A Broad's Guide to DIA

Danielle Shoots | @DanielleShoots

Whether you step foot in Denver’s “beloved” airport once a week like I often do or once a year, consider the tips below your survival manifesto for Denver International Airport.

Choose Southwest

When at all possible, fly Southwest out of Denver. DIA is a major Southwest home base with hundreds of flights in and out of Denver to most major cities every couple of hours each day.  If your flight is delayed or you miss a connection, it is much easier to  the ease at which you can get to your destination on the same day given Southwest’s magnitude of flights and reach. Hate the boarding process? Pay the extra fifteen dollars for automatic check in. Southwest also doesn’t hit you with change fees should you need to make travel adjustments and the rewards program and credit card is amazing. Frequent flyers like me may never pay for family flights because of the earned points for flights and purchases. If you fly as much as I do, you will also have a companion pass in no time. The companion pass allows you to a chose a flying partner who will fly free to any of your destinations for a full year. Turning a work trip into a long weekend in California with my husband sure makes work trips a lot more fun.

TSA Pre Check

For $185 dollars, a background check and 5 minutes in the office at the airport, you too can zip through security. Denver has two large security lines with two TSA pre check lanes on each side.  Leave your shoes on, leave your laptop and collection  of 4 oz toiletries in your bag, and avoid the invasive, kinda creepy scanner.  

The Train to The Plane

The A train is my favorite airport accessory. Have a friend or family member drop you off at one of the stops between Union Station and Peña and ride in peace to the airport. I am fortunate enough to be able to walk to the station from my house in Stapleton, but even when I don’t, my husband surely appreciates the shorter drive to pick me up after a long day.

Gate C31

Whether you are trying to grab a healthy bite before your flight or are dealing with flight delays, you should make your way to terminal C, around gate 31. It’s the hidden gem of the airport. Grab a salad from the fast and always delicious Mod Market and a delicious coffee from a little non-chain coffee shop. There’s also a burger bar to watch your favorite games, a Happy Cakes for your sweet tooth, and if you are really stressed, an Xpress Massage is nearby to help you get your zen on.

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Root Down

Got more time than you want? Root Down, a Denver dining favorite, is at the top of the escalators in Terminal C.  The cocktail selection is just what you need to help mollify travel stress.

Makeup Vending Machines

Couldn’t get to that Ulta twenty miles away from your house before your trip? Fear not, the airport caries Benefit brand makeup lines from vending machines in every terminal. I wear their foundation and swear by their eyebrow line--try my  favorite, the brow filler--and appreciate the convenience of being able to restock on my way outta town. Best part? Same pricing you’d find had you made that extra inconvenient store trip.


While I cannot deny traveling can be a tough part of my job and is certainly the most dreaded part of any vacation plans, a couple of super-convenient travel hacks has certainly eased the pain for me. I hope this list eases a little pain for my fellow broads as well.