Detroit Metropolitan Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…

Detroit Metropolitan Airport — in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration — now allows the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint of the terminal without requiring the purchase of an airline ticket…

Detroit Metropolitan Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…

…but at the present time, access is only available on Tuesdays through Sundays between 8:00 in the morning and 8:00 in the evening with a DTW Destination Pass, which is limited to 75 people per airside and with one airside per visit per day; and the trial period is for only 60 days — but if all goes well, that could change in the future.

Visitors who are younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

This shopping and dining guide gives you a list of the options which you can enjoy while visiting the airport.

The process for reservations for a DTW Destination Pass and checking in are as follows:

  1. Sign up for DTW Destination Pass at least 24 hours prior to your visit by clicking on the link below. You will be redirected to the scheduling site.
  2. Go to the McNamara Terminal Baggage Claim on the domestic arrivals level, between Carousels #2 and #3 on the day of your visit to pick up your DTW Destination Pass. Look for the “DTW Destination Pass” sign on the back wall. You must show valid photographic identification to obtain the DTW Destination Pass.
  3. Proceed through security checkpoint at your designated airside — which are the same requirements as ticketed passengers. Those participating in the DTW Destination Pass program are subject to the same security screening regulations as passengers boarding an airplane. All items prohibited in carry-on luggage — including liquids, aerosols and gels — apply to personal items taken through security. Please review this list of all items which are prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration.

Other Airports Which Have Offered Public Access in the Past Two Years

Prior to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Tampa International Airport was the latest airport to offer public access to people who are not ticketed passengers. Pittsburgh International Airport became the first airport in the United States to allow the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint without requiring an airline ticket between the hours of 9:00 in the morning through 5:00 in the evening Monday through Friday every week all year round as of Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport began to allow the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint of the terminal without requiring the purchase of an airline ticket from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 in the morning through 9:00 in the evening with the new SEA Visitor Pass as a pilot program which ended on Friday, December 14, 2018. During the trial period, 1,165 visitors enrolled in the program…

…but as of December of 2019, the SEA Visitor Pass program became permanent and available seven days per week.

Summary

I have long stated that I believe that a number of security measures which were implemented at airports across the country after the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 occurred are superfluous at best and give the arguably false impression that airports are much safer than before that infamous day.

Programs such as the ones in Detroit, Tampa, Seattle and Pittsburgh allow airports to be more accessible. Although I am all for programs of this type — which would allow merchants at businesses within the airport to potentially increase profits while people can spend more time with loved ones at the gate or elsewhere in the secure areas of the airport — problems can possibly occur: on certain days such as holidays, where do people who are not traveling on that day park their vehicles when parking facilities are already full with no empty parking spaces; and will the airports themselves become significantly more crowded?

Regardless, I am glad to see this program being introduced at Detroit Metropolitan Airport — even if it is only on Saturdays — and I hope that it will be considered at additional airports across the United States.

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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