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Detroit Metropolitan Airport offers helpful holiday travel tips

News Releases
Nov 25 2019

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) is expecting nearly 1.6 million travelers this holiday season, 35,000 more than last year. DTW has new concessions, new programs, new routes and a few reminders to help customers prepare for their next trip to the airport.

“It’s been a big year for DTW,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton. “For the first time in airport history, we were simultaneously honored by Airports Council International and J.D. Power and Associates for the service our customers receive when they enter our home. DTW has made many improvements and added many services and amenities over the last year that we hope our passengers will enjoy while they’re here for the holidays.” 

Construction on Runway 3L/21R was completed just in time for the peak holiday travel period. The runway, which reopened for air traffic on November 21, 2019, was the first runway constructed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the 1950s and serves as a primary departure runway. The project, which began in April, fully reconstructed Runway 3L/21R and its parallel Taxiway M, replacing the equivalent of 73 highway lane miles of concrete pavement. Associated Taxiway P will be reconstructed along with a new connector taxiway in 2020.

Many new concessions have opened since last Thanksgiving as part of the $21 million dining transformation taking place in the North Terminal. Cantoro Italian Market Trattoria, Detroit Street Café featuring Zingerman’s Coffee, Atwater Brewery and Common Grace Coffee Co. are the first of many local flavors to open for business at the airport. Air Margaritaville, MOD Pizza, Starbucks and McDonalds are the latest national favorites to open their doors inside the terminal. Additional restaurants are scheduled to open early next year when the redevelopment program is complete.

Several new flights from Detroit have been added since last holiday season. In May, Frontier began nonstop service to Las Vegas, Nevada and Spirit Airlines added direct service to Raleigh, North Carolina. This month, Frontier will begin service to Phoenix, Arizona and Miami, Florida. Delta Air Lines will begin nonstop service to San Juan, Puerto Rico next month. And beginning in May 2020, Lufthansa will offer nonstop service to Munich, Germany five times per week.

Numerous programs have been implemented at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. To continue Wayne County Airport Authority’s commitment to sustainability, more than 40 colored recycling receptacles were added in the North Terminal to simplify and enhance the recycling process. For the first time since 2011, non-ticketed visitors can enter the post-security side of the McNamara and North terminals by participating in the DTW Destination Pass program. Anyone wishing to see their loved one to the gate or spend extra time together can apply for a pass the day before their planned visit at

Earlier this year, Detroit Metropolitan Airport unveiled its first Art in the Airport program. Designed to celebrate Michigan’s rich culture with an emphasis on the Detroit Metropolitan area, the program serves as a platform for local artists to showcase their talent. The program was launched with the installation of 24 framed reproductions of works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Throughout the month of December, local musicians including the Classic Winds Quintet, Detroit Children’s Choir, Ida Jazz Band, and the St. Francis of Assisi Hand Bell Choir will be showing off their talent by performing holiday tunes in both terminals through the airport’s Holiday Music Program.

As always, DTW staff will be on hand and Airport Ambassador Volunteers will be stationed throughout both terminals to assist passengers who need help. Each of the nearly 90 Ambassadors can answer questions and assist with flight status, baggage claim, gate locations, parking, ground transportation and lost & found.

The following travel tips could also be useful for anyone heading to the airport over the holidays.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Tips for Holiday Travelers

  • Active loading & unloading at the terminal curb fronts will be strictly enforced
    • NEVER leave your vehicle on the arrivals or departures curb unattended.  Unattended vehicles will be ticketed and towed. 
    • The curb fronts at both terminals are reserved for active loading and unloading ONLY and can become extremely congested during peak times. Airport Police will be doing their best to move motorists along to prevent traffic backups. Take advantage of the airport’s short term parking at both terminals – $4 for 30 minutes or less, and $6 for up to an hour.
    • Pre-arrange a meeting location with the traveler you are picking up. In addition to short term parking lots, two complimentary cell phone lots are available at the north and south ends of the airport. Please visit the following link for a map:
  • Know your airline and/or terminal before arriving at the airport. Detroit Metro Airport has two terminals: the McNamara Terminal and the North Terminal. Delta Air Lines, Aeromexico and Air France operate from the McNamara Terminal along with their SkyTeam alliance and code share partners. All other airlines, including charters, operate from the North Terminal. For airline contact information visit:
  • Arrive early! Everything is easier when you’re not rushing. During the holidays, the airport welcomes a higher percentage of infrequent travelers who may need extra time. It is important to arrive early to avoid the stress of rushing to your flight. As a general rule of thumb, the airport recommends arriving two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. Allowing extra time will enable you to park, check baggage, proceed through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening and reach your departure gate.
  • Don’t wrap gifts before traveling. Packages that are wrapped may need to be opened by TSA, causing disappointment and delays at the screening checkpoints.
  • Check your bags for prohibited items BEFORE arriving at the airport. Attempting to proceed through TSA screening with prohibited items in your bag will delay the screening process for you and other passengers. To find out what is considered a prohibited item, visit, and remember prohibited items are more than just weapons. All liquids and gels over 3.4 ounces are prohibited in carry-on baggage. 
  • Arrange for assistance in advance. The Airport Authority and its partners are committed to providing a welcoming and convenient travel experience for all passengers. Travelers who may require additional assistance should advise their airline or TSA ahead of time. More information can be found at or by calling TSA Cares: 855-787-2227. 
  • Expedited screening programs are available. The Airport Authority encourages travelers concerned about the possibility of longer TSA or Customs screening lines to sign up for a trusted traveler program offered by TSA or U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The company, CLEAR, also has a program that saves travelers time. See the links below for more information: 

Finally, on behalf of the Airport Authority family, we wish you a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) welcomed more than 35 million passengers in 2018 and is one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs. With service from 13 scheduled passenger airlines, Michigan’s largest airport offers approximately 1,100 flights per day to and from more than 140 nonstop destinations on four continents. With two award-winning passenger terminals, six jet runways, and an onsite AAA Four-Diamond Westin Hotel, DTW is among the world’s most efficient, customer friendly and operationally capable airports in North America. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport received the highest score among mega airports in the J.D. Power 2019 North America Airport Satisfaction Study of customers’ satisfaction with the airport they traveled through and scored the highest in the security check and terminal facilities factors. Visit for details. DTW is operated by the Wayne County Airport Authority, which also operates nearby Willow Run Airport – an important corporate, cargo and general aviation facility.  The Airport Authority is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive tax dollars to support airport operations. Visit for more information.

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