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Denver United States of America
Rocky Mountain Awesomeness!
Feb 20, 2009 08:31 AM 1149 Views
(Updated Feb 20, 2009 09:33 PM)

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Most of us dread airports, they are confusing, boring, and just downright irritating. We have all had the wonderful experiences of getting lost, being virtually "stirp-searched" at security, being rudely treated by customs agents, and the worst of all running from one-end of the terminal to the opposite end.


Only to find out that you were in the wrong terminal in the first place! Here's where Denver International Airport is different, it is a spacious airport with absolutely gorgeous architecture and an efficient one, as well.


Despite being the tenth busiest airport in the world and handling over 51.8 million passengers last year, IGI in Delhi handles about 15-20 million passengers/year, the airport feels remarkably uncrowded.


The airport is served by a large variety of airlines and the three largest at the airport are United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Ok, so let's get started with some history about the airport.


History of DIA:


The plans for a new advanced international airport were developed in 1989 by Mayor Pena who thought that the rapidly growing city needed a new airport. Afterwards, Mayor Web took over the project, but it suffered from repeated design changes.


Once the final plans were approved, the airport was to be located away from the city center in order to prevent noise disturbances and would also serve as a hub to United and Continental Airlines. Mayor Web believed that a new airport would attract more international flights and new tourism. However, Continental backed out of the airport due to the repeated delays and high landing fees.


The main terminal:


As most of you have probably seen the main Jeppensen terminal is covered by a white tension fabric roof which is meant to resemble our snow covered Rocky Mountains.


The terminal is divided into the east and west side. On the west side you have the check-in areas for United Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air Canada. Terminal East serves Frontier, Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines, just to name a few. Once inside the terminal you will notice the beautiful marble floors and the high arched ceilings give the check-in areas a nice open feeling.


The displays on the check-in area are easy to read and most check-in staff is friendly. After, you leave the check-in area you will enter a large open area containing the security area and a nice selection of book stores, restaurants, and gift stores.


This main area is very spacious due to DIA's uniquely shaped roof and then it is off to the security area. In addition, this area also handles the international passenger pick up area. Note: DIA has staff dressed up as cowboys which are there to help new travelers with the airport. There are quite a few of these and even airline staff is friendly in the concourses and will help you find your way.


Security:


DIA has three security screening areas.Two are located on the lower level of the Jeppensen Terminal and one is located just before Concourse A. If you are flying out of Concourse A you can either use the security area inside Concourse A or the one's on the lower level. If you use the one inside Concourse A, you will pass through a nice glass bridge with excellent views of aircraft taxiing directly below you.


If you use the other security area you will have to use the train to get to your Concourse. If you are flying out of Concourse B or C, you will have to use one of the two security areas on the lower level of the Jeppensen terminal. The lines can sometimes look huge, but the waiting times are normally only around 5-10 minutes, at peak time though you may be waiting up to 20 minutes.


In the USA, no liquids, gels, or aerosols bigger than 3oz or 100 mL are allowed past security, yes you will have to throw anything larger, for instance, water bottles, large lotions, shaving creams, etc. away. In addition, all laptops, medications, and shoes must be removed from your bags or your feet and placed in separate bins. It's also recommended that you put your cellphone/mobile, keys, and watches in you handbag.


You will pass through a metal detector, if you pass it, you are free to go and if not, you will undergo secondary screening. One thing I like about DIA is how there are benches right after security so you can comfortably put on your shoes and gather up your belongings. Most of the security staff at Denver is pretty polite.


The train:


If you are flying out of Concourse A you can simply walk to the Concourse, go through security and be on your way. If you are flying out of Concourse B or C you must use the main security areas and use the automated train, don't worry its constantly monitored by airport staff and has been relatively problem free.


The train makes nice bell and whistles sound to emulate a real train and as the train approaches an electric guitar plays, I like the nice sound effects as it adds to the ambiance of riding on the train. The train only has a few seats, so you will likely be standing up.


It takes about 2 minutes to reach Concourse A, 3 minutes more to reach Concourse B, and about 2 more minutes to reach Concourse C. One unique part about the train is that as you start moving you will see thousands of small silver rotating falls illuminated by blue and yellow light, as the train reaches its top speed (35 mph), the fans become blurred producing a beatiful optical illusion. This piece of art is known as "


Kinetic Light Air Curtain" **and was made by  Antonette Rosato / William Maxwell. The Concourses: A little general information: Many travelers when they come to Denver are disappointed when they find out that the famous "Rocky Mountain" roof only covers the main terminal, not the concourses.


Concourse A: This is one of the largest concourses of the airport with nearly 37 gates. This concourse is dominated by Frontier Airlines (a local low-cost airline), TED (United's low cost airline), British Airways, Lufthansa, and Continental.


This concourse has ample seating in the gate areas. The seating is comfortable, has large windows, and the airport is clean. In addition, this concourse has a nice selection of stores and good restaurants such as, Chef Jimmy's Bistro, Denver's Picture show Popcorn, McDonald's, Panda Express, Quiznos, and Lefty's Colorado Bar and Grill, just to name a few.


There are a few bookstores and newsstands on this concourse, like Hudson Booksellers, News Travels, and many more. There are a wide variety of gift shops available including some which sell unique Colorado arts and crafts so even if you have a long wait, you probably will not get bored. Also, for those business travelers DIA provides very fast 802.11G wireless internet access for free!


Concourse B and C are similar in design  to Concourse A. Overall, Denver International Airport has 110 gates. For those of you who don't know, a Concourse is the same thing as a Terminal. DIA has a large number of domestic flights and a few international flights. Overall, I have found the airport to be excellent and one the best in the US.


Feedback is greatly appreciated


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