denver travel tips den reserve

The Best Denver Airport Travel Tip You Need to Know to Skip Long Security Wait Lines: DEN Reserve

Traveling through Denver International Airport (DIA) just got a whole lot easier for general travelers. I recently discovered this travel hack to help you bypass those long TSA lines at DIA and it’s something you need to try the next time you fly out of Denver if you hate waiting in lines like I do. It’s called DEN Reserve and this may be the best-kept secret for a seamless Denver Airport experience. Here’s everything you need to know about DENRES.

I’ve been flying in and out of Denver a lot for the past year and I’ve come to realize that DIA always has a ridiculously long security line. I mean, the line weaves a dozen times then wraps all the way around the next room to the back of the baggage carousels. It’s ridiculous – it’s worse than LAX. 

Denver Airport does post their current security line wait times online to help you better plan your travels but I never trust that when planning my airport arrivals because I feel like those times can change in the blink of an eye and you can miss your flight if you didn’t give yourself enough time to get through security.

How do I skip the security line at Denver Airport?

If you’re wondering how do I get through Denver security faster… I have just the answer for you! You don’t need TSA pre-check and you don’t need CLEAR. There’s a new free tool to help general travelers skip those long security wait lines and it’s called DEN Reserve.

Dia security wait time

What is DenReserve? 

Also known as DENRES, DEN Reserve is a new program that helps shorten the security line wait times and expedite the entire TSA process at Denver Airport. 

DENRES isn’t just another travel convenience; it’s the outcome of careful planning and innovation. Collaboratively launched by Denver Airport authorities and industry experts, DENRES was conceptualized with travelers like you in mind. 

The goal of this new service is to offer a hassle-free solution for navigating security lines, allowing travelers to reclaim precious moments and avoid the anxieties of long wait times

Since its introduction, DENRES has transformed from a novel concept into a pivotal tool, providing a gateway to smoother travel experiences.

I was skeptical about this new service at first but I used it on my last two trips flying out of DIA this summer and dang – it works. It saves a lot of time and stress, especially if you like to plan to arrive at the airport last minute like me so you are not wasting too much time waiting around.

How DENRES works so you can expedite your DIA security wait time

As a DENRES participant, you gain the power to reserve a designated time slot for passing through security. Imagine strolling up to the TSA line at your designated time, bypassing the queues, and stepping into the next phase of your journey. This tailored experience ensures that your transition from the rugged outdoors to the airport’s hustle and bustle is seamless and stress-free.

Booking your appointment time on DEN Reserve is very simple:

  1. Fill our your flight information (date, destination, airline, flight number)
  2. Pick your appointment time
  3. Enter passenger information

Ta-da! You’re set. Reserve here.

This is just the basics of how it all works. If you’re looking for the nitty-gritty fine-print details, check out their website.

Important information to know about DENRES

  • There is a separate line for travelers utilizing DENRES, just like there is a separate line for travelers using TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR
  • This line is ONLY at the Bridge Security TSA Checkpoint
  • As of now (Aug 2023), the service runs daily from 5 am to 5 pm
  • You need to sign up for your spot online beforehand
  • Appointment times are limited and can be scheduled for 1-4 hours before your departure
  • Slots can be reserved from 3 days before your flight departure – I reserved mine the night before and always had a good time option
  • DENRES is NOT available for TSA Pre-Check or CLEAR+ travelers
  • In case you missed it earlier – DENRES is FREE 
    • No membership or payment is required; just sign up for your appointment every time you fly out of DIA

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How early to get to Denver Airport 

The general rule of thumb is 2-3 hours before international flights and 1-1.5 hr before domestic flights. With DENRES, your reservation time is active for 15 minutes before and after your appointment time. You just need to get to the airport with enough time to make it to the Bridge Security within the 15-minute grace window so this depends on whether you are checking in a bag or not.

After you arrive at the Bridge Security, the security line process moves very quickly – I’d plan for less than 10 minutes for the security lines, but don’t hold me to it and plan what you think is best. 

From the time I checked in with DENRES until I made it through TSA with all of my stuff, it only took 4 minutes – both times. Maybe I got lucky with the quick process, or maybe it’s just the solution we’ve been waiting for. 

Here are some examples of my experience and travel times through Denver airport with DENRES:

  • First time: My flight was at 8:25 am
    • Boarding started at 7:55 am
    • DENRES appointment at 7 am – I booked my appt the night before
    • I was walking up the bridge towards security at 7:09 am, went through TSA security line, down the elevator and waiting for the train to C gates by 7:13 am. 
  • Second time: My flight was at 8:50 am
    • Boarding started at 8:20 am
    • DENRES appt at 7:45 am – I booked my appt the day before
    • I got through everything again in 4 minutes.
How early to get to denver airport

Where is the Bridge Security in DIA?

The simple answer – ask someone at the airport. There is also an interactive map on Denver Airport’s website.

I’ve only flown in and out of the East side of Denver Airport since I always fly Southwest. After checking in my bags, the Bridge Security is all the way to the right end of the airport; from the west side, Bridge Security is all the way left (if you just walk into the airport to check in your bags). The DENRES line is on the far right side of the regular security lines and you will see signs for it. There is only one line.

How to Take the Train from Denver Airport

I’m new to public transportation in the US – honestly, buses and trains and all ground shuttles have always intimidated me a little. I’ve always had a vehicle on all of my trips but traveling without one forces you to learn a new way of travel and in this case, I finally figured out Colorado’s train and bus system.

If you’re traveling from Denver Airport to Union Station (downtown Denver), you need the A Line which is the train. Here’s the train schedule.

If you’re traveling from Denver Airport to Boulder, there are a few stop options but you need the AB1 Line which is the bus shuttle. Here’s the shuttle schedule.

Plan Your Colorado Hiking and Outdoor Adventures

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