Denver, CO

Expect DIA to be busy for the July 4th weekend. Here’s how to prepare

Claire Cleveland
Woman strolling through an airport.Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi / Pexels

By Claire Cleveland / NewsBreak

(Denver, CO) Denver International Airport expects nearly 1.2 million people to travel through the airport over the Fourth of July weekend, which will meet or exceed the number of travelers from the same weekend in 2019.

That many travelers means a busy airport and could complicate your trip to see friends or family during the patriotic weekend. To prepare, make sure to check your flight status with your airline for up-to-date delay or cancellation information. And as usual, arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight.

Here’s what you need to know once you arrive at the airport:


  • All DEN on-site parking lots are open except valet parking in both garages and the Mt. Elbert lot, which opens if Pikes Peak reaches capacity.
  • The Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot is $8 a day. If the more than 8,000 spots fill at Pikes Peak, the Mount Elbert shuttle lot will open as an overflow lot.
  • Learn more about parking options and see real-time parking availability online.

Remote bag check

Passengers now have two ways to drop off their luggage and print their boarding passes before entering the airport.

  • DEN’s free bag drop service is available on 75th Ave. near the Pikes Peak parking lot and at the transit center near the RTD A-Line. Bag drop is a free service offered by DEN and is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily for domestic flights on United, Southwest, Delta, American, Alaska and Spirit. Flights to international destinations are not eligible for the bag check service.
  • Passengers using bag drop must be checked in and have dropped off their bags at least 90 minutes before their flight. Airline bag fees (if applicable) are paid at the bag drop kiosk.
  • Passengers with lap infants must visit the ticket counter for the child’s boarding pass, per airline regulations.

Security checkpoints

  • DEN has 32 screening lanes available for use by TSA as staffing levels allow.
  • Passengers are strongly encouraged to use the North Security Checkpoint for TSA PreCheck and the South Security Checkpoint for standard screening.
  • Passengers can also check for real-time security wait times to help select the best checkpoint.

While you’re at the airport:

Through Oct. 2, the plaza – located between the Westin and Jeppesen Terminal – has transformed into a park that will give travelers and community members a “refreshing, unexpected airport experience.”

The park includes native Colorado trees and outdoor lounge seating, plus a free 10-hole mini-golf course through July 17.

Canine Therapy Squad

While traveling through the airport, look out for one of over 80 DEN Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS) teams throughout the terminal and concourses.

The DEN CATS features four-legged volunteers who offer travelers a friendly wag or furry cuddle. They sport violet plaid “Pet Me” vests. Travelers can hug, pet and take pictures with DEN’s comfort crew.

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Claire Cleveland is a Denver-based freelance writer with a background in health and science reporting. She's covered the pandemic extensively and local news in Colorado. Previously, Claire was a reporter and producer for Colorado Public Radio.

Denver, CO

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