tripchi editor’s note: You’ll find that Denver Airport is a breeze to fly through. With several security entrances (including a hidden and less crowded entry by the Terminal A footbridge), and two sides for passenger drop-off (East and West), getting in and out is easy. There’s a high-speed train that connects the 3 terminals underground, making it easy to shop and dine in a terminal other than where your flight is departing from. Finally, there’s a plethora of shopping and dining that reflect both the local culture of Denver, as well as the eclectic and global tastes of Denver Airport passengers. And, these options are available both pre- and post-security. We’re pleased to present Denver International Airport in the tripchi airport app – it’s not only our home airport, but it’s also an Airport 2.0.
And now, on to @SlickNickRicky’s review.
Denver Airport – the approach
Driving up to Denver Airport (DEN), you get a sense of how the new design is overtaking the classic terminal that used to be there. But once inside, it’s even better. A sleek, smooth flowing terminal design (round of applause to Fentress Bradburn Architects) transitions drastically into the world renowned peaked roofs (I liken it to an Indian tee-pee village) that covers the main Jeppeson Terminal of Denver Airport.
Once inside, the terminal provides ample opportunities to eat, drink and be merry (stop by the Red Rocks Bar & BBQ for some killer BBQ) after a quick and efficient bag drop. On the top floor, you’ll find familiar favorites like Taco Bell and Burger King next to Panda Express and some local favorite chains. Downstairs, take in the art shops, local crafts and souvenirs; something for everybody it seems, and all with that traditional, friendly mid-Western flair.
The terminal is set up quite efficiently, more on that as you read on.
Check-in at Denver Airport
Check in was a cinch. I scanned my iPhone’s passbook e-ticket, handed the nice lady behind the Delta counter my bag, she handed me a bag claim ticket, and I was off. I was the only person in the first class line at the time, but even the economy lines had less than three people waiting. Nevertheless, there were ample representatives to handle the traffic if and when it arrived. I suspect that even had I not checked in online on the Hertz shuttle en route, that printing my boarding pass there at the counter wouldn’t have taken any more time. Enough said about this, piece of cake.
Security at Denver Airport
Security at Denver Airport was fast and easy. I showed my Delta Sky Priority credentials and was escorted to the front of the relatively short line, whizzed through the fancy x-ray machine and was off again. The regular line was moving well, also. I recognized somebody in the line (for their brightly colored tie-dye shirt) and noticed them again in my concourse not ten minutes later, and they had just gotten to the line around the same time I did, so again, unless there’s a huge huge rush hour going on, I don’t think you’ll have an issue. The TSA guys were efficient, pushed people along at a consistent, yet friendly pace and ran a very tight screening process.
Well, somehow I got it in my head that it was a good idea to tell tripchi readers that I would have a few hours to spare if they wanted a writeup…SO…I spent my time before the flight trying to figure out what to write about! But that was the easy part. The airport is great. I started, as I always do, by finding my gate. There’s something comforting to me whilst I browse about knowing how to get where I need to be, so, check, and done. I discovered that, as the Jeppesen Terminal spiders out into three separate concourses, it is all accessible ONLY by train (which is very convenient, just be prepared to plug your ears; the musical accompaniment to the announcements is the equivalent of being stuck inside ‘its a small world’ for a while). However it was still easy to get around and take in the various sights, shops and restaurants on various levels. As each concourse has two to four levels of shopping and eating, it was hard to hit them all, but I did find some cool highlights.
First, if you’re a smoker, you can’t beat a bar you can eat, drink and smoke in. Head to the top of the escalators from the train in the Aztec themed reception area of Concourse C and look to your left. Over there in the corner is your little hideaway for the next few hours; The Smokin’ Bear, purchase required…
Post-Security at Denver Airport
After (or before) head to gate C39 at Denver Airport and you’ll find Climax Jerky Stand. With as many samples as you can try from spicy to terriyaki and beef to salmon, I dare you to leave without a few bags. The spicy buffalo is a must. For you Mexican food fans, you’ll go loco for La Casita. It’s authentic Mexican sped-up subway sandwich shop style. The homemade tamales, in Concourses B and C are a treat. Incidentally the tripchi airport app will tell you what awaits post-security so you can evaluate whether you want to go through or not.
Look for this sign in the food courts for both:
For you folks on the more “distinguished” side, head to Concourse B, main level and have a drink in Elways or Aviators…both very traditional classic airport bars with great selections. Or for something more modern and hip, try Lounge 5280 (just out of curiosity, how do you think they came up with that name?), third level, right above you as you disembark the train. You’ll need a stiff drink or two to get that music out of your head anyways. Sorry for the bad pic, but it’s well hidden right out in the open, this may help you get there:
Don’t want to drink too much? Why not? Just kidding…if you like being on the healthy side, make a beeline for Itza Wrap (also Itza Bowl is in the same storefront by the escalators) where you’ll find fast, affordable healthy food, sushi, salads, soups, sandwiches, etc. It all looked excellent and fresh, and I didn’t see a price tag over $8.99. But for you guys lucky enough to be in Terminal C, You can’t miss RootDown. Their bar is fitted with a variety of different place settings, menu is HUGE, affordable and with a constantly rotating selection of beers and ciders, it’s a great place to hunker down for a while. Always quiet and with plenty of TVs, it’s unique down to the custom water bottles you get to pour yourself (no need to leave a tip that way 😉 I’m just kidding – always tip your service professionals, folks).
Anything special at Denver Airport?
You betcha. Even before you get into the security area, on your left is a quiet space for reflection, an art gallery with rotating guest artists, and an art exhibit across from the Red Rocks Bar & BBQ that not only sells, but packages and delivers your favorite scenery prints from the Rockies. A nice place to get a quality memento, and spend some quality time taking in the scenery during your wait.
Another fascinating aspect of the building (aside from the building itself, it really is special) is the fact that each of the three main concourse train stops has a unique theme, from modern aviation with airplanes hanging from the ceiling to Aztec ruins and waterfalls, they did a great job sprucing the place up a bit. Changing scenery just a little bit can make a lot of difference for a weary traveler like me…it didn’t go unnoticed that’s for sure.
What I Liked Most about Denver Airport
I LOVED the quality selection of food and drink. The combination available could make even a four or six hour layover doable. If not, just go get a massage or mani/pedi and kill some time relaxing, this place is quite chill, as a matter of fact. It’s a busy airport, but has none of the hustle and bustle of some other hubs.
But something to note, that many people won’t realize unless they travel way too much, is that the terminal is labeled both East and West, but it’s not two separate terminals. East has some airlines, and West has some airlines, but they all have one common eating and drinking area that funnels into security, and one common ticketing and baggage claim area that funnels out to both was and west sides, so no matter which shuttle you take, which rental car facility you’re going to, or where you get dropped off rushing to catch a flight, you’re always at the right spot, you may just have to walk through rather than drive around. It made things very easy, especially when needing a rental car, every airline goes directly where the rental car desks and baggage claims are, no wondering where to go, just follow the crowd; you’ll get there.
My Least Favorite Part of Denver Airport
Well, aside from the absolutely horrible train music, I only have one complaint…
As a passenger holding a first class Delta ticket, with an American Express Platinum Card AND a priority pass membership, I was unable to find a lounge to hang out in (there are only three. Two united lounges in concourse B and an American lounge in concourse A) and that needs to be addressed. As a United hub, I can understand them not wanting delta to have their own lounge, but there should be one that people that pay for memberships can enjoy. Throw that in there, we have a winner and potential candidate for my favorite big city airport in the country.
All in all it’s really a great airport, and I’m looking forward to flying through more often.