It's an American Airlines hub, and it has hub-like benefits and downfalls. It's not bad. It's not great.
Current Grade: A- (February 2018)
Passenger efficiency gets good marks: A-
Amenities are meh but plentiful: B
Saw a great pun once about queso: + half grade
Dallas has a little place in my heart, because it was the birth of my insta airport reviews! And because who doesn't love an origin story, here you go.
I went on a family vacation in Colorado, and I had to be in Vancouver for work the next week, so instead of flying all the way back east to just come west again, I flew straight there. (Large suitcase full of ski clothes and all - this will matter shortly.)
It being February, the day before my flight back to New York (via Toronto, least favorite connection), flights were a mess because of a blizzard in the midwest. I called the airline (WestJet womp) and they didn't have another option for me, so I bought an American flight through Dallas, thinking I might as well avoid the midwest even if it's a bogus connection.
Well - got to Dallas, flight to NYC cancelled, and American offered to rebook me IN THREE DAYS. Woof. After waiting in dehumanizing lines and messing with the app I got them to put me on a flight the next day… through Houston… to Philadelphia. Lame but better than spending half a week in Dallas after being away from home for over two weeks. So I find a hotel (which they don't help you with at all, good luck with your finances travelers!) and head down to baggage claim. Big suitcase.
Turns out they don't release checked bags for THREE DAY LAYOVERS or the overnight I had finagled so they said, good luck with that too! So I shuttled to the Dallas airport hotel, and turned around and got in an Uber to the nearest mall to buy pajamas (thanks Gap), and extra tshirt (and fellowship, thanks lululemon Dallas Galleria), sample-size skincare and a face mask because y'know I had time to kill (thanks Sephora).
The next morning I got to the Dallas Airport, flew to Houston… got delayed… got to Philly… and got my way to baggage claim, finally to be reunited with that luggage. And I can't find it. Sinking feeling in my stomach, I walk up to the lost baggage counter. They found it right away! … at Laguardia.
Apparently some planes got to NYC, just none with a seat for me. American says they'll ship me my suitcase in 2 or 3 days. Fine.
In a delirious haze I stagger to the exit, phone dying, order an Uber Pool to the train station. Phone dies before Uber finds me. Somehow, miraculously, he pulls up right in front of me and beams at me out the window. My Philadelphia driver ray of sunshine. Thank you sir for the cultural and sport history lesson on our 20 minute drive. Thank you nice couple in the backseat for carrying the conversation so I could just listen. Five stars. Once I can charge my phone.
I get to the train station - it's dark now - and get a coffee to fuel me for these last couple legs of my journey: train + cab. I sit down for 10 minutes to wait for my train.
Come on. Come ON. This happened before the scene from the Wire when Marlo outsmarts Herc and the cops and gets them to arrest and question an innocent woman. But in my memory now the Philly train station looks like the Baltimore train station. Anyway, I digress.
Got on the train. Arrive at Penn Station. Turns out this part of Penn had its renovations. Mildly disorienting. Mildly interesting. I find a cab. I gaze out the windows at the skyline from the BQE. Finally. I am almost home.
I walk up to my door, relief flooding over me. I reach into my backpack for my keys.
… my keys are in the checked suitcase at LaGuardia. I'm an idiot.
How many times do you think I've cried in the last 72 hours? It was more than that.
I got back in another cab. I roll up to LGA, because why not visit another airport?! (It was 9 airports in 15 days.) In a stroke of luck, my suitcase is just sitting there by the baggage claim. I stride in, open it right there, find the keys, pack it all back up, and roll it out. (Passing thoughts about security of checked luggage at LaGuardia but whatever.) Another cab ride.
I crawl up to my third floor walkup, grasping for the door, turning my precious key in my beautiful unevenly-painted apartment door, fall inside. My dog, poor thing cooped up for hours longer than she was supposed to be (shouts out to my friend Ali who walked her on zero notice during this shenanigan), loses her mind with joy. I collapse with wiggly blond fluff squealing around me.
Reader, this was the worst air travel experience I have had in years. To cope and half-heartedly manage my anxiety, I recorded it all in an instagram story. Objective Airport Reviews was born.