a few miles of the DFW Airport. Just double-check for free shuttle service to and from the airport!

What Car Rental Companies Are at Dallas Fort Worth Airport?

If you’re flying into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, you’ll have your choice of rental cars to choose from. Eleven companies offer rides out of the 24-hour Rental Car Service at DFW Airport:

  • Advantage
  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Payless
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty

A Rental Car shuttle bus transports passengers between the DFW Airport and Rental Car Service day and night. The bus operates 24 hours a day, in 10-15 minute increments, so whether you have a late flight or an early departure, you’re covered.

Booking your rental car in advance will help you get the cheapest deals, so don’t forget to research and compare companies for the best prices and customer satisfaction guarantees to help you choose the best car rental service to explore Dallas.

Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)

Though Dallas Fort Worth International gets all the attention for offering international flights, it isn’t the only Dallas Airport to serve domestic trips. 

While Dallas Love Field may have fewer offerings than its sister airport, it still provides travelers with a great option and experience for flights. Holding the Airport Service Quality Award in 2021 for the third year straight, Dallas Love Field offers a varied range of destinations, all with the comfort of a smaller, more relaxed airport atmosphere.

Which Airlines Fly Out of DAL?

Fewer than a handful of airlines operate out of Dallas Love Field, a far cry from the 21 airlines that service Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. 

Just one terminal accommodates all of the airlines at DAL Airport, which means you’ll find Dallas Love Field far less busy and that much easier to navigate.

1. Southwest Airlines

Dallas is a focus city for Southwest Airlines, so most destinations out of Dallas Love Field are serviced by this low-cost carrier. As it’s the only budget airline operating out of the Love Field Airport, you’ll often find the cheapest flight prices through Southwest.

2. Delta Airlines

Delta also operates out of Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Similar to the case there, Delta operates far fewer flights than the airport’s main headliner. Still, the addition of Delta means you’ll be able to score more competitively priced tickets. 

3. Alaska Airlines

Like Delta, Alaska Airlines also operates flights out of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. If your primary concern is nabbing the best price for your flight, it’s worth checking prices flying into both airports to see which will offer you the better deal.

Top 10 Departures Out of DAL

From Dallas Love Field, travelers can hop nonstop flights to several domestic hotspots that keep travelers returning time and again. 

These top ten destinations offer a little something for everyone. While most are only available via Southwest, their budget prices make these destinations more accessible to all travelers!

  1. Denver, CO
    • Southwest
  2. Houston, TX
    • Southwest
  3. Atlanta, GA
    • Delta, Southwest
  4. Phoenix, AZ
    • Southwest
  5. Las Vegas, NV
    • Southwest
  6. Chicago, IL
    • Southwest
  7. Orlando, FL
    • Southwest
  8. Los Angeles, CA
    • Alaska, Southwest
  9. San Antonio, TX
    • Southwest
  10. Nashville, TN
    • Southwest 

Is There a Place to Sleep at Dallas Love Field Airport?

We mentioned a lack of amenities at Love Field earlier. Well, that includes spaces to sleep. Unfortunately, the sleeping arrangements leave much to be desired, especially in comparison to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. 

Unlike DFW Airport, you won’t find any private lounges here.

If you find yourself forced to spend the night in Dallas Love Field, you have access to an area affectionately called “Love Landing.” Here, you’ll find some necessities like couches and comfy chairs, but for a more comfortable stay, you’ll want to bring your sleep mask and noise-canceling headphones, along with something to keep you warm. 

It’s not the most comfortable airport for sleeping by far, but you can certainly get by if you’re used to roughing it on your travels.

All in all, if somewhere to relax is a must, that may be the deciding factor for you to choose Dallas Fort Worth as your preferred Dallas Airport for travel.

What Car Rental Companies Are at Dallas Love Field Airport?

Dallas Love Field offers a pretty comparable number of rental car companies to DFW airport, with nine in total:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Payless
  • Thrifty

You can find a counter for these rental services near baggage claim, with quick and easy shuttle services to and from the airport.

Whether You’re Flying Into or Out of Dallas, Next Vacay Can Land You the Cheapest Airfares Around

Want the best deals flying into Dallas? 

With Next Vacay, you can score deals flying into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport or Dallas Love Field Airport. Wherever the best fares exist, Next Vacay’s savvy team of deal hunters will track them down and send them straight to your inbox: one hundred percent vetted and ready to book.

So, if you’re ready to save hundreds of dollars on air travel and find the perfect deal to head south in any season, Next Vacay is ready to get you flying!

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