Traveler Hints and Things to Do at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)

Updated on July 10, 2018
Mike Hardy profile image

Several years ago we discovered the ease and relaxation of global travel. We love to explore and pass on what we have learned.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport - DTW
Detroit Metropolitan Airport - DTW | Source

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport—also known as Detroit Metro or DTW—is the major international airport for southeast Michigan and northern Ohio. As a hub of Delta Air Lines, it's a frequent stop for international travelers to Asia and is the third busiest gateway to Europe. It's massive McNamara terminal was built in 2002 and hosts 21 major airlines. It typically exceeds moving over 33 million passengers a year.

Did You Know?

Detroit Metro has been the location of 13 movies and television productions.

DTW has Many Choices for Off Site Parking
DTW has Many Choices for Off Site Parking | Source

Take Advantage of Off-Site Parking

You would think that parking in the airport property would be extremely convenient, but that isn't always the case. If you're by yourself with only a carry-on bag, then parking on-premise may not be a problem. However, if you're traveling with a group or have luggage to check in, there are advantages to parking off-site at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Advantages of Off-Premise Parking at Detroit Metro Airport

  • Shuttle service direct to your vehicle. Offered 24 hours a day.
  • Lighted, monitored lots with lots of activity.
  • Employee discounts for off-prem parking are offered by many employers in Southeast Michigan
  • Generally cheaper by a dollar or two per day.
  • General mechanical assistance services such as battery jump starts.

Major Off Premise Parking at Detroit Metro Airport

Name
On-Line Rating
Employee/Coupon Rate
Regular Rate
Park-N-Go
3.9 Stars
N/A/$9.00
$9.50
Airlines Parking
4.2 Stars
$7.50/$10.00
$12.00
Qwik Park
4.2 Stars
$7.50/$10.00
$11.00
US Park
4.1 Stars
$7.50/$10.00
$11.00
Ask about discounts for AAA and AARP members

Another Parking Option - Park, Sleep and Fly

Source

Another unique option is to stay at a hotel at the beginning or end of your trip and park at the hotel while your away. Just about every hotel clustered around the Detroit Metropolitan Airport offers this option at competitive rates.

Check directly with the hotel your interested in or internet search for "Park, Sleep, Fly, DTW" for more information and rates.

Explore the Art of the Light and Sound Tunnel Between Concourses at DTW

If you have a few minutes in between flights, it's worth a walk to the famous light tunnel between the A and B/C concourses.

This 700-foot underground light tunnel is a unique display of sight and soothing sounds. It is accessible via escalators and elevators in the center of the concourses. You can walk the entire length or upon the moving walkways carry passengers through the tunnel, which runs under the terminal and two active taxiways. Jets are typically rolling by overhead.

The one of a kind work of art tunnel is made of sand-blasted art-on-glass panels created by Foxfire Glass of Pontiac, Michigan. This glass artwork is illuminated by 9,000 ft. of LED lighting designed. The music is synchronized to an original piece composed by Mills James of Columbus, Ohio.

Relax in the Clubs at DTW

If you are facing a long layover, consider using one of the Delta Sky Clubs at DTW. The clubs are clean quiet and offer a place to read, do work or relax. The clubs provide a variety of hot appetizer foods, warm cookies, and other snacks. There is an assortment of cold beverages and self-serve beer, wine, and cocktails. There is also satellite programming, real newspapers, and magazines. If you have a problem with your flight representatives are available to assist. Since these clubs are geared toward business travelers, there is Wi-Fi, and power outlets are located near each chair or workstation. There is also flight status information available in the main area.

Delta has four sky clubs at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)

  • Concourse C, at gate level near the entrance to Concourse C
  • Concourse A, 2nd level at Express Tram North Station across from Gate A68
  • Concourse A, 2nd level at Express Tram South Station across from Gate A18
  • The main Delta Sky Club is on the second story in the McNamara terminal in concourse A across from Gate A38. It is one of the largest and therefore can get crowded. There are showers available.

Access to the clubs involves holding a membership with Delta Sky Club or purchasing a single-use pass. If you hold an American Express Skymiles card, you can get access at a reduced rate.

Delta's Sky Club
Delta's Sky Club | Source

The Water Feature at Detroit Metro Airport

One of the most interesting yet little noticed unique items at Detroit Metro Airport is the water feature in the center of the McNamara terminal. This fountain / living art has 45 “leap frog” devices that shoot synchronized streams of laminar water flow. It is 39-ft. wide, elliptical-shaped of black granite made by WET Design of Burbank, California. Continuous water flows over the granite and creates a mirror like smooth surface that travelers love to touch. All the coins flipped into the water feature is donated to local charities.

Hint: The feature is surrounded by cafes and coffee bars. It is a great place to grab an espresso and people watch. The fountain is also in a central location to the tram station and main Delta Sky Club.

Ride on a Bed of Air on the Tram at DTW

Covering nearly a mile, the main McNamara Terminal is the world’s second-longest airport concourse. Luckily DTW has a set of trams that run the entire length of the length of the concourse. The tram can get travelers from one end to the other in about three minutes. Needless to say, is a great way to see the entire terminal and not limit yourself to restaurants and shops on only one end.

Detroit Metro's Concourse Tram

Cursing at about 30 mph each of the trams rides on a half-inch of air created by 72 air pads on the bottom of each train. It’s an amazing sight, and it’s so quiet that you hardly notice its whizzing by above you.

Meet at the Westin Hotel at DTW

If your meeting up with friends or family at the airport there is no better meeting place then the atrium lobby of the Westin Hotel. This is the only on-site hotel located on airport property. Renovated in 2017, the hotel's skylight atrium restaurant offers a classy rendezvous point away from the terminal crowds. You can enjoy a meal or a craft beer and watch the status of your flight on nearby monitors.

When your ready to travel you can go through security at the hotel's private security checkpoint located in the lobby. If your staying at the hotel the Westin offers a unique Beyond the Screening Checkpoint Program, which allows registered overnight hotel guests to visit the shops and restaurants in the McNamara Terminal.

Reflections Lounge in the Atrium
Reflections Lounge in the Atrium | Source

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Hints for Picking Up Arrivals at Detroit Metro Airport DTW

One of the frustrating aspects of DTW is picking up an arrival. The pick up area for both the North Terminal and McNamara can be quite busy and sitting for long periods of time in the arrival zone is sure to draw attention of airport security and the local sheriff.

Fortunately Detroit Metro has two cell phone waiting areas. They are free and offer a fairly good vantage point to watch take-offs and landings as you wait for your arrival. Look for signs directing you to the lots as you arrive.

South Lot - Off of Eureka Road

North Green Lot - Off of the East Entrance Service drive

When you party lands have them give you a call and head for their arrival terminal. It's stress free and very convenient.

Cell Phone Waiting Lots
Cell Phone Waiting Lots | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Mike Hardy

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