Denver International Airport

Free ice-skating + free bag drop service at Denver Int’l Airport

Free ice-skating is back at Denver International Airport. DEN has also added a free early bag drop service.

The free ice-skating rink at Denver International Airport’s outdoor plaza is back again for its third season.

The rink is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through January 6 on the DEN Plaza between the main terminal and Westin hotel.

Even better, there’s no need to travel with your own skates.  The “Skate Shop” Airstream trailer located on the plaza has free skate rentals in many sizes.  For those who don’t want to skate, but just want to hang out, there are bleachers and lounge seating.

A partnership this year with United Airlines, the DEN ice rink will feature music each day and offer free hot chocolate and cider starting at noon on Fridays. There will also be special appearances and performances on the ice every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. including curling lessons and mascot appearances.

“Ice skating on our pop-up ice rink has quickly become a signature event for Denver International Airport,” said CEO Kim Day. “It’s just another way we’re demonstrating our commitment to an improved passenger experience. For flight crews, travelers, employees and even local residents, skating with the dramatic backdrop of the Jeppesen Terminal is becoming a seasonal tradition.”

Denver International Airport recenty introduced another helpful amenity:  free early bag drop and check-in service at the Transit Center and at the Pikes Peak and Mt. Elbert shutttle parking lots.

The bag-drop service allows passengers to drop off their bags, check-in and get a boarding pass before entering the terminals luggage-free.

At the parking lots, travelers can drive in and drop off  their bags before they park. A greeter at the bag drop kiosk will remove the bags from the car, complete the check-in process process and print out a boarding pass. That means no luggage to drag onto and off of the shuttle van to the terminal. Nice!

Keep in mind, that bags must be dropped off at least 90 minutes before a flight. And while the bag drop service is free, those pesky airline baggage fees will still apply. But those fees can be paid at the bag drop locations too.

The DEN bag-drop service is being offering at the Transit Center daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m and at the shuttle parking lots Saturday–Thursday  from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Friday from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Passengers traveling on domestic flights with Southwest, United, Delta and American Airlines are eligible to use the service. Flights to international destinations are not eligible for the bag drop service.

Find more details about the new bag drop service at Denveral International Airport here.

In a press release, Denver International Airport claims this is the first such service at an airport. But in 2012 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport introduced early bag drop service at its East Economy parking lot and at the PHX SkyTrain Station, expanding the service to the rental car center in 2014.

Unfortunately, PHX no longer offers early bag drop service. But here’s hoping it comes back.

Fresh eats at Denver International Airport

Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, the Denver Central Market has opened at Denver International Airport.

Denver Central Market is at Gate A6 at Denver International Airport. The gourmet market and food hall houses a variety of local restaurants, including several vendors from the city’s Larimer Street marketplace such as Vero Italian offering hand crafted pizzas, artisanal meats, cheeses and sandwiches by Culture Meat & Cheese and rotisserie chicken and fresh salads from SK Provisions.

Also in the Denver Central Market: Susi Rama, plus grab n’ go items, espresso drinks, a full bar and a common dining space equipped with charging stations.

Looks yummy, right?

(All photos courtesy Denver International Airport).

Denver Int’l Airport gets an on-site brewery and its own beer

Like beer? Or just a cool place to grab something to eat when you’re stuck at the airport?

There’s now a brew-pub restaurant at Denver International Airport (DEN) with its own on-site brewery.

The new venue is called Tom’s Urban Kitchen and Tivoli Brewery and its located at the Westin Denver International Airport, just off the airport’s outdoor plaza.

The brewery portion of the restaurant is franchised by the Denver-based Tivoli Brewing Company, which has roots reaching back to 1859.  At DEN, Tivoli will brew Jet Indian pale ale as an airport exclusive.

As a nice touch, students from Metropolitan State University of Denver who are pursuing degrees or certificates in brewery and brewpub operations will be working in the airport brewery.

While this is the first restaurant with a brewery at DEN airport, Tom’s Urban Kitchen and Tivoli Brewery is a well-known  brand wih four other locations, including Portland, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and Las Vegas.

“Colorado is a paradise for craft beer lovers, and we wanted this amazing, signature space within the Westin Denver International Airport to reflect the Colorado experience with a brewpub that offers exclusive homegrown beverages and a taste of local Denver fare,” said airport CEO Kim Day.

This DEN-brewed beer and brewery will no doubt be a great addition to the “Beer Flights” beer garden the airport hosts each September out on plaza between the Westin and south entrance to the Jeppesen Terminal. That event coincides with worldwide Oktoberfest celebrations and features some of Colorado’s top micro-breweries and brew masters.

Year-round, there are plenty of other places at DEN airport to grab a craft beer, including New  Belgium Hub, the Boulder Beer House Tap House and in many restaurants and bars, including Root Down.

Have a favorite place to drink beer at Denver International Airport? Let us know.

Miami Int’l Airport and the Miami Hound Machine

The ‘Miami Hound Machine’ – a team of therapy dogs – is coming to Miami International Airport.

Miami International Airport’s new therapy dog program, charmingly called the Miami Hound Machine, is making its debut today.

The team’s five volunteer K-9 Ambassadors – Abbey, Belle, Dash, Donovan and Pico – and their owners will be on site today with airport officials for a press conference. The pups will then go to work inside Concourse D, visting with passengers and being cute.

Members of the Miami Hound Machine are all certified therapy dogs from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and will be on duty in the MIA terminals during peak travel periods.

Therapy dogs at airports are a growing trend. So are the types of animals on the therapy dog teams – San Francisco International Airport’s Wag Brigade has a pig (Lulu); Denver International Airport’s CATS program (Canine Airport Therapy Sqaud) has a cat named Xeli, and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) often has a small herd of miniature horses stop by.

Have you encountered a member of an animal therapy team at an airport? Thumbs up or down?

Puppets at LAX; an outdoor park at Denver Airport

Don’t be shy.

If you’re at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday or Wednesday, July 10 and 11, make your way to Terminal 4 (post-security) to see a performance by the LA-based Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

The shows will be at 11 am and noon each day and if you’ve got a ticket to any terminal at LAX it should get you through the security line at Terminal 4 as well.

 

For the summer, Denver International Airport has turned its 82,000 square-foot open-air plaza between the Jeppesen Terminal and the Westin Denver hotel into a Pop-Up Park with native Colorado trees and plants and 9,000 square feet of turf.

Passengers and locals are invited to hang out in the park, which has lawn games, lunchtime fitness classes, lounge seating and a variety of scheduled music events and activities. More details here.