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Denver International Airport Thanksgiving Travel Tips


COVID-19 Safety, Navigating the Terminal and New Tools

DENVER – Nov. 18, 2020 – The holiday season is right around the corner, which means passenger traffic will pick up around Denver International Airport (DEN). Although the airport won’t be as busy as years past, we hope to make the travel season run as smooth as possible.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday week, we expect to see a 36% decline from 2019. The Sunday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day are projected to be the busiest days with around 46,00 people projected through the checkpoints on Sunday, Nov. 22 and around 50,000 on Sunday, Nov. 29, which would be the airport’s busiest day since-mid March. To put it in perspective, while this is expected to be an especially busy time at DEN during COVID-19, it is similar to a moderate snow-storm cancellation day in 2019.

For those traveling this holiday season, DEN is providing some tips to make the journey through DEN safe and efficient:

Masks, Social Distancing and Cleanliness

Face coverings are required to be worn by everyone in the public space at DEN. Passengers who need a mask can purchase one at concessions throughout the airport or at one of two vending machines located in the terminal. All major domestic airlines also require passengers to wear a mask on board.

Signage and other indicators have been placed around the airport to encourage social distancing. Plexiglass barriers have also been placed at check-in counters, TSA document screening, airline podiums and some shops and restaurants.

A number of safety measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More than 100 hand sanitizer dispensers are located throughout the airport and disinfecting wipe dispensers are in each gate area. The airport has increased the frequency of cleaning in all public spaces and on the train. Learn more about COVID-19 safety efforts here.


DEN’s shuttle parking lots, including Pikes Peak and Mt. Elbert, East Economy lot and valet parking in both garages are currently closed. All other DEN public parking lots are open, including West Economy, the east and west garages, short term parking and the 61st and Peña lot.

Parking shuttles are running from the West Economy lot to the DEN Transit Center as usual, every 10 minutes. Shuttle capacity is limited to approximately eight passengers at a time. Passengers parking in West Economy are still able to access the east side of the terminal. Learn more about parking changes or view a list of alternative shuttle lots here.

Navigating Construction

Holiday travelers should be mindful of on-going construction impacts from the Great Hall Project and Peña Boulevard improvements.

The Great Hall Project construction has closed two lanes and the sidewalk on Level 6 passenger drop-off between Doors 606 and 610 (West side) and Doors 607 and 611 (East side). However, between Nov. 20-30 and Dec. 18-28, the Level 6 sidewalk will be open during the day to accommodate holiday traffic and allow passengers to access the sidewalk and curbside check-in.

The best way to navigate terminal construction is to follow all signage on Peña Boulevard to get to the correct airline check-in area of the terminal (East or West side). Once inside the airport, follow signs to your destination or access our interactive map online by scanning QR codes posted at check-in and throughout the terminal to help navigate around construction.

Construction is underway to improve safety and traffic flow Peña Boulevard between Jackson Gap and the terminal. Due to construction-related lane closures, drivers headed to the terminal on inbound Peña Boulevard should stay in the dedicated east-side or west-side lanes before entering the construction zone at Jackson Gap:

  • Drivers should use the left lane if they are picking up or dropping off passengers at Terminal West or parking in Economy Parking
  • Drivers should use the right lane if they are picking up or dropping off passengers at Terminal East
  • All airlines and security checkpoints are accessible from both Terminal West and Terminal East

The return to terminal loop has moved to Jackson Gap. Drivers who are picking up passengers at DEN should wait at the cell phone waiting lot at final approach until their party arrives at the passenger pick-up area on the curb.

Security Checkpoints

All DEN security checkpoints are open and operating normally. TSA lines have been reconfigured to provide wider lanes to allow for social distancing. A TSA agent may ask passengers to remove their mask to verify their identity when documents are checked. TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. TSA also asks passengers place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin during screening.

Passengers should consider using the A-Bridge Security TSA Checkpoint, located on Level 6 on the north side of the terminal. This security checkpoint is walking distance to the A gates and open from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Eats Delivered

DEN has launched Eats Delivered, a 12-month long pilot program that brings a handful of favorite DEN restaurants to anywhere in the airport, including your gate! Eats Delivered is powered by At Your Gate – users can download the “AtYourGate” app then order food (available now in the Apple App Store, coming to the Google App Store this week) from seven participating concessions and have the order delivered to their gate or in the terminal in approximately 30 minutes or less. Through EATS Delivered, DEN is looking to improve the passenger experience by offering a solution for touchless ordering, payment and delivery. By providing more dining choices, customers are no longer limited to concessions located only on their departing concourse. Eats Delivered is a way to limit the time passengers spend waiting in lines and exchanging cash or credit cards, and it also provides another convenient option for passengers with a tight connection, limited time or traveling with small kids. Learn more about Eats Delivered here.


DEN has implemented VeriFLY, a free service designed for travelers looking for a little more confidence in their journey through the airport. VeriFLY allows people to make a reservation to access a dedicated TSA screening lane a limited-capacity train car for the train that connects DEN’s terminal with its three concourses.

Anyone can make a reservation through the VeriFLY app. To participate, a health screening 24 hours before travel is required. Passengers will also have their temperatures taken before they go through security. The program is free and easy to use! Here’s how it works.

  1. Download the VeriFLY app and create an account (available on the Apple and Google app stores)
  2. Make a reservation in advance of travel (a reservation can be made up to two weeks prior to travel. A 15-minute window is blocked for the traveler to arrive at the checkpoint)
  3. Approximately 24 hours before travel, passengers will be asked to complete a COVID-19 health assessment to help ensure they are fit to fly
  4. On the day of travel, passengers will check-in with their airline then head to the VeriFLY lane at the south screening checkpoint at the reserved time. A touchless, electronic gate will scan an access code and check the passenger’s temperature before they can access the dedicated TSA lane
  5. Passengers will then proceed through TSA screening (standard and PreCheck lanes available)
  6. Once the screening process is complete, travelers will go to the center of the train platform and board the dedicated train car, with a limited number of VeriFLY passengers

Trains to the Gate

  • Busy train times generally come in short waves and trains run every 2-3 during peak times. If a train is crowded, we recommend waiting for the next one
  • Move to the center of the train platform, instead of waiting for a car at the end, generally center cars are less crowded
  • Passengers flying out of or into an A Gate should walk across the A-Bridge on Level 6, which eliminates the need to get on the train completely. Passengers flying into/out of a B or C gate can also access the A-Bridge, which will shorten their travel time on the train
  • Train rides are brief, 2-3 minutes on average. This coincides with CDC guidance regarding community exposure, they recommend less than 15 minutes around others in masks

Plan Ahead and Arrive Early:

  • Passengers are encouraged to plan ahead by checking for real-time information on security screening wait times and for details on the status of the airport’s garages and parking lots.
  • DEN has three security checkpoints. South Security is open 24 hours a day, North Security is open between 4 a.m.-9 p.m. and Bridge Security is open from 4:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Passengers should arrive in the terminal at least two hours in advance to ensure the smoothest airport experience.

Customer Service

Passengers can find friendly faces who are there to help. Employees in purple “Ask me, I’m here to help” shirts as well as customer service agents are available throughout the terminal and concourses to provide directions, information or advice. Check our information assistance webpage for more information about contacting customer service and finding various information booths.

Have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving, from your friends at DEN!

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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8500 Peña Blvd

Denver, Colorado 80249

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About DEN

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!