City Cast

How To Plan Around DIA Holiday Madness

Peyton Garcia
Peyton Garcia
Posted on November 16, 2022   |   Updated on July 6
You ready for this? (Robert Alexander / Getty Images)

You ready for this? (Robert Alexander / Getty Images)

Thanksgiving is next week (I know, right?!). TSA wait times at DIA have already been especially bad this year (with lines that snake around the corner and all the way past baggage claim!). But Denverite recently published some tips on navigating the chaos this holiday season, so I wanted to share a few. Brace yourself, it could be a bumpy ride… 

✈️ Consider flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday:
Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays historically have the longest average wait times. You can use this app from TSA to see wait time estimates (broken down by day of the week and hour) to help you aim for a smoother trip. 

  • ☝️ Also good to know: The MyTSA app also allows you to read up on what you can and can’t bring on the airplane and monitor delay updates at any airport nationwide, so you can avoid unexpected hiccups when you get to the airport. 

✈️ Keep an eye on live wait time updates: The DIA website offers live updates on TSA wait times at each of the airport’s security points.  

✈️ Arrive two hours early:
Just do it. Showing up to the airport no later than two hours before your flight is scheduled to depart is the standard recommendation (and no, that doesn’t include parking and catching the shuttle). I personally like to add a half hour to that around the holidays, despite my husband’s protests. 

  • ☝️ Have some time to spare before departure? Good! Grab a bagel, refill your water bottle, take a bathroom break, and revel in the sweet luxury of knowing you’re not going to miss your flight.

✈️ Know which security checkpoint is right for you: Depending on if you have CLEAR or TSA PreCheck or just need standard screening, you may want to go to a specific checkpoint. See which one suits your travel plans.

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