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I’ll Take It – Two DFW International Airport Surprises, Neither Bad!

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DFW International Airport

DFW International Airport

I recently traversed DFW International Airport, one of the few monstrosities I don’t mind, during a short Metroplex trip.  While I’ve been well-acquainted with this airport since a young age, I’m far from an expert.  I don’t make it back to Texas very often these days, so I consistently encounter interesting stuff – old and new – within DFW.  And so it was last week.  While these two items aren’t groundbreaking to some, I was surprised to encounter them.  And they were each a net win.

Behold, the DFW Employee Store

Located next to gate C2, the DFW Employee Store is a misnomer, as anyone is welcome to shop inside.   But everything inside is just right.  It’s a perfect mess of airline tchotchkes for casual travelers and hardcore AVgeeks alike.  Some stuff is just fun to gaze upon – “so this is where the AA maintenance guy gets a fresh shirt,” and “wow, I’ve never seen more nondescript, thick-soled black shoes,” I thought.  At this DFW hub, there’s plenty of American Airlines merch, of course.  Lots of retro designs were the highlight for me.  But plenty of other random stuff is packed in here.  There’s the America West airlines hat you never knew you needed.  Got Reno Air luggage tags?  Check.  The largest selection of coasters I’ve ever seen?  100%!  I couldn’t figure out any rational reason for a model Spirit Airlines plane existing, though.

The DFW Employee Store has a dated, dusty feel which makes it even more endearing.  The random stuff everywhere and its somewhat-unkempt condition added to the garage sale vibe.  It worked on me, as I caved and bought a vintage American Airways shirt.  At checkout, I casually asked how long the store had been there, as I’d never known of it until this visit.  “Fifteen years,” the worker answered in a crestfallen tone, somewhat mocking my ignorance.  Indeed, we should all know the DFW Employee Store exists and appreciate its greatness.

The Capital One Lounge Didn’t Absolutely Suck

I’ve come to disdain Capital One Lounges, perhaps more than I should.  More recently, it’s based on my disappointment with the Washington Dulles location.  As I’ve passed advertisements covering the seemingly postage-stamp sizes of upcoming Capital One Landing locations in LGA and DCA, I can’t help but think those will be a mess most of the time.  And I’d heard horror stories about the Capital One Lounge DFW since I last visited in 2022.

Therefore, I was intrigued to experience the trainwreck this time.  But, to my pleasant surprise, the lounge was firmly on the rails during my visit.  I was able to enter immediately without a wait, perhaps the biggest positive of the visit.  During my approximate two-hour stay, I estimate occupancy floated around 75 to 90%.  It may have been the first time I’ve experienced a Capital One Lounge properly function while busy.  I wasn’t drinking on this visit, but I noticed a fully-occupied bar without a line.  The lounge felt well-staffed, as workers diligently stocked single-serving food items at the buffet and cleaned vacant tables.  My coffee and caramel pecan cookie were delightful.  I was able to grab a swiveling lounger airside to enjoy the takeoffs and landings.

DFW International Airport
Well-stocked options for Capital One Lounge DFW guests.

But…

I still have a few quibbles.  My favorite BLT sandwich is gone, and the takeaway case’s sole beverage option is now water cartons.  The individual bathrooms (only four, I recall) close to the lounge’s front are in the worst location of any club I’ve ever visited, and they weren’t very clean, either.

Still, I had a pleasant enough experience at this lounge, and I opted to forego my previous plan of visiting a nearby Admirals Club.  If I never visit this Capital One lounge again, I’m fine remembering it as a net positive, at least during my few visits.

DFW International Airport – Conclusion

I don’t have any other definite travel plans requiring a DFW International Airport visit in the future, so I’m happy that my latest memories are pleasant overall.  I should remember that I also enjoyed coming through since I did NOT have to put up with the time-suck that is renting a car at DFW, or should I say, the commute to their “mall” to pick one up.  Regardless, this visit reminded me to always leave room for surprises.  It often works out in my favor.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I knew about the employee store but always thought it was restricted to employees so I never went in. In that part of DFW it’s like a Arab trader booth in a third world country 🙂

  2. I am the owner of the DFW Employee Store. Thanks for the kind review of the DFW Employee Store by Gate C2. I will work on improving the dusty, dated feel. If anyone can’t make it to the store we have an online store which actually has more stuff than the store. Just go to http://www.AirlineEmployeeShop.com. – The DFW Employee Store by Gate C2 is open daily from 9am to 6pm, everyday. We normally close early on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. We have only been closed one day in 12 years. Open every day during covid to serve the airport/airline employees and passengers.

    • Steve,
      Thanks for chiming in and mentioning the online store! And don’t change that “dusty, dated” feel too much. It’s part of the character, in my view. I look forward to visiting again, it sounds like you’ll be open! 😉 Until then, I’ll check out the goodies online.

  3. Most people don’t know about the store, because usually the only time you see it is you happen to be walking between A and C in lieu of taking the train or you happen to come into one of the low numbered C gates. That area is also where the lost and found is. I believe that when first opened it only had AA stuff and at that time it was for employees only, but I am not 100% sure on that.

  4. DFW is my home airport. You skipped the two Priority Pass lounges, one in terminal D and the remind, Pass lounge in terminal E. Neither are worth going out of your way. I will check out the DFW employee store in June.

    • CJH,
      Yeah, those PP lounges have been lower priority on my last few trips, although I had a delightful visit to the Minute Suites years ago.

  5. Great news about fun store Loved “I couldn’t figure out any rational reason for a model Spirit Airlines plane existing” LOL while I have never flown nor into on Spirit, as a U of Iowa Hawkeye, I LOVE the Livery colors!! 😉 Lots of Hawkeyes in Texas and traveling through with Hawk caves/displays gamerooms, etc filled with Black and gold it would be cool to see an airplane in such an area 🙂

  6. Holy hell.. I’ve flown out of DFW probably 20-30 times a year for the last 20 years and I never knew about the employee store.

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