10 hour airport layover teaches me: respect for DFW Ambassadors

DFW Ambassadors are airport information employees well qualified for their customer service jobs.

How often do you think about modern air travel and equate it with kindness, respect, patience, and professionalism? Speak to a few DFW Ambassadors, and you might begin to lean in that direction.

That was my experience when I sought airport information in Dallas-Ft Worth in July of 2018.

airport information display boardIt’s more popular to spread videos of Airlines Behaving Badly and Flight Attendants Gone Rogue, not to mention Passengers Punching Each Other, but that stuff just makes for salacious headlines.

My blog will probably never garner millions of views, in part because I’d prefer to highlight useful DFW airport employees who staff information kiosks and answer questions for average travelers who never go viral. Without a 10 hour layover to attempt to fill with meaningful activity, I probably wouldn’t even have spoken to any of these folks. I’m happy that I did engage with a few.

I prepare thoroughly on my own before most of my journeys. I read blogs and study airport websites. I figure out my trip’s most likely terminals, concourses, and gates based upon prior days’ flight tracking data, and I determine how the smart passenger flits between them.

Bonus points for getting from Point A to Point B without being herded through a Duty Free shopping zone full of stinky perfume!

I do most of this research online by reading travel blogs and message boards like Flyer Talk. Since you’re here, reading this, perhaps you do, too?

But, this summer, I had a whopping 10 hours of layover time to occupy. I decided on a whim to ride the SkyLink terminal connection train all the way around DFW airport instead of heading straight to my airline’s lounge to check out its amenities.

As I ascended to the train platform, I had a moment of hesitation where I worried: is there any chance any of the SkyLink stops will spit me out outside of security?

Answer: Nope! Source: a DFW Ambassador hanging out on the platform for my convenience. And his friendly demeanor made my day a little bit more pleasant, too.

After my first helpful encounter with the Ambassador by the Skylink doors, I visited a few others in various terminals. DFW publishes a brochure about its art collection. You can get one from the Ambassador at an Information Booth and use it to find all the beautiful floor mosaics as well as the more obvious room-sized sculptures like those pictured below.

There’s also a yoga studio near my favorite of the post-security sculptures if you need to blow off more steam than power walking a terminal allows. It’s located between gates D40 and A-something. But don’t rely upon my memory to find it: ask an Ambassador for directions.

I did get two very different answers from two separate Ambassadors when I asked where to find the best food in the airport, but that strikes me as a great thing. They were empowered to give me their honest opinions! I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

I opted to dine at Whitetail Bistro in Terminal D after reading just about every menu in the airport while killing time.

Menu from Whitetail Bistro restaurantAfter all of that, the restaurant was out of the dish I’d planned to order, but the food tasted good and the service was very friendly.

Airport lounges are nice, and I enjoy having the option to use them, but I have yet to visit one where I’d like to spend a solid 10 hours. I’ll enjoy a free nibble and have a glass or two of wine, but… seriously? It’s a room full of business travelers who would rather be somewhere else. Even an Eames chair won’t hold me or my attention for that long.

DFW Lounge Eames chair - 1

†A rather long digression on why I was worried about exiting the Secure Area:

It is clear from the many scathing reviews of the Minute Suites product (that I seriously considered booking for part of my looooong layover) that most people are not quite as loathe to re-clear security as I am. (It’s not the Minute Suites product to which people object, but the hourly rate being demanded to remove oneself from the crowds. Nay-sayers suggest going off-site to a local hotel and getting a day room instead.)

As for me? I hate it. TSA Security Theater makes me angry, anxious, and annoyed. I reject almost completely the notion that most of this hassle really makes anyone safer, and I see the system as a restriction of the liberties I hold dear for very little real benefit. I think paranoid reaction-ism is diminishing what made America great.

I could be wrong, but that’s my current position.

Oh yeah, and I am a little toward the OCD end of the spectrum. I want my stuff how I want my stuff… and I get anxious, then angry, when those wishes are stymied. Having to pack my bag according to the asinine dictates of petty tyrants PISSES ME OFF.

So a day room at the Hyatt attached to Terminal D isn’t a great option for the likes of me. Because I’d have to clear security again. And, as we’ve just established, I would hate that.

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