I returned from a conference on Wednesday of this week (October 28th, 2009) – the day that Denver was making the headlines for a massive winter storm warning, one of the coldest days on record for October, treacherous driving conditions, etc, etc. The day before my return, and during the day of travel, I kept checking “flight delays” and my flight was scheduled to depart, and arrive, on time.
Other than a little turbulence coming in to land, and not being able to see the runway until a couple hundred feet from touchdown, it was not much different from any other landing, and we were actually 10 minutes early which I found remarkable in itself. We were delayed, however, docking at our gate because the departing plane was being de-iced prior to its departure.
My point is that ever since the airport was built, for me the airport is one of the best I’ve flown in and out of, and a true asset for Colorado, especially our destination travel business. Sure, there are some detractors out there, business travelers especially it seems who want to come out of the hotel following a conference in downtown Denver, cross the street and enter into the airport check-in area the other side. I look at DIA when it comes to helping our business (as well as my own travel), and in this light it’s an often overlooked benefit.
The airport itself is wonderfully spacious, light and airy, and very easy to get around. I’ve experienced hardly any delays at baggage claim and never had to use outlying parking, with always a choice of open-air or covered parking at the terminal. Once you’re on the road, it’s interstate (I-70) all the way to exit 232, then 26 miles on US Highway 40 to Winter Park – up and over Berthoud Pass which has impeccable maintenance and plowing. Everyone I talk to that lives here in the valley say they “breathe a sigh of relief” when they get on Hwy 40. The first stop-light you encounter after leaving the airport, is the first left-hand turn for the Winter Park Ski Area at the Vintage Hotel, 2 miles from downtown.
I went to TripAdvisor and amazingly saw only 4 reviews for the airport. However, if you go to Yelp.com, you can read 174 of them! Food quality is very important for many travelers, either before their flight or in transit. My tip – no matter which concourse I depart from (A, B or C) – I always go to Concourse A and eat at Jimmy’s restaurant. For me, this has the best food of all the choices at the airport – breakfast, lunch or dinner, plus some decent wines. They even suggest pairings! Once you’ve eaten, if you depart from B or C concourse, it’s a quick one or two-stop train ride, with escalators and conveyor belts to help speed you to your gate.
All-in-all, Denver International Airport is a pleasure to fly to and from, and if just one aspect of your vacation can have a little less stress, and the whole aspect of flying can be incredibly stressful at times, then make Colorado your destination and fly into DIA.