I had to take the American Airlines flight from DFW to Austin last week. I would normally drive because it is only 3 hours but I had to fly this time as I am heading on to Boston from Austin. That led me to evaluate – “So is it worth it to fly 37 minutes or rather drive instead ?”

Arrival at DFW airport:

I arrived at DFW airport at about 12h30 on Saturday for my 14h30 flight. As I have said before I always plan to arrive 2 hours before flying as a precaution in case of traffic problems or delays at check-in or security. This experience was great. Priority check-in was just a few minutes and then bonus! No-one in the TSA-Pre line. From arriving at check-in to getting through security took me only about 5 minutes.

American Airlines check-in counter at Terminal C

TSA-Pre check-in line

Off to the Capital One lounge:

Seeing as I was through so quickly my next move was naturally to catch the Sky Link train across to Terminal D and the Capital One lounge.

Stairs up to the SkyLink

The lounge was rather busy today, Saturday at 12h45, so it took a moment to find a place to sit. Luckily I found a comfy seat at the window so I could sit and watch the planes taking off while drinking a cappuccino.

Cathay Pacific Cargo plane speeding down the runway

Cathy Pacific Cargo plane taking off






















I am trying each of the cocktails on the menu, so today I had the BlueBonnet containing Lemon vodka, Apricot, Lemon sour, Texas wildflower honey, Butterfly tea float. A really interesting combination but it was rather sweet. Definitely tasty if you like a sweet drink, so I enjoyed it a lot.

Capital One lounge drinks menu

Attached is a picture of my snacks on this visit. Always enjoyable to visit this lounge.

Snacks, cappuccino, Bluebonnet cocktail.

Boarding the aircraft:

I boarded the aircraft in Group 3 and sat at my normal seat at the window. American Airlines has 9 groups that passengers are divided into according to priority status and ticket price. My status gives me instant access to seating as soon as my ticket is booked so I am normally able to get a seat at the window near the front of the plane.

On board the 737-800.

Getting ready for the 37 minute flight

View from the window seat

The safety card is its normal informative self, showing evacuation procedures and on board requirements.

737 safety card

737 evacuation procedure

Health information and drinks list

I believe the seats near the front of the plane have enough leg room. I am 6 ft tall and am always comfortable on the 737.

Available leg room.

Each seat has an electric plug which helps with laptops, tablets and phones.

Plug point for personal use.

Plug at the seat.

The 37 minute flight:

The pilot did his pre-flight announcement and there it was. He announced that the flight would take 37 minutes and we would be flying at 20,000 feet. So no time for drinks to be served or a movie to be watched, just enough time to maybe watch one episode of a sitcom. The entertainment supplement listed all the movies that are available, maybe on a next flight I can find out about “A man called Otto”.

Inflight Entertainment


List of available movies

Live TV, audiobooks and podcasts and music.

Austin-Bergstrom airport:


Before you knew it it was time to land. The landing was smooth and we trundled along to our gate. We walked up the ramp into the airport and at the gate I turned and saw that the plane would be boarding again in about 30 minutes for the return 37 minute flight to DFW airport. I could ask those passengers “So is it worth it to fly 37 minutes or rather drive instead?” too.

I wandered down the passage heading to the baggage area, passing the great chicken sandwich place on the left and the must-have barbecue place on the right. There is even a Joint chiropractic branch at Austin airport. Right at the end you go down a floor to the baggage area. There is an interesting display of guitar art on the carousels, all based on the importance of music to Austin.

Baggage carousels.

Keeping Austin weird

We waited 15 to 20 minutes for our bags so that added to the flight duration.

Evaluation of the flight:

The American Airlines flight from DFW to Austin had only taken 37 minutes but I had spent 3 and a half hours from arriving at DFW to leaving Austin airport.

The positioning of the taxi, Lyft and Uber area at Austin airport does not help to make leaving smooth. You exit the main airport building, cross the busy streets, walk into the parking garage, go down a floor by elevator, then have more than 5 minutes walk through the garage, then cross the road to the next garage which has areas for each type of transport.

Whenever I work in San Antonio I normally drive, mainly so that I can stop in Lockhart – the barbecue capital of Texas. It is a 4 hour drive and that is similar to the time I would spend in the airports. So the 3 hour drive to Austin would have been easy. Of course I would also have had to pay $52 a night for 7 days for parking at our downtown hotel. The cost compared to the time saved makes it more difficult to decide.

There are positives and negatives associated with driving or flying so I will let you all make up your own minds about this flight.

So is it worth it to fly 37 minutes or rather drive instead ?