Private Suite

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is adding a new facility that'll make the airport experience more luxurious.

Called The Private Suite DFW, or PS DFW, it's a private terminal for everyday passengers taking commercial flights, that lets travelers avoid regular airport terminals.

The service includes a separate terminal, private TSA and customs clearance, luxury spaces, and a "back door" to your commercial aircraft, with white-glove service before and after your flight.

According to a release, construction is underway, although the opening date is still TBA.

The offering was founded in 2017 and opened its first outpost at Los Angeles International Airport. There's also a PS opening at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in 2023.

DFW will be a 12,200-square-foot facility adjacent to Corporate Aviation at DFW, and will feature both Private Suites and The Salon signature lounge.

Services include: chauffeured BMW transportation to and from the aircraft door, private TSA and customs screenings, and state-of-the-art amenities.

The design, amenities, and chef-led culinary program will reflect Dallas-Fort Worth culture, which they describe as a blend of Western heritage with modern, cosmopolitan sensibilities. Cue the cowboy hats.

In a statement, DFW's Executive Vice President Revenue Management and Customer Experience Ken Buchanan says that the airport welcomes PS and the opportunity to elevate the customer experience with this unique new option for travelers.

"They can have a more personalized experience to and from their flights at DFW," he says.

PS owns and operates private airport terminals that allow commercial travelers to bypass the public terminals, in order to get a private and seamless travel experience with the spirit of luxury hospitality.

PS guests get access to luxurious lounges or designated private suites, chef-prepared food, and spa services.

A "control room" coordinates with government, security, and airline officials to make the task of getting on the plane less tedious. Anyone can become a member of PS and corporate memberships are available.

Such luxury does not come cheap: In Los Angeles, the lowest starting rate is $995 for a one-time user. Sign up for an annual membership and that drops down to as low as $695. But truly, no price is too high for the luxury of avoiding the unwashed masses.

DFW Airport

Dallas-Fort Worth lands on new list of best places for long layovers

Cool your jets

Given the Christmas-week travel nightmare for anyone flying, or working for, Southwest Airlines, it's natural for travelers to be thinking some version of, "What if that happens to me? Please don't let that happen to me."

Lawn Love has been thinking about that, too. Well, perhaps not specifically about that week. But, the timing of the company's latest survey is coincidental. Lawn Love ranked the best and worst cities for long layovers, and Texas cities do well overall. Dallas-Fort Worth came in seventh, while Houston ranked fourth.

DFW's top-10 placement was due in part to its number of airline lounges. The city places fifth in that ranking. DFW's got 19 of them, including four American Airlines Admirals Clubs and the airline's Flagship Lounge. Also represented are Delta, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar, and United airlines. All provide travelers with space and quiet to chill while waiting on that flight.

In other categories, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 4 for delays, No. 13 for cancellations, No. 16 for "getting around," No. 25 for "things to do," No. 11 for "staying and eating," No. 57 for affordability, and No. 75 for safety.

Houston has travelers covered if a long layover means the need for a hotel stay. That city ranked third in number of accommodations.

Houston ranked 15th in terms of attractions, and 35th in terms of its share of cancelled departures, which means folks heading out of the city's two airports are likely to make their destinations without a lot of disruptions.

San Antonio and Austin round out the top 20 in Lawn Love's rankings, with the Alamo City placing 17th overall, and Austin taking 20th. Both cities fare well in terms of delays. They place 48th and 44th respectively, which means travelers are more likely to leave on time and get to where they're going. The two cities also fall into the top 20 when it comes to accommodations and dining options, finishing 15th and 19th respectively.

So, who fared among the worst? Hawaii. The Aloha State might be paradise on the ground and home to some stunning patches of sand, but the it's got four cities in the top 10 for worst places for a long layover. On the other hand, three of those four (Hilo, Kailua Kona, Honolulu and Lihue) get top marks for having the shortest departure delays.

All something to ponder as travelers pack their suitcases and plan to hit the road for 2023.

Southwest Businessweek

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines rolls out spring sale with $49 fares

Airline News

Just in time for spring travel, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has launched its seasonal fare sale with fares as low as $49 one-way.

The sale begins January 12, on travel that takes place across the continental U.S. from January 31 through May 17.

Flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico are on sale from January 31-March 8, Monday-Thursday.

Flights to and from Hawaii are on sale from January 31-March 15, Monday-Thursday.

Flights to international destinations are on sale from January-March 8, Tuesday-Friday.

Some examples of one-way, low-fare getaways for $49 include:

  • Austin and New Orleans
  • Long Beach and Reno/Tahoe
  • Phoenix and Los Angeles
  • Chicago (Midway) and Nashville
  • San Diego and Las Vegas

Advanced purchase and blackout date requirements apply; seats, days, and markets are limited.

A 21-day advance purchase is required.

There are also the following blackout dates:

  • February 16-February 20 for all flights
  • March 9-April 10 for International travel and San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • March 16-April 10 for travel from the U.S. to/from Hawaii

Seats and days are limited. Fares may vary by destination, flight, and day of the week and won't be available on some flights that operate during busy travel times and holiday periods.

Advertised fares may be available on other days of the week, but no guarantees.

Fares are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines, as long as reservations are canceled at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. Failure to cancel prior to departure will result in forfeiture of remaining funds on the reservation. Any change in itinerary may result in an increase in fare.

Photo courtesy of Gameway

Texas airport powers up totally cool new gaming lounge for bored and weary travelers

game on

Traveling gamers now have a new option to while away those flight delays and passenger pickup waits at one Texas airport.

Houston's William P. Hobby Airport is now one the first airports in the country to offer what's dubbed as the "ultimate gaming experience for travelers." The airport has launched a premium video game lounge inside the international terminal called Gameway.

That means weary, bored, or early travelers can chill in the lounge and plug into15 top-of-the-line, luxury gaming stations: six Xbox stations, five Playstation stations, four PC stations, all with the newest games on each platform. Aficionados will surely appreciate the Razer's Iskur Gaming Chairs and Kraken Headsets, along with dedicated high speed internet at each PC station.

The Gameway lounge pays homage to gaming characters, with wall accents that hark to motherboard circuits crucial for any real gamer: plenty of sweet and savory snacks are available for purchase to fuel up on those fantasy, battle, or sporting endeavors. As for the gaming console stations, players can expect high definition screens, comfortable seating, and plenty of space for belongings.

Gameyway Lounge Hobby Airport

Photo courtesy of Gameway

Gamers have a new refuge at Hobby.

This gaming addition comes just in time for the holiday rush, when travelers can expect long lines, delays, and are already planning for extended time for trips.

Texan travelers may be familiar with Gameway; the company opened its first two locations at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport. The buzzy lounge an industry wave of acclaim: Gameway was awarded Best Traveler Amenity in 2019 at the ACI-NA Awards and in 2020, voted “Most Innovative Customer Experience” at the Airport Experience Traveler Awards, per press materials.

Two new locations followed in 2021: LAX Terminal 6 and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The first of Gameway's Ultra lounge brand opened in September at Delta's Terminal 3 in LAX.

“Gameway is the real reason to get to the airport early,” said co-founder Jordan Walbridge in a statement. “Our mission is to upgrade the typical wait-at-the-gate experience with a new stimulating, entertaining option for travelers of all ages.”


Qantas adds new direct flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Melbourne, Australia

Airline News

There's a new direct flight for Dallas-Fort Worth travelers headed to the land down under: Qantas, Australia's national carrier, has debuted the first ever direct flight from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Melbourne, Australia. These are the first direct flights by any airline between the two cities.

According to a release, the addition of Melbourne follows the success of Qantas' longstanding route from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney.

Up until this debut, DFW travelers had to make a stop in Los Angeles or Sydney.

"The flight will reduce travel time by two to three hours for those who currently need to stop in Los Angeles or Sydney when traveling to Melbourne from Dallas/Fort Worth and other US cities like Washington DC and Boston," says Qantas domestic and international CEO Andrew David in a statement.

It's also a win for travelers from other destinations across the U.S. such as Charleston, Detroit, and Memphis, who had to make two stops to connect to Melbourne.

The route gives U.S. travelers better access not only to Melbourne but to other Australian cities. From Melbourne, travelers can connect to the Qantas Group’s extensive domestic network of more than 60 destinations around Australia.

“We have already seen a great response to these flights since they went on sale, not just from those set to visit Melbourne, but also from those wanting to take advantage of the excellent connections to popular destinations like Hobart and Adelaide," David says.

The flights operate three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays – with Qantas’ 236-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, offering lie-flat Business suites and a Premium Economy seat.

Melbourne is considered the cultural capital of Australia, known for its museums, art centers, and music, and has been ranked one of the most livable cities, with a "laid back feel-good vibe," says The Travel.com.

"Pre-COVID, business and holiday travel between the United States and Australia was growing exponentially and we’re seeing the demand bounce back," David says. "We’re excited to be providing our customers with another direct connection across the Pacific."

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Amazon rolls out hundreds of new electric vans for Dallas-Fort Worth's holiday delivery season

electric avenue

Amazon CEO/occasional space traveler Jeff Bezos is doing his best to supplant a certain jolly fellow from the North Pole as tops for holiday gift delivery.

His latest move: Amazon is rolling out more than 1,000 electric delivery vehicles, designed by electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, ready to make deliveries in more than 100 cities across the U.S. On the Texas good list: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. Bezos' juggernaut began some deliveries in DFW in July, along with Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.

These zero-emissions vans have delivered more than 5 million packages to customers in the U.S., according to Amazon. The latest boost in vehicles now also includes Boston; Denver; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Madison, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; New York, Oakland, California; Pittsburgh, Portland, Oregon; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.

Plans for the Amazon and Rivian partnership call for thousands of vehicles on the road by the end of the year and 100,000 vehicles by 2030.

“We’re always excited for the holiday season, but making deliveries to customers across the country with our new zero-emission vehicles for the first time makes this year unique,” said Udit Madan, vice president of Amazon Transportation, in a statement. “We’ve already delivered over 5 million packages with our vehicles produced by Rivian, and this is still just the beginning — that figure will grow exponentially as we continue to make progress toward our 100,000-vehicle goal.”

This all comes as part of Amazon's commitment to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, as a part of its The Climate Pledge; Amazon promises to eliminate millions of metric tons of carbon per year with it s commitment to 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030, press materials note.

Additionally, Amazon announced plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years to further electrify and decarbonize its transportation network across Europe. This investment is meant to spark innovation and encourage more public charging infrastructure across the continent.

“Fleet electrification is essential to reaching the world’s zero-emissions goal,” said Jiten Behl, chief growth officer at Rivian, in a statement. “So, to see our ramp up in production supporting Amazon’s rollout in cities across the country is amazing. Not just for the environment, but also for our teams working hard to get tens of thousands of electric delivery vehicles on the road. They continue to be motivated by our combined mission and the great feedback about the vehicle’s performance and quality.”

A little about the vans: Drivers’ favorite features include a spacious cabin and cargo area, superior visibility with a large windshield and 360-degree cameras, and ventilated seats for fast heating and cooling — a must for Dallas-Fort Worth summers ... or winters, for that matter.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Heart health advocates raise over $800,000 at red-letter Fort Worth luncheon

Go Red for Women

What: Tarrant County Go Red for Women Luncheon benefiting American Heart Association

Where: Worthington Renaissance Hotel

The 411: The American Heart Association's annual Go Red for Women Luncheon is always one of the most anticipated fundraising luncheons of spring in Fort Worth. Nearly 1,200 patrons - decked out in red, of course - filled the Worthington's ballroom on March 3 to join the fight against cardiovascular disease.

Co-chairs leading the charge were Jennifer Chavez (Chief Nursing Officer at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth) and Becky Tucker (Senior Vice President of Channel Integration at Texas Health).

"Her Story is Our Story" was the theme of the 2023 luncheon, which raises awareness of heart disease in women - and guests heard the message repeatedly that it could happen to any woman they know or love.

While patrons dined on a heart-healthy lunch, emcee Morgan Young of WFAA facilitated a number of performances and presentations, including a spoken word performance by local artist Alicia Azahar and a choral rendition of "Stand By Me" by the Word of Truth choir from Texas Christian University.

Featured survivor Sheena Fannin shared her scary but inspirational experience with heart disease, and a memorable keynote address was given was Bean Gill, an entrepreneur and an inclusion and diversity expert. Joni Nash led an "Open Your Heart" moment that allowed patrons to raise their paddles and contribute directly to the cause. Entire tables were challenged to give, for a chance to receive a champagne toast and gift cards to Woodhouse Spa.

There was fun outside the ballroom, too. Fabulous silent auction items filled long tables in the foyer. During a pre-luncheon champagne reception, musicians from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra serenaded guests, who were greeted by tiara-wearing Texas pageant title-holders, such as Miss Corpus Christi Sharity Brent and Miss Southeast Texas Meaghan Co.

Guests had the chance to take part in free health screenings, lip-print readings, hands-only CPR demonstrations, and more activations.

In total, the luncheon raised more than $800,000 toward the American Heart Association's lifesaving research, education, and health impact initiatives for women.

Who: More than 1,200 participants, survivors, organizers, patrons, and supporters including Brooke Berryman, Lindsey Lyons, Lisa Cobb, Kristin Jaworski, Nicole Maucere, Mary Robinson, Anita Rigues, Hannah Kopriva, Tracy WIlliams, Amanda Stallings,Nancey Murphy, Monika Mathur, Sherry Decker, Abbey Dudek, Jim Austin, and many more.

Tarrant County Go Red for Women luncheon 2023

Photo courtesy of AHA

Lisa Cobb, Kristin Jaworski, Nicole Maucere

Fort Worth Symphony's 2023 Concerts in the Garden series brings Beatles, Star Wars, and Pat Green

Al Fresco Music

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will offer 11 concerts as part of the 2023 Concerts In The Garden Summer Music Festival, taking place May 26 through June 11 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

The earlier dates for this year's season mean that the series will not include the traditional Fourth of July concerts. Instead, the orchestra will presents Patriotic Pops on Saturday, May 27, featuring favorite patriotic songs and marches in their first-ever Memorial Day celebration. The concert will also include a brand new drone fireworks display.

The season will kick off with Windborne’s The Music of Queen on May 26, where the FWSO, under conductor Brett Havens, will welcome singer MiG Ayesa and a full rock band to capture Queen's distinct sound.

After the Patriotic Pops concert, the Memorial Day weekend slate will be wrapped up with The Music of Harry Potter on May 27, where the orchestra will conjure favorite tunes from the eight films in the Harry Potter series that took young witches and wizards to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The weekend of June 1-4 will be mostly orchestra-free. Preservation Hall Jazz Band will perform by themselves on June 1, celebrating 60 years of making great music in New Orleans and around the world. They'll be followed by Radio Highway Performs The Music of The Eagles on June 2, delivering many of the classic band's biggest hits.

The orchestra makes a return on June 3 with Chicago Nights starring Jason Scheff, highlighting the longtime vocalist/bassist for Chicago singing the group's songs. Finally, Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to The Beatles will take the stage without accompaniment to presents more than two dozen Beatles tunes performed exactly as they were originally recorded.

That visit to the '60s will be followed a flashback to the '70s with The Music of Led Zeppelin on June 8. A full band and orchestra playing Led Zeppelin’s hits. Then it's on to the '80s with REWIND: The Music of the '80s on June 9, as the orchestra tackles the greatest songs of the decade from artists like George Michael, Mister Mister, Kool & The Gang, Joan Jett, The Cure, and more.

June 10 will bring a visit to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars, in which the orchestra will play selections from several Star Wars films. The series will come to a close on June 11 with a solo performance by Texas country music legend Pat Green, playing songs from throughout his long career.

Tickets for the series go on sale for VIPs and subscribers on March 27, followed by Botanic Garden VIP and Members on March 28. The general public will finally get their shot on March 29.

Lawn tickets are $28, with children 10 and under admitted free if accompanied by a paid adult. Reserved seating at round tables of 4 is $40-$79, with a 20 percent discount for children 10 and under in price levels B and C.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.fwsymphony.org or by calling the FWSO Box Office at 817-655-6000. Advanced parking is also available.