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Set at the base of the magnificent Rocky Mountains in the Mile High City, Denver Airport is not only a gateway for millions of skiers, snowboarders, outdoor enthusiasts and business travellers, but also acts as a major hub for several airlines, notably United and Frontier. The airport is about 30 minutes from lovely downtown Denver and about two hours from the nearest ski resorts (Loveland being the closest). Exploring Denver and the beautiful Colorado scenery any way other than via car hire is nearly impossible and certainly inadvisable, although passengers heading into the city of Denver can also make use of taxis or local buses to connect to the region’s public transport system.
Who to Book With
Nearly all major rental firms have rental outlets at Denver Airport. Companies operating here include Hertz, Budget, Dollar, Avis, Advantage, Alamo, Fox Rent a Car, Payless, Thrifty, National Car Rental and Enterprise. Check-in counters for all firms are located in the Jeppesen Terminal (main terminal building). Cars are picked up offsite via free shuttle service to Pena Blvd. Those returning vehicles will head to the same area and need to plan for a five to 10-minute shuttle ride back to the Jeppesen Terminal building.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following at collection time:
- Your driver’s licence (an International Driver’s Permit is needed in the USA)
- Your passport
- The credit card used to reserve your vehicle
- Your booking number
Colorado’s roadways are very well maintained and road rules are not unlike those seen in Western Europe. Parking is fairly inexpensive and hassle-free in most of Denver, although coin meters are patrolled constantly. There are no tolls in the Denver area, with the exception of the E-470 beltway. Visitors headed into the mountains, particularly in winter, must be prepared for hazardous conditions, sharp curves and steep inclines; four-wheel drive or chains are sometimes required on the Loveland and Berthoud passes. Weather can change in an instant and roadways west of Denver frequently bear ice and snow, even during the majority of the spring.
Denver Airport is set a fair distance from Denver proper on the Colorado plains. Passengers will be able to travel into town and beyond quickly via car hire or private vehicle. Otherwise, public buses, taxis and shuttles offer slower or more expensive means to get away.
There is no rail service currently available at Denver Airport, although an RTD Light Rail station is slated to open in 2016. The RTD Light Rail network can be accessed via RTD Skyride buses directly from Level 5 of the Jeppesen Terminal.
Taxi service is on offer 24 hours from Level 5 on both sides of the Jeppesen Terminal, although because of the airport’s distance from most of the region’s points of interest prices are fairly high. The ride to downtown usually takes around 30 minutes in light traffic, though at peak hour it could take considerably longer.
Denver Airport to Downtown Denver costs £35
Denver Airport to Boulder costs £55
Denver Airport to the Denver Technological Center costs £40
Denver Airport to Louisville/Broomfield costs £45
Public RTD Skyride bus services provide convenient service to and from several points in the city throughout the day. Pick-up/drop-off locations include Market Street Station, Stapleton, Nine Mile Light Rail Station, Airport Blvd & 40th Ave, Arapahoe at Village Center Light Rail Station and the Boulder Transit Center. Additionally, private commuter shuttles and charter buses are available to numerous regional destinations including Colorado Springs, Aspen, Fort Collins, Golden and dozens of ski resorts near the Front Range.
Denver Airport is comprised of four main buildings; all check-in counters, rental car offices, security checkpoints and the majority of airport services are situated in the centrally located Jeppesen Terminal. Conversely, passengers must transit to one of three concourses (A, B and C) via train for flight boarding. Note, however, that Terminal A is accessible via a pedestrian bridge, although the walk can take a few minutes. Level 6 of the Jeppesen Terminal is for passenger drop-offs whilst Level 5 is for public transport and rental cars. Those picking up passengers via private car should follow the signs to Level 4.
Denver Airport offers onsite valet parking as well as two covered garages adjacent to the Jeppesen Terminal with short-term and long-term rates. For lower prices, head to the outlying Economy East and Economy West car parks, or to the Pikes Peak shuttle lot (allow extra time for the shuttle ride). On the high end, valet rates cost about £20 per day or £7 per hour plus £1.25 for each additional hour. Conversely, economy lots cost £7 per day or £0.65 per hour, whilst shuttle lots cost £4.50 per day or £0.65 per hour.
Free Wi-Fi service is available for all passengers via Boingo Wireless. For higher speeds, opt for premium level.
There are airport information counters located in the centre of all three concourses (above the train entrance) as well as on Level 5 of the Jeppesen Terminal. Also look for Airport Ambassadors in cowboy hats as well as courtesy telephones throughout the airport.
Airport information: +1 303 342 2000
Parking information: +1 303 342 7275
Lost and Found: +1 303 342 4062
Denver Airport offers full accessibility and assistance to all passengers with special needs and/or reduced mobility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. All airlines will provide wheelchairs and assistance upon request at check-in or booking. The airport is fully equipped for the visual and hearing impaired.
Restaurants and Bars
There are a handful of bars, cafés, fast food outlets and full-service restaurants available on Level 5 and Level 6 of the Jeppesen Terminal. Beyond the security checkpoint, passengers can find dozens of additional options above the train entrance in the centre of all three concourses. There, travellers can enjoy local ‘micro-brews’, Mexican cuisine, coffees, pizza, sandwiches, cookies, burgers, steaks, bagels and nearly any sort of food or beverage they may be craving.
There are numerous VIP lounges available at Denver Airport. Most are affiliated with major airlines. Look for the United Club in Concourse B, as well as the American Airlines Admirals Club and the British Airways Executive Club in Concourse A.
Money and ATMs
Currency exchange is on offer in Concourse A and Concourse B and there are numerous ATMs available throughout the airport. Head to the Public Service Credit Union in the Jeppesen Terminal for a full range of financial services. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 08:30 to 17:30.
The Jeppesen Terminal boasts luggage, gift and convenience stores, whilst extensive shopping can be located throughout all three concourses, mainly in the centre areas. Recognisable names available include Brookstone, Bose, Harley Davidson, Newsstand, Rosetta Stone and the Sunglass Hut. International passengers can take advantage of limited duty-free fare near Gate B39.