One More Reason to Love Connecting at DFW!

DFW Airport is getting a banh mi shop.

It’s called Banh Shop and is slated to open later this month in terminal D (the ‘international’ terminal which does house some domestic flights) near gate 31.

And here’s the weird thing… it’s owned by Yum Brands, the parent of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut. But then McDonalds used to own Chipotle. And they’re experimenting. I’m not expecting an authentic experience — something that matches what I get in the Eden Center in Northern Virginia, or from the banh mi truck down the road, let alone something from Vietnam.

But it’s another interesting food option at my favorite domestic airport.

Here’s what’s weird. I understand that several top former US Airways executives in management at American don’t love Dallas-Forth Worth as a connecting airport. And no doubt, the airport is spread out — the full airport grounds are larger than the island of Manhattan. But the airport is pretty efficient to transit. The ‘trAAin’ between terminals functions very well.

Immigration has been slow in the past there, and is getting better. The C terminal hardly seems modern, though terminal renovations are quite nice such as the portion of A that’s already been done. Terminal D is bright and airy with outstanding concessions.

There are really good food options (skip the Salt Lick Barbecue outpost there, only the 3rd best barbecue option in the airport). There are four American Airlines club lounges, several independent lounges, and an American Express Centurion lounge in the D terminal.

Baggage claim is quick to get to and efficient. Time from entry into the airport to gates is quick too (both speak to origin/destination traffic rather than connecting, but are positives worth mentioning).

And there’s ample seating, power and connectivity throughout the airport. The DFW travel lounges are nice (they used to be sponsored by Samsung, and feature comfortable seating and televisions). I’ve never seen so many Starbucks in one place in my life.

To be sure, there are features of other airports I like better.

  • Tortas Frontera at O’Hare is perhaps my favorite sandwich (outside of a good New York Deli).
  • LAX has the Theme Building which I hope will re-open and the Parking Spot bus to the Sepulveda In ‘n Out burger.
  • Charlotte has rocking chairs but good luck ever getting one.

But all-together, DFW is by far my favorite connecting hub in the United States (although it’s not particular efficient flying from the Northeast to Pacific Northwest, I will grant).

(HT: @esoskin)


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. So what ARE the good food options at DFW? Other than the centurion lounge, I’ve been totally grossed out by everything I’ve had the misfortune of eating there. Even worse than JFK T8, which is a high bar for gross food options!

  2. Please post a review when you can! (Of the banh shop… you certainly reviewed the airport quite thoroughly in this post)

  3. DFW is a class act. Nice areas set aside to sit down and relax, plus a thoughtful dedication to our service members in the AA terminal (I think between A and C).

  4. Do those aforementioned execs actually fly their own airline? I’ve connected through DFW dozens of times in the past few months and I connected once through CLT once, right now as I type this. CLT is nothing but walking. I’ll take DFW anyday. DFW with Centurion and trains is hands down the best airport to connect through in the US.

  5. I guess each to his own, I’d vote DFW right up there with JFK or LAX as one of the worst airports I’ve transited in the last few years.

    If you’re lucky to stay in terminal D, it’s a great experience, but currently most of the airport is dark and features a lot of mess due to the remodel. The train is a good way to get around given the size of the place.

    The other big issue of mine though is that it seems to be a magnet for bad weather and delays.

  6. Not a frontera grill torta fan – too much bread.

    Much better food in SFO – try a Plant Burger.

    The new LAX options at the AA terminal are very nice — but pretty pricey. The veggie burger at Real Food Daily was super.

  7. Love Frontera @ ORD. I actually tried to go to the original location in downtown Chicago last Saturday. Web site said that they took limited reservations and majority of the customers are seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Got there a few minutes after they opened in the evening and the line was incredibly long. Was a good 2 hour wait so we went somewhere else. Upon further research, it seems that you need to grab one of those limited reservations 6-8 weeks in advance to guarantee a table.

  8. @ Mike
    My suggestion when in DFW try Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
    @ A24
    They have some really good quality seafood options
    Notably seafood and lump crab
    Alternatively as another very good dining option the Grand Hyatt though it means a trip back through security
    The rest are what they are and at your own risk YMMV
    Speaking of mileage Pappadeaux I believe is a member of the Thanks Again program which may mean bonus miles for your dining

  9. This Bayless guy must have the world’s best publicist. Can’t read two sentences in T&L, bon Appetit, Conde Nast, etc. without hearing about Frontera ORD. Me? Underwhelmed. Grew up on real Mexican food. Agree with the above 100% on too much bread, and the wrong kind too. I think that people who love this place need to get to a real torta joint stat and see how it is done.

  10. This is the best news. I love Bahn Mi. I will be in DFW terminal D the first week of August – so I will definitely try it out.

  11. Pedantic clarification for those who remember DFW’s history: The “TrAAin” was actually a painfully slow landside people mover system which was replaced in 2005 by the DFW Skylink, which is airside, quick and frequent (and thankfully air *conditioned* as well). Details on the venerable trAAin on the Wikipedia page for the system it used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrAAin

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