DIA has a new check-in process that’s supposed to alleviate the long lines

The airport is reconfiguring security lines, adding new kiosks and knocking down walls to make holiday travel a little easier.

The TSA checkpoint at Denver International Airport. Nov, 21, 2020.

The TSA checkpoint at Denver International Airport. Nov, 21, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

This holiday season promises to be a busy one for DIA, which recently reported struggling with capacity limits and labor shortages across its departments. Some of that has materialized into headline-grabbingly long lines to pass through security.

But on Thursday, DIA announced it’s made some changes to help speed up the check-in process during the holidays.

Some of the changes are structural. Historically, there’s been a wall on level 5 of the Jeppesen Terminal effectively creating a barrier between the North and South checkpoints. DIA removed that wall on Nov. 1 as part of DIA’s Great Hall Project. Now, you’ll be able to move between north and south freely to get to the right security checkpoint.

DIA will also add a new ticketing kiosk and bag drop area for Southwest passengers on Nov. 4, and for United passengers on Nov. 10. Both will be staged on the west side of level 6. To make it easier for these travelers to get from ticketing to security, DIA will remove dividing walls on level 6 both indoors and on the curb.

To accommodate surges in passengers, DIA will temporarily open the Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot, but only on the weekends. You can park in the lot Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the shuttle will run throughout the week to take travelers to and from their cars. If you plan to use the Pikes Peak shuttle from the lot, plan to get to DIA 30 minutes earlier so you have time to get to the terminal. When returning to your car, you can pick up the shuttle at the stop on the East side, Level 5, Island 3 by calling the pickup number, 303-342-4160.

Perhaps the biggest change is a reconfiguration of DIA’s security checkpoints.  

The airport has three security locations: the North and South Security Checkpoints on Level 5, and the A-Bridge Security Checkpoint on Level 6. DIA will be splitting different traveler groups across the checkpoints to improve flow through the terminal during busy travel periods.

The North Security Checkpoint will operate as a sort of express lane for members of expedited screening programs, as well as for standard travelers with fewer bags.

  • If you have TSA PreCheck, you should head to North Security after check in. Starting Nov. 2, DIA will begin moving PreCheck lanes to the North Checkpoint, and by Nov. 10, Pre-Check will only be available at the North Checkpoint.
  • If you have TSA PreCheck and you’re a Clear Customer, there’s a separate designated line for you on the east side of the North Checkpoint.
  • If you’re a Premium/Premier Traveler, there’s a designated line for you at the west side of the North Checkpoint.
  • If you’re a standard traveler but are only travelling with one bag, such as a backpack, briefcase, or purse, you can head to a designated “Travel-Lite Lane” at the North Checkpoint. Folks in this lane won’t have to wait behind travelers who need more security bins to get through security.

The North checkpoint is open  from 4 a.m.- 9 p.m. 

If you only qualify for Standard Screening- meaning you don’t have a screening program membership and are travelling with more than one bag- plan to head to the South Security Checkpoint.

While North Security will have a few standard screening lanes, there are far more on the South end, so standard screening travelers can expect less traffic and a quicker security experience at the South Checkpoint.

The South Checkpoint will also have one Clear lane for members who are not TSA PreCheck travelers. If you have both TSA PreCheck and a Clear membership, you should still head to the North Checkpoint.

The South Security Checkpoint operates 24/7. 

The A-Bridge Security Checkpoint, the smaller, sneakier checkpoint hidden at the level 6 bridge to terminal A, will also function primarily as standard screening.

The Bridge Checkpoint is open from 4:30 a.m. to about 6 p.m. 

Now, some general tips: 

Face coverings are still required at DIA and onboard planes, so be sure to bring a mask. As always during busy travel times, aim to arrive at least 2 hours before your departure time, and check-in online if you can to skip the lines. And check out this tip sheet for what to do and eat at DIA, what to expect from the Great Hall Project, and more  


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