Denver, CO

Are DIA’s record-breaking crowds causing passengers to miss flights?

Brittany Anas

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Denver International Airport hit a record number of passengers in June 2023.Photo byDenver International Airport

By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, CO) Roughly 6.77 million passengers traveled through Denver International Airport in June, the busiest month in the airport’s history and exceeded the previous record set in July 2019 by more than 35,000 travelers.

DIA says it's now on pace to hit a new annual record, projecting that 78 to 79 million passengers will travel through the airport by the end of the year. Initially, the airport forecasted that 74 million travelers would move through the airport in 2023. The busiest year on record, to date, was 2022 when DIA says it served 69.3 million passengers.

But with congestion on Pena Boulevard, the main artery to and from the airport, plus full parking lots, an antiquated train system and ongoing construction, is DIA equipped to handle the surge in passenger traffic?

According to documents obtained by 9News, Southwest Airlines—one of DIA’s largest carriers— complained that the exceptionally long security wait times ahead of early-morning departures caused hundreds of customers to miss flights.

Standard security lines often snake around baggage claim during the early-morning rush.

Airport officials plan to debut new security lanes next year. DIA expects traffic to grow, surpassing more than 100 million passengers in 2028 or sooner.

In addition to TSA PreCheck and CLEAR memberships, DIA helps passengers get through security quicker with a new reservation system called DEN Reserve. You can reserve a spot in the security line up to three days before your flight. Reservations are available between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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Brittany is a journalist in the Denver metro area with more than two decades of writing and editing experience. She covers travel, restaurants and other lifestyle topics.

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