5:10 p.m. Denver time
Friday, October 24, 2014

Travel Tips

Traveling through Denver International Airport

Before You Leave for the Airport

  • Call and check ahead to plan your visit to the airport. Visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Web site to learn how to improve your overall security experience.
  • Visit your airline’s Web site to check-in for your flight online.
  • Call (303) 342-8477 (303 DIA-TIPS) for current wait times at security screening.
  • Call (303) 342-7275 (303 DIA-PARK) for parking space availability.
  • Call (303) 342-4059 for information on taxis, buses, shuttles and other commercial transportation.

Getting to the Airport

Denver International Airport (DIA) is conveniently located less than 35 minutes from downtown Denver by car, shuttle bus, public transportation or taxi.

Peña Boulevard is the primary route to DIA. The boulevard is accessible from I-70 (Exit 284 eastbound, Exit 285 westbound), from Airport Boulevard, from Tower Road or from E-470. Please note that E-470 is a cashless toll road and that a photo will be taken of your license plate and sent to the place of vehicle registration for toll collection. Other fees may apply per your rental vehicle agreement. For more information contact your rental car company and visit E-470.com

Passenger Drop Off

If you are dropping off a passenger at curbside, follow the "Departures" signs to Jeppesen Terminal (either east or west sides). Airline ticket counters are just inside the doors and overhead roadway signs indicate which airlines operate from the east and west sides of the terminal. You may drive through and drop your passenger at the curbside location designated for his or her airline.

Some airlines offer curbside luggage check-in service. Checking luggage at curbside may be faster than checking bags at the ticket counter.


  • Short-term parking is available. If you want to park and enter the facility to pick up or drop off travelers, park in Short Term parking on level 4 of terminal Garage West or terminal Garage East for only $4 per hour.
  • The $12-per-day Economy West and Economy East lots (located next to the terminal garages) usually fill up first. Get updated information on available parking spaces by visiting our Parking page or by calling (303) 342-7275.
  • DIA’s least expensive parking is the $8-per-day Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot. Allow an extra 20 to 30 minutes to get to the lot and catch the free shuttle bus to Jeppesen Terminal. Free shuttle buses leave for the terminal every 10 minutes.
  • Last-minute travelers should be able to find space in the terminal parking garages, which cost $3 per hour or a maximum $23 per day. The garages normally do not fill up during the holidays.
  • Overhead digital electronic signs and variable message boards on inbound Peña Boulevard display parking availability.
  • For your safety, parking or stopping along any airport roadway is prohibited. Violators are subject to ticketing. Curbside parking at Jeppesen Terminal is prohibited
  • The free Cell Phone Waiting Lot also is available via the 75th Avenue exit from inbound Peña Boulevard; turn left onto Gun Club Road and then left again onto 77th Avenue.

Checking In

The airport recommends that you be in the ticketing lobbies at least 90 minutes before departure, with international travelers allowing at least two hours. This will give you ample time to check in, pass through security screening and get to your departure gate. Add extra time if you plan to use one of DIA’s shuttle parking lots.

Ticket Counters

  • You can save time by using self-service check-in kiosks, but if you are checking luggage, you may still need to stop at the ticket counter.
  • You will need a government-issued photo ID (driver's license, passport, etc.) to check in at the ticket counter. Ask your airline what its ID requirements are for minors.
  • Allow more time if you are traveling with infants, young children, elderly passengers or people with disabilities.
  • Never leave your luggage unattended, and never accept any objects from strangers.

Checked Luggage

  • Checking luggage at curbside may be faster than checking bags at the ticket counter.
  • Check as much luggage as possible to minimize carry-on bags and to speed up security screening. Many airlines charge fees for checking bags.
  • Ask your airline how long before departure it stops accepting checked luggage.
  • The TSA screens all checked baggage. Unlocked bags can be examined quickly. Locked bags will be opened, if necessary, and then resealed. This process could result in a delay or damage to your bag if it is locked.
  • Put identification on the outside and inside of all bags.
  • Leave gift packages unwrapped.

Carry-on Luggage

  • You are allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item (purse, briefcase or laptop, etc). Airlines are enforcing this rule more strictly. A carry-on bag must fit under your seat or in the aircraft's overhead bin.
  • Carry-on bag dimensions should not be more than: 9-inches by 14-inches by 22-inches (length by height by width) or 45 linear inches (the length, height and width added together).
  • Check with your airline to learn which items may be exempt from the one-piece limit. Some examples are:
    • Child safety seats for ticketed children .
    • Assistive devices (canes, crutches, etc.) .
    • Outer garments (coats, hats, etc.).
  • Pack medicines (insulin, needles, prescription drugs), diapers, baby food and other essentials in your carry-on luggage. Remember that all carry-on bags are subject to random search.

Passenger Pickup

The free Cell Phone Waiting Lot is located along the north side of Peña Boulevard approximately three miles from Jeppesen Terminal (just beyond the E-470 overpass on inbound Peña Boulevard). Travelers inbound on Peña Boulevard should take the 75th Avenue exit, turn left onto Gun Club Road and then left again onto 77th Avenue. This location is ideal for people who are waiting to pickup arriving travelers and do not want to park and enter the facility. You may park in this waiting area until your party arrives and calls you, then drive to the terminal to meet them at a pre-arranged door on Arrivals (level 4 in the Jeppesen Terminal). NOTE: Public telephones are not available in the Cell Phone Waiting Lot.

Curbside Pickup

Arrivals (level 4 of Jeppesen Terminal) is designated for curbside passenger pickup. Arriving passengers collect luggage on level 5 of the terminal, then take an escalator or elevator down to level 4, where private automobiles drive through and pick up passengers. Drivers are not allowed to park and wait for passengers to arrive. Passengers must be at curbside waiting for their rides. Any unattended vehicles will be towed immediately.

Drivers should follow the signs on Peña Boulevard to the Arrivals level on either the east or west side of the terminal, according to airline name. Overhead signs identify airline locations.

Meeting Passengers Inside the Airport

Only ticketed passengers may go to the airline gates. If you need to accompany a traveler who is a minor, an elderly person or an individual with special needs to or from a gate, contact the airline they are traveling with to make special arrangements to allow you to go through security and escort a passenger to their gate. This must be arranged in advance with the airline and not the airport.

  • Domestic Travelers - After parking in terminal garages or parking lots, we suggest meeting domestic travelers in the Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, at either the train exit or the appropriate baggage-claim carousel.
  • International Travelers - To meet passengers who are arriving on a flight from an international destination, go to level 5 of Jeppesen Terminal. DIA’s International Arrivals area is at the north end of the terminal. International passengers will exit from the Customs and Federal Inspection Services facility here. They will have already claimed their bags before going through Customs.

Airport Information and Assistance

Directions and information are available from the airport’s Hospitality Ambassadors or from Guest Services staff in the terminal and concourse information booths. Guest Services can be reached by dialing (303) 342-2000, or by calling the airport’s toll-free line, (800) AIR-2-DEN ((800) 247-2336).

Traveling With Children

Children Flying Solo

Arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied requires coordination and planning. Begin by talking with an airline representative to learn what services your airline offers for children traveling alone. Policies vary. The minimum age allowable for unaccompanied flight depends on whether the flight is nonstop, direct or connecting. Some airlines will sanction unaccompanied international trips, but most carriers let children fly alone only on domestic flights. The airline you choose may charge a fee for providing unaccompanied minor passenger services. Parents must fill out an airline’s unaccompanied minor form. Every airline will need to know:

  • The name and age of the child .
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the parent or guardian who will bring the child to the departure gate.
  • Emergency contact telephone numbers.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the adult who will meet and pick up the child at the destination airport.

Airlines may require a parent or guardian to bring the traveling child to the airline departure gate, and to wait there until passengers board the plane and the aircraft takes off. When a child is released to the airline’s supervision, a representative will make sure the child boards the flight with all necessary documentation and tickets. On board, a flight attendant will see to the child’s needs and will safeguard tickets and other paperwork.

At the destination city, an airline agent will meet the plane and receive the child from the flight attendant. After the minor passenger disembarks, the airline will release the child to the adult designated to pick up the unaccompanied minor. The child will not be released to anyone else. This person must have valid photo identification. Parents should tell traveling children who will be picking them up at their destination.

    Things to consider:
  • Check with your airline to learn whether it allows unaccompanied children on connecting flights or only on nonstop flights.
  • Flights for unaccompanied children usually cannot be booked online via an airline’s Web site.
  • Children may need proof-of-age documents. 
  • For international flights, children will need proper documentation for the country they are visiting (passports, visas, immunization records, etc.).
  • Airlines are sensitive to flight delays and diversions. If there is a delay or any chance that an unaccompanied minor will miss a connecting flight, the airline may refuse service or reschedule the flight. Airlines might not accept an unaccompanied minor on the last flight of the day.
  • Provide children with cash, with a telephone calling card or cell phone, and with contact numbers for emergencies.
  • Airlines will not administer scheduled medications to children flying alone. Children must be able to take their medicine themselves.
  • Advise children flying alone to stay in their seats while passengers unload. Once all passengers are off the plane, an airline representative will meet the child and escort the child to the designated adult recipient.
  • Escorts for unaccompanied teenagers usually are optional, although age limits vary among airlines.

Teens Flying Without an Airline Escort

    Recommendations for parents:
  • Review trip itineraries and explain all aspects and possibilities of the trip to teenagers unaccustomed to air travel, so they will know what to expect during their journey.
  • If teenagers need help during their trip, advise them not to ask questions of strangers, but to ask only airline or airport personnel.
  • Traveling teenagers should have emergency contact telephone numbers, cash, and a calling card or cell phone. Have teenagers call you when they arrive at their destination.
  • Plan for all trip expenses so teenagers have the necessary resources for meals, ground transportation and incidentals. Consider giving them cash for unexpected expenses (delays).

Visit your airline’s Web site for its policies on children passengers.

Flying with ChildrenVideo

Contact your airline of choice for information about underage passengers and for procedures governing children flying alone. Each airline has its own policies for children’s fares and services. These policies generally are available on airline Web sites. Check to find out what ID requirements your airline has for minor passengers. As a general rule, airlines classify children under age two as infants and allow one infant per adult to sit on an adult’s lap. These infant passengers are called “lap children.” Currently, on domestic flights, lap children fly free, and some airlines allow a passenger as young as age 12 to hold an infant during a flight.

Most airlines will charge 50 percent of the normal adult fare for an infant who is in a car seat and occupies an airline passenger seat. All airlines require any infant seat or child-restraint device to be FAA-approved and to be certified for aircraft use. Because policies vary among airlines, check with your air carrier for its child and infant fares.

    Things to consider:
  • Bring a child’s favorite toy, a puzzle, a coloring book or a storybook — anything that can be easily packed and that will help entertain a child on a flight. You should bring headsets for any electronic entertainment (DVDs, CDs, games, etc.).
  • A cabin window might interest children, so consider reserving window seats.
  • Often, children are susceptible to ear pain caused by cabin pressure adjustments. Airlines suggest giving children food or drink during take-off and landing. Chewing gum and ear plugs might also ease discomfort.
  • If you need a baby meal, request it when making flight reservations.
  • Some airlines will warm up baby bottles onboard. Express flights may not have this capability.
  • In some instances, a child’s age must be documented (e.g., for fares).
  • Bring an adequate supply of diapers. Some aircraft will have bassinets or changing tables. Confirm with your air carrier.
  • If you are traveling with an infant or a child younger than 15, you cannot sit in an aircraft exit row.

Traveling with Pets

Each airline has its own policy about traveling with pets. Some carriers may not allow pets on their aircraft at all. Others will allow certain kinds of pets, but only in the cargo hold. A few airlines will let smaller cats or dogs travel in a carrying case under a seat in the passenger cabin. But airlines normally restrict the number of pets in the cabin.

For pets that fly, federal and state laws require a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. These certificates, which can be provided by your vet, must be presented to your airline prior to your flight.

    Consider several things before flying with a pet, especially if it will be traveling in the cargo hold:
  • Your pet’s health and age. Take your pet to a veterinarian to make certain that it is healthy enough for air travel.
  • Remember, puppies and kittens must be at least eight weeks old to travel on an aircraft.
  • Consult your vet before giving your pet a tranquilizer. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that, in most cases, cats and dogs should not be given tranquilizers or sedatives before flying.
  • Try to book a nonstop flight, and try to avoid busy holiday or weekend travel. It is best to fly your pet during times when temperatures are moderate. For instance, fly in the morning or evening during the summer months to avoid midday heat. Some airlines have restrictions if temperatures are above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees.
  • Be sure your pet’s collar and kennel have identification tags that include your name, telephone number, and flight information.
  • If the pet is flying in the cargo hold, make sure you put food and water in the kennel.
  • Bring your pet’s favorite toys with you.

If you travel outside the continental United States, be aware that some places, including Hawaii, require your pet to have special vaccinations and may impose a quarantine period when you arrive at your destination. Contact the host country, or ask your airline for assistance in learning the rules that pertain to traveling with your pet outside the U.S. mainland.

Did You Know?

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