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Busiest Travel Day In DIA History Not The Day Before Or After Thanksgiving

By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4)- Lines may be long, tempers short and parking spaces at a premium, but passenger traffic at DIA on Wednesday and through the rest of the Thanksgiving week is not expected to shatter airport records for busiest travel days in the airport's history. Detailed information from Denver International Airport shows their busiest air travel days ever were in July 2018. The day before Thanksgiving 2018 and the days following the holiday are not anticipated to crack the airports top 10 busiest days.

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"You will still see heavy travel loads," said DIA Vice President of Communications Stacey Stegman,"but not as heavy as in the summer months."

CBS4 requested internal data of Denver International Airports busiest travel days past and predicted.

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That list shows the busiest travel day in airport history was July 13, 2018 with 207,021 passengers moving through the airport. The next nine busiest travel days, all with more than 200,000 passengers, were also in July 2018.

"Really, the summer months are when it's busy a lot of the days," said Stegman.

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Stacey Stegman (credit: CBS)

This Sunday following Thanksgiving is predicted to be the 11th busiest day in airport history. The day before Thanksgiving is predicted to be the 40th busiest day at the airport with 200,044 passengers.

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CBS4 talked to passenger Carlos Canales who was traveling home to Houston from DIA. He got to the airport three hours early after being told "that it will be the busiest day of the year for air travel."

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When he found out that wasn't true, he said, "That's not what we have been told all our lives it? How busy it gets at Thanksgiving, don't fly, it will be crazy at the airport!"

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Laura Hasker and her family were returning to Pennsylvania from a vacation in Steamboat Springs, "I've heard it's the worst time to travel, that Thanksgiving is the worst time to travel. Where does that myth come from? Everyone says don't travel on Thanksgiving."

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To be sure, lines are longer and passenger volume is heavier at DIA during Thanksgiving week. On an average day the airport sees between 150,000 to 160,000 passengers, but those numbers rise by about 30 percent during the Thanksgiving travel season.

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So while lines for security, bag drop and ticketing might be longer than normal, they are not expected to set all time volume records for DIA.

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(credit: CBS)

LINK: DIA Top 50 Record-Setting Days

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.


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