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DFW Airport predicts 3.14 million travelers this holiday season

Star-Telegram

Expect long lines and full planes this holiday season at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The airport predicts that 3.14 million passengers will travel through DFW during the 12-day holiday travel period that starts on Friday and ends on January 4. That figure is up 2.9 percent from the 2014 holiday travel season.

“Our goal is to make the passenger experience as smooth and efficient as possible, which is certainly a priority during holiday travel times,” said airport executive vice president of revenue management Ken Buchanan.

Interactive: Navigating DFW Airport during the holidays

The roads will also be busy as AAA Texas projects that 8.3 million Texans will travel for the holidays. Of those travelers, 7.6 million will drive to their holiday destination. Both figures are up 1.7 percent from last year.

“Rising incomes and low gas prices are helping to fill stockings this year as well as giving more people additional savings to spend on shopping, dining and accommodations,” said AAA Texas vice president of branch operations Rhonda Wilson.

Analysts attribute the rise in holiday travel this year to an improving economy and low gas prices. AAA predicts that gas prices nationwide will average $2.01, the lowest in seven years.

For travelers who are driving to the airport, DFW is offering three free days of terminal parking to customers. If a customer parks at the terminal between December 18 and December 31, the customer pays for the first three days of parking and then the following three days are free.

Several new concessions have opened at the airport including Twisted Root Burger at gate A25 and California Pizza Kitchen and Ertekin Men’s Boutique near gate A28. The airport will also offer complimentary luggage porters at the terminal garages on Dec. 19, Dec. 27 and 28 and will give out complimentary Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards while supplies last to terminal parkers. Customers who use valet parking will receive complimentary Starbucks gift cards starting on Dec. 21 while supplies last.

DFW Airport is also continuing its social media marketing promotion, #dfwfindjoy. Customers who use the hashtag on social media and tweet out photos of themselves at the airport could receive free gifts. The airport staff is monitoring the hashtag and delivering presents to random customers as part of the promotion.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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