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Navigating Denver International Airport

The first thing to know about DIA is that the terminal has an East side (blue) and a West side (red). A person could access either side from inside the terminal, but the relevancy is that airlines are designated to one side or the other.  The terminal is on the left side of the map below. There are two security gates inside the terminal that a traveler could go through to get to the train in the lower level. The train takes passengers to Concourses A, B, and C, shown in blue below.  It does not matter which security line you go through, so you could look over the railing of the main floor at either side and see which line is shorter, if you were in a hurry.  When you are arriving at DIA, it is important to know whether you will be getting your ground transportation at Terminal East (blue) or Terminal West (red) - the map below does not show the colors of the terminal sides. When you deboard your plane, you will take the train to the terminal and your baggage will be at the luggage carousels there.

The terminal has six levels. Public ground transportation is on Level 6 on the EAST (blue) side at doors 605, 607, 611, at the furthest island out (the 5th lane). The Pikes Peak and Mt. Elbert shuttle buses for parking lots at DIA also drop off and pick up at this location. Shuttles, Rental Car Shuttles, Hotel Shuttles, Limos, Charter Buses and Taxis all pick passengers up on Level 5.

Terminal East






Great Lakes

Jet Blue


Terminal West


Air Canada


British Airways




US Airways

Valet West: Level 4 in garage, 8148 Peña Blvd., Denver, CO 80249 (303) 342-4166

$30 Per Day, $11 first hour, $2 ea addl hr.

Valet East: Level 4 in garage, 8511 Peña Blvd., Denver, CO 80249 (303) 342-4165 

$30 Per Day, $11 first hour, $2 ea addl hr.

Short Term/Garage West: Level 4 garage,

8148 Peña Blvd., Denver, CO 80249

(303) 342-7275 $3 an hour/$21 per day

Short Term/Garage East: Level 4 garage, 

8511 Peña Blvd., Denver, CO 80249

(303) 342-7275 $3 an hour/$21 per day

Economy Lot West: 8148 Peña Blvd., Denver,  80249 (303) 342-7275 $11 day/$1 hr

Economy Lot East: 8511 Peña Blvd., Denver,  80249 (303) 342-7275 $11 day/$1 hr

Pikes Peak Lot: 24300 E. 75th Ave., Denver,  80249 (303) 342-7275 $7/day, shuttle every 10 mins.

Mt. Elbert Lot: 6975 Valleyhead St., Denver, 80249 (303) 342-7275 $7/day, shuttle every 10 mins.

Public Transit for Denver International Airport

Denver is currently building a train to commute to DIA, but while that’s being built, there are other means of transportation between the airport and the city.

RTD Skyride
Public transit via buses. There are bus stations all over the city to accommodate travelers who use the skyride.
Typical prices are: $9, $11, or $13 one way, depending on where you board.


Route and specific price information.  

The buses run about every half hour during peak times and once an hour in off peak times.
The RTD pickup at DIA is on the top level, level 6, at the furthest island out from the door (a distance of approximately 5 vehicle lanes).

Good to Know:
The buses only take exact change in the form of cash, so have a variety of bills on hand!
While they are very nice, they are not always consistent in prices. If you ask the driver of the bus you happen to be boarding what the rate is, it may not be the actual listed price. If you are a student, have your ID on you, and you’ll either get a discount or get on for free.

If you are going to the airport, you will want directions for East. If you are going into the city from the airport, you will want directions West.
Be sure to be careful about weekend and holiday schedules when using the site. You can click on the station you’ll be using and it will condense the trip to just your route.
AA: Wagon Road/DIA
AB/ABA: Boulder/DIA
AB/ABA/AF/AT: Airport and 40th
AF: Federal Center/Downtown/DIA
AS: Stapleton/DIA
AT: Arapahoe County/DIA

Resources at DIA
"If you need to check route and schedule information, view maps, or plan your SkyRide trip while at DIA, visit the SkyRide sales counter located in the ground transportation area on the west side of the terminal on level 5, inside door 506. RTD informational kiosks are also available in the main terminal behind the rental counter."

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.

Your airline may allow you to check in online, which will save you from having to stop by the airline ticket counter at all and you can print your ticket at home and go straight to security when you get to the airport.

 Know Before You Go

Knowing security regulations before you leave home can speed your trip through airport passenger screening. The TSA encourages travelers to “know before you go.” Basic things to keep in mind before approaching a screening line:

•Liquids and gels must be in containers of three ounces or less
•Put the containers in one zip-top plastic bag that is one-quart in size
•Remove the plastic bag from your carry-on bag and put it in a screening bin
•Place metal objects, such as coins and keys, in your carry-on bag
•Put laptop computers and other electronic devices in a screening bin
•Remove shoes, jackets and belts and put them in screening bins


For information about the latest security guidelines, questions about baggage screening, and lists of items allowed or prohibited in baggage, visit the Transportation Security Administration Website.

  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.

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.

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