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Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is one of the largest air transportation hubs in the world. Located in the Detroit suburb of Romulus, Michigan, it’s a major tourism gateway and a hub for several major US carriers. Onward transportation to the city and its surroundings is with car hire in Detroit Airport, several bus services and airport or pre-booked taxis. Self-drive is the best way to get around, especially if you’re planning to tour the region.
Who to Book With
Eight internationally-known car rental companies are represented at the airport, with most of them storing their cars at off-complex parking lots which are accessible by free shuttle bus. Favourites with visitors include Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Thrifty and Alamo, and booking in advance is recommended as it ensures a faster getaway.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents must be presented at vehicle collection:
- The credit card used for the reservation
- A valid driver’s licence
- A passport confirming your ID
- Confirmation of booking
Although America drives on the right, its interstates, highways and lesser roads cause no problems for visiting experienced drivers. Speed limits on highways are 70mph, and instant fines are levied if the limit is ignored. Driving in rural areas is generally traffic-jam free, but within Detroit it’s another matter, although the city is generally auto-friendly. As in most massive UK cities, rush hour traffic here is every motorist’s worst nightmare. The downtown area is well-provided with parking lots, and metered on-street parking may be had. Maximum daily rates at the lots are around £8 and petrol stations are everywhere, with most accepting card payments.
As yet, the airport has no rail service linking it with the city, although a commuter rail line is in the planning stages. Detroit’s Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) bus service offers two bus routes to the city, and taxi ranks are located outside the terminals’ Arrivals exits. Most hotels around the airport’s perimeter supply shuttle buses, and limos can be hired, as can private shuttle buses. Car hire is recommended as the city’s public transport isn’t yet up to its size.
There is no rail link between the city and the airport, but the city’s New Center district has an Amtrak station with services to Chicago. Fares range between £15 and £30, and the journey lasts up to 6 hours.
Taxi travel from the airport and around the city is reliable and comfortable, but it’s the most expensive way to get around. Several licensed cab companies serve the airport and can be booked in advance. All airport taxis are metered and the trip to the city takes around an hour dependent on traffic.
Detroit Airport to Detroit city centre is about £30
Detroit Airport to Ann Arbor is about £40
Detroit Airport to Grosse Pointe is about £50
Detroit Airport to Troy is about £65
Public bus transportation to Detroit and its suburbs is offered by municipal bus service SMART. Two bus lines, numbers 125 and 280, stop outside the North Terminal and run hourly to the city centre, with the journey taking around 1 hour, 30 minutes and costing around £1.25. Payment is by fare box at the front of the bus and requires the correct change as, if you pay with a bill, you will only get a ‘change card’ with credits for future journeys.
Detroit Airport’s McNamara Terminal is split between domestic and international halls, and is the region’s gateway to Asia and Europe. Recently modernised and expanded, the complex, including the new North Terminal which is linked to McNamara by express trams, deals with 33 million passengers a year. Delta is by far the main carrier, offering world-wide flights as well as routes to domestic destinations, with Lufthansa, Air France, American and United also active. Intercontinental destinations include Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London.
The airport offers over 19,000 on-complex parking spaces, including spaces in two multi-storey car parks, each close to a terminal, with additional short-term parking areas opposite the terminals’ entrances. Long-term parking is had at the Green Lot, which is served by shuttle buses to the concourses. Payment is by credit card at machines, and charges range from around £2 for half an hour to £7 for 24 hours in the long-term bays and £18 for 24 hours in the short-term car parks.
Wi-Fi internet access at the airport is provided free for 30 minutes, after which time a subscription service via Boingo kicks in, costing around £6 for 24 hours of unlimited access.
There are information desks in both terminals’ public areas and Arrivals halls.
Service Centre: +1 734 247 7678
Reserved parking spaces close to the terminals are provided for passengers with reduced mobility, together with SkyCap assistance on request from airport or airline staff and through the Ground Transportation Center. All transport options are wheelchair-accessible, and wheelchairs can be provided. Adapted toilets, special seating areas, lifts and ramps come as standard, and special foods can be arranged.
Restaurants and Bars
Both terminals offer a plethora of bars, cafés and restaurants, with McNamara Terminal’s landside Central Link area home to fast food outlets, the Musashi Japanese Restaurant and several coffee shops. Airside are Diego’s Mexican Cantina, the Martini Lounge, the Mediterranean Grill, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and other casual dining options. The North Terminal boasts TGI Friday’s, Le Petit Bistro and a good selection of fast foods and snack/coffee bars.
Delta Sky Club Lounge
Armed Forces Lounge
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge
Money and ATMs
ATMs are available in the McNamara Terminal, along the concourse between the boarding gates, and currency exchange booths are found in the Central Link and International Arrivals area. Currency exchange in the North Terminal is found in the Baggage Claim hall and between gates D10 and D11, and ATMs are sited landside and airside.
Shopping is available in both the McNamara and North terminals, with a variety of shops offering books, travel goods, gifts, fashions and accessories, pharmaceutical needs and more. All the usual duty-free shopping treats can be had in both airside concourses, although McNamara holds the best selection. In its Central Link area, you’ll find Brookes Brothers and Travelmart, and the Departures lounge hosts upscale gift and souvenir stores, Forever Silver, Erwin Pearls, L’Occitane, Motown Harley Davidson, Swarovski and designer fashion shops, as well as a great choice of duty-free goodies.