Denver Airport Melts Down, Looks Like A Post-Apocalyptic Prison

Denver airport’s train system has broken down. Only one train can run every ten minutes, as noted by aviation watchdog JonNYC. Passengers are backing up waiting for trains and inside the terminal and people are missing flights, as the airport runs buses from the A concourse to other concourses.

If you’re traveling through Denver, hopefully you’re not changing airlines and can remain inside the same concourse. If you’re traveling out of Denver, expect to use the “A bridge” security checkpoint and walk to the A concourse. From there you can get transportation to other concourses.

  • Security at Denver takes a long time anyway. It will be longer than ever with more passengers using the A bridge checkpoint.

  • The busing arrangement will be slow. Allow extra time.

  • Things aren’t expected to be fixed quickly, potentially taking days as they wait for parts.

Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the airport provided an update, saying buses and additional staff are being deployed to supplement taking passengers from the terminal to the concourses.

“Passengers will either be guided by [DIA] staff to board a train or to take a bus from Concourse A to concourses B and C,”

The airport for its part just cites “technical issues” for the meltdown. That’s been an ongoing theme, as the airport’s train system broke down for a couple of days in October. Maybe it’s the swastika runway, time capsule from the New World Airport Commission or the gargoyles guarding baggage claim.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. DEN was a mess even without the problems with trains when we visited the past summer. Is this just another example how a visionary investment in infrastructure pays off? One for sure a lot of jobs were created.

  2. Stapleton was a better airport-not sure why DEN was needed. SLC, PHX and DFW are better airports to connect. When I visit Colorado. I’d go to Colorado Springs instead and skip Denver competely.

  3. @Censor Guy – in fact, the system flags potential spam (often because of URLs in comments, because the comments are endlessly long, or because they include profanity or phrases often found in spam) and I have to go through those to clear them which I do every few hours usually but not always (I go to sleep, sometimes my flight doesn’t have working wifi, I’m on an endless stream of work calls)

  4. Not having an underground connecting walkways between concourses ( like Atlanta) was a major design fault. Instead, they wasted money on a fancy automated luggage delivery system, which never worked anyway. I was at the airport shortly after it opened, and the trains weren’t working there either, Especially in a health, conscious state, they should be encouraging, walking rather than taking the train

  5. With the train system offering only degraded service at Denver International Airport, how will the rats and other vermin be able to quickly move from terminal to terminal through the train tunnels so they will not starve?

  6. @tim dunn re: ATL’s superiority

    yes, it has won the same award for 17 years running

    google “most efficient airports in the world” and the result set is all over the map including one of the first links to a top 10 that is all asia + munchen

    i would argue the skylink train has made dfw “more efficient” than atl IF you know how to use it and you know your motions through the terminals

    atl works for stupid people because the herd only moves 1 direction

    dfw requires more situational awareness and geographic orientation

    gary if you will please send me an email i will give you my metadata for DFW to share with your readers

    comparing atl, den & dfw:

    car to gate less than 500 feet: dfw yes, atl & den no

    interterminal access when the train goes down: atl yes, dfw yes* (4 of 5 concourses), den no

    maximum gate to gate post tsa or top of jetway (when trains are working): atl 30 mins, den 25 mins, dfw 15 mins

    functional train link to city centers: atl yes, den yes, dfw no*

    dfw needs an all-airline indoor combo TSA station for DART and TexRail that allows departing pax w/o checked bags to ride skylink, as well as offer a kiss/ride drop zone (like marta); this should be located here: 32°54’24.9″N 97°02’25.3″W

    note i can’t get the google map link to post sorry – just copypasta the latlong to goomaps and voila intermodal station tower location

    dfw also needs post-tsa ped bridges between A8-B49, C39-D5 and C39-E2

    if dfw had the intermodal rail station and the post-tsa ped bridges it would easily outrank all other us airports for pax efficiency

    weather or amr forkery: your mileage may vary

  7. Hagbard,
    ATL moves more passengers and flights than any airport in the world including any in Asia.
    Taxi times and distances are shorter in ATL than any of the airports you list.

    ATL IS the most efficient large HUB.

    It is precisely because the distance from gate to parking lot (for some people) is so short at DFW that it is an inefficient HUB and AA’s gate complex spans a greater area than any other airline hub in the world.

    And, no, the crowd doesn’t move in just one direction at ATL. They move in all of the same directions that passengers move at every hub… between flights and to/from parking, security, and ticket counters and baggage claim.

    Don’t bother with the metadata – you already said enough that shows that you aren’t really serious about an objective assessment of hubs.

    None of which changes that the train system at ATL is highly reliable and it is possible to walk from concourse to concourse if necessary.
    Impossible to do at DEN and could take days to do at DFW.

  8. @tim

    you are ranking efficiency for the vendor

    i am ranking efficiency for the customer

    this is a customer-focused blog



    you don’t know what metadata is

    here is a sample

    E.S.NE.01H.F.E31 2.0 Taco Bar (mex)
    E.S.NE.02R.F.E20 Peets (
    E.S.NE.03R.F.E17 TGI Fridays (american)
    E.S.NE.04RRZ.F.E26 Boars Head Deli (bakery.?)
    E.S.NE.05RRZ.F.E26 Freshens (smoothies)
    E.S.NE.06RRZ.F.E26 Starbucks (java.bakery)
    E.S.NE.07RRZ.F.E27 AV8 (bar.pubfood.sushi)
    E.S.NE.08RRZ.F.E27 Whataburger (burgs.chick)
    E.S.NE.09RRZ.F.E27 Dickeys (bbq)
    E.S.SW.10H.F.E33 Wendys
    E.S.SW.11R.F.E33 Panda Express (
    E.S.SW.12L.F.E36 Uno Due Go (italian)

  9. no, it is not just a customer facing blog.
    You can scan the articles and realize Gary incorporates a well-rounded selection of articles.
    You and people like Gene see what you want and try to push that narrative.

    and you still don’t get that a bunch of data means nothing in light of summarized data for 10 months.
    You and others think that your personal anecdotes define something. They don’t.
    Anecdotes for companies that operate thousands of flights per day and serving hundreds of millions of passengers per year are meaningless.

  10. dear tim:

    re: your 1st paragraph – okay fine this is an industry blog with 30% sensationalist meltdown entertainment and 30% miles/cards/points content


    re: your 2nd paragraph – what in the everlovingfork are you talking about?

    in conclusion, you still have no idea what metadata is or the purpose of the sample that i posted

Comments are closed.