Heading to the airport next week? Find out what you need to know ahead of your Turkey Day travel. 

As COVID-19 cases rise and Dr. Fauci urges everyone to reconsider their plans, it's no question Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year. Despite the surge, holiday travel is expected to increase next week as people head home to chow down on turkey and pumpkin pie. 

Denver International Airport (DIA) expects a 36 percent decline in travel from 2019, but Sunday, November 22, and Sunday, November 29, are set to be the airport's busiest days. They expect 46,000 people at DIA on November 22 and 50,000 on November 29. While those numbers are significantly lower than previous years of holiday travel, they'll be DIA's busiest days since the pandemic limited air travel last March. 

To help inform travelers and keep everyone safe, DIA outlined everything you need to know before heading to the airport next week:

Denver International Airport COVID-19 Guidelines:

DIA employees have been working around the clock to ensure all high-touch areas are frequently disinfected and wiped down. There are also wipes at each gate that passengers can take before boarding to wipe down their seats on the plane. 

Everyone (including passengers and employees) must wear a face-covering at all times in the terminal and on the train. Most major airlines also require a face covering at all times throughout travel. Left your mask at home? There are face mask vending machines and kiosks throughout the airport where you can purchase one. 

DIA also encourages everyone to wash their hands or frequently sanitize, especially after going through security and taking the train. There are more than 100 hand-sanitizing stations throughout the airport. Air hand dryers and drinking fountains are disabled for the time being.

Airport employees encourage physical distancing throughout the airport, especially in lines and at the gate. When eating, allow at least one table between you and other parties. Plexiglass barriers placed at check-in and security serve as a divider for safe interactions with employees. When boarding and getting off your plane, leave six feet between you and the person in front of you. To avoid the de-plane scramble, wait until everyone is off the plane before getting up, grabbing your overhead item, and heading out.

If a train you're boarding is full, DIA recommends waiting for the next one. Get on the center cars of the train, which are usually less crowded. Remember to spread out, and don't crowd around the train doors.

Parking at DIA

All shuttle parking lots, including Pikes Peak, Mt. Elbert, east economy, and both valet lots, are closed. These are the lots currently open

  • West economy
  • East and west garages
  • Short-term lot
  • 61st and Peña lot

Shuttles limited to eight people at a time are running from the west economy lot to the transit center every 10 minutes. Travelers can access the east and west terminals from any parking lot. 

Airport Construction

Keep in mind that there are several ongoing construction projects at DIA that may impact your travel. The Level 6 sidewalk for passenger drop-offs is closed due to the Great Hall Project but will be open during the day between November 20-30 and December 18-28 to accommodate holiday crowds. DIA has signage throughout the airport to help you navigate the construction and help you get to where you need to go. 

Peña Boulevard construction between Jackson Gap and the terminal is affecting traffic flow in and out of DIA. Inbound drivers should stay in the east- and west-side lanes before entering the construction zone. Drivers heading to Terminal West should stay in the left lane. Those heading to Terminal East should use the right lane. Guests can access both terminals and all security and check-in desks from either side.

Due to the construction, the loop to return to the terminal is now at Jackson Gap. If you're picking someone up at the airport, DIA recommends waiting in the cell phone lot until your passenger arrives in the pick-up area. 

Food Delivery at the Gate

To limit contact and long lines at restaurants, DIA has introduced Eats Delivered, a service that brings your favorite airport food right to you at the gate, main terminal, or in baggage claim. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., guests can order from one of seven participating restaurants and get their food in 30 minutes or less: 

  • Denver Central Market
  • Einstein's Bagels
  • Garbanzo
  • McDonald's
  • Root Down
  • Timberline Steaks & Grille
  • Vino Volo

Guests can order through the AtYourGate app, and it's simple to use: download, order, and pay! The app will send you a notification when your food is coming and when it's delivered. Learn more about Eats Delivered and how to sign up here.

VeriFLY

DIA's new free service, VeriFLY, allows higher risk guests to make reservations for dedicated TSA screening lines and limited-capacity trains. All you need to do is download the VeriFLY app and fill out a health screening 24 hours before travel. The service is designed to keep contact and congestion to a minimum and help make at-risk travelers feel safe. 

You can make reservations with a 15-minute window up to two weeks ahead of time. When you arrive at the airport, you head to the VeriFLY security lane, display your QR code, and proceed to a temperature check. There are also dedicated VeriFLY security lanes for Pre-Check. Once through security, guests head to the train and board reserved cars with a limited number of VeriFLY passengers.

Learn more about the free service and how to sign up here

Arrive Early, Plan Ahead, and Be Safe!

The next weeks are going to be some of the busiest at DIA. Plan to arrive at least two hours ahead of your flight to ensure you have time to check bags, get through security, and prepare to fly. Visit FlyDenver.com for updates on security checkpoints and wait times, parking updates, and more. 

Whether you're staying at home for Thanksgiving this year or heading somewhere exciting, here are five things to make the best of the holiday this year. Where are you headed for Thanksgiving this year? Leave a comment below!