Denver, CO

Denver International Airport anticipating more than 2.7 million passengers for the holidays, offers tips for travelers

Steven Bonifazi
Travelers move through the security line the day before Thanksgiving at the Denver International Airport on November 21, 2007 in Denver.(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

By Steven Bonifazi

(DENVER, Colo.) With the holidays quickly approaching, Denver International Airport is expecting to see more than 2.7 million passengers travel through the airport from Monday through Jan. 3, 2022

This projected number of expected travelers is nearly 5% lower than the same period in 2019, according to a press release from Denver International Airport (DEN). The airport is predicting that Dec. 23, Dec. 27 and Dec. 29 will be the busiest travel days this year, with more than 200,000 total passengers expected at DEN and 60,000 to 70,000 travelers going through TSA checkpoints.

The following are tips and what to expect when traveling through DEN this holiday season:

Plan Ahead: Checkpoints

Arriving at DEN no less than two hours before boarding time is recommended as TSA screening checkpoints are often the busiest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. DEN currently has three security checkpoints, with the South Security being open 24 hours a day, North Security being open from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Bridge Security open from 4:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

DEN and TSA have expanded capacity at TSA checkpoints by adding a new lane at the east side of the South Security Checkpoint in addition to extra lanes at the North Security Checkpoint and the A-Bridge Security Checkpoint.
A traveler undergoes an enhanced pat down by a Transportation Security Administration agent at the Denver International Airport.(John Moore/Getty Images)

Standard screening for most passengers takes place at the South Security Checkpoint in addition to Clear travelers without TSA PreCheck. TSA PreCheck, Clear travelers with TSA PreCheck, travelers with one item are available at North Security Checkpoint in addition to a limited number of standard screening lanes.

The A-Bridge Security Checkpoint, open from 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, is mainly for standard screening and is a sufficient option to walk to A gates as opposed to taking the train.


The Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot will be open 24/7 through Jan 6 and travelers using the lot should plan to take 30 minutes to get to the terminal. The East Economy Lot and east and west valet are not open. However, the RTD A Line from Union Station can transport those not driving to the airport.
Cars in the parking lot are dusted with snow that fell overnight at Denver International Airport on November 21, 2007 in Denver, Colorado.(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Bag drop, a free service available daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., is located at the Transit Center on Level 1, is available for domestic flights on airlines including Alaska, American, Delta, Spirit, Southwest and United. Passengers can utilize drop bag as long as they are checked in and drop their bags off no less than 90 minutes before their flight and can then skip checking their bag.


United and Southwest check-in areas have moved to the center of Level 6, with United on the west side and Southwest on the east. These new check-in areas offer travelers the opportunity to utilize kiosks to print boarding passes and tag bags before placing them on a self-bag-drop unit.
Travelers move briskly through a sparsely populated terminal at the Denver International Airport on November 21, 2007 in Denver, Colorado.(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Holiday decor from oversized ornaments, lights and life-sized reindeer are throughout the airport to get travelers in the holiday spirit. Also, DEN has over 160 shopping options throughout the airport, including any last-minute gifts for your loved ones.

Ultimately, DEN Elves or volunteer ambassadors wearing purple plaid uniforms as well as staff in purple shirts will be positioned throughout the terminal and concourses to help with directions, information or advice for anyone feeling a little stressed while traveling during the holidays.

For more information regarding Denver International Airport, including live security wait times and real-time parking information, click here.

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