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DIA offers tips for travelers for the holidays

Denver International Airport offers tips on how to travel over the holidays.

DENVER — Denver International Airport (DIA) anticipates a busy holiday period with over 2.7 million passengers projected to travel through Denver from Dec. 20, 2021 through Jan. 3, 2022. This is about 5% lower than the same period in 2019 according to a report. 

The busiest days for travel this year will be Thursday, Dec. 23, Monday, Dec. 27, and Wednesday, Dec. 29 with each of these days expecting over 200,000 total travelers at DIA and between 60,000 and 70,000 passengers traveling through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints.

For those traveling this holiday season, DIA has provided these tips to safely navigate the airport over the holidays.

Security checkpoints

DIA and TSA have made changes to the operation of screening lanes so it is extremely important for passengers to be aware of these changes to ensure they access the correct checkpoint. Additionally, DIA and TSA have increased capacity at the checkpoints by recently adding a new lane to the east side of the South Security Checkpoint and prior to Thanksgiving, adding additional lanes at the North Security Checkpoint and the A-Bridge Security Checkpoint. Passengers can see live security wait times on FlyDenver.com.


DIA's Pikes Peak Shuttle lot will be open 24 hours through Jan 6. The East Economy Lot and east and west valet are closed. DIA recommends that travelers utilizing the Pikes Peak Shuttle allow an extra 30 minutes to get to the terminal.

Passengers that are not driving can take the RTD A Line from Union Station, or meet a Ride App driver such as Uber or Lyft for pickup on Level 5, Island 5 with other ground transportation services.

Real-time parking information can be found by checking FlyDenver.com.

Bag Drop

Bag drop is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and it is available at the Transit Center located on Level 1, under the Westin Hotel, where the RTD A Line station is located. Passengers using bag drop must be checked in and have dropped off their bags at least 90 minutes before their flight. Airline bag fees are paid at the bag drop kiosk. 


United and Southwest check-in areas are now at the center of Level 6 with United on the west side and Southwest on the east side. The new check-in areas allow passengers to use kiosks to print their boarding pass and tag their bags before placing their bag on a self-bag-drop unit.

Keep your Belongings Close

DIA will never charge passengers to file a claim for a lost item.

More tips

DIA recommends arriving at the airport at least two hours prior to boarding time. 

Denver has three security checkpoints, below you will find their hours of operation: 

  • South Security is open 24 hours a day 
  • North Security is open between 4 a.m.- 9 p.m.
  • A Bridge Security is open from approximately 4:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

According to the report, TSA screening checkpoints are generally busiest early in the morning from about 5 a.m. - 10 a.m., and from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Passengers with lap infants must go to the ticket counter for the child’s boarding pass, per airline regulations.

While you’re traveling

Those traveling this holiday can view the new Colorado Winter Festivals exhibit, located in the Jeppesen Terminal on Level 6 North before A-Bridge Security. The Colorado Winter Festivals exhibit displays over 15 long-running iconic Colorado winter events. Displays feature event and town information, competition apparel, tools and equipment, festival artifacts and photographs – all depicting past and upcoming events. See photos here

Getting into the holiday spirit

The lights have been hung and the baby grand piano has been placed in the center of the terminal near arrivals. Passengers can now enjoy holiday décor including oversized ornaments, lights and life-sized reindeer made out of greenery throughout the airport. Keep an ear out for holiday tunes from pianists from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. through Dec. 24 and 4-7 p.m. through Dec. 23.

DIA Elves available to help

DIA’s volunteer ambassadors — easily identifiable in purple plaid uniforms — and staff in purple shirts are available throughout the terminal and concourses to provide directions, information or advice. Visit the information assistance webpage for more information about contacting customer service and finding various information booths.

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