Travelers taking to the skies for Christmas may still face tight parking options at Denver International Airport, but fall’s long security wait is over.
Despite passenger traffic, which was close to pre-pandemic levels around Thanksgiving, DIA officials said security lines are rarely longer than 20 minutes. Thanks in large part to the reshuffling of the existing security setup, along with moving the TSA PreCheck lines to a checkpoint, as well as squeezing in a few extra screening lanes.
But long waits are still possible on heavy-travel days in the coming week.
DIA officials said in a news release on Monday – about 2.7 million passengers are expected to travel through the airport between now and January 3 – with travel volume down about 5% compared to the same holiday period in 2019.
on peak days – Thursday, December 23; Monday, December 27; And Wednesday, December 29 — Airport officials expect a total of more than 200,000 passengers and 60,000 to 70,000 people to go through TSA checkpoints each day.
DIA’s parking options are still a bit limited due to the lack of shuttle drivers, as the East Economy lot is closed to the public so airport workers can park there – a move that cost shuttle drivers $8-a-day. K Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot Freed for Reopening.
Airport officials expect a lot more capacity, but it could mean that travelers who are used to parking nearby should use the park in shuttle lots instead.
Here are some basic tips:
- Give Yourself Plenty of Time – The DIA has recently recommended arriving two hours before your flight’s boarding time in case you back up at security checks. Check out wait times at Flydenver.com.
- Passengers with a PreCheck membership or the airline’s quick-screening status should head to the lower level north checkpoint, which is on the sidewalk. Everyone else, including Clear members who do not have PreCheck status, must go through screening at the South Checkpoint, which is adjacent to the hotel and transit center, or at the A-Bridge checkpoint on Level 6. Both primarily offer general screening.
- TSA screening checkpoints are usually busiest from around 5 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
- The garage and the West Economy lot were the first to be filled during Thanksgiving week. The A-Line train’s 61st Avenue and Pena Boulevard stations also filled DIA-owned lots, but the A-Line is a good option for getting to DIA, with parking available at several other stations. Check the parking status indicators on the DIA’s website ahead of time.
- If you park at Pike’s Peak Shuttle Lot or Mount Albert Lot, which can be opened as a backup option, the DIA asks to allow 30 minutes to reach the terminal.
- Walking through the terminal is very easy these days, with most of the construction walls being demolished in the central part of the building in early November. But part of the north-west section is blocked for the latest phase of the renovation project.
Reporter Sam Tabachnik contributed to this report.