Denver International Airport is the 5th busiest airport in the United States and the 20th busiest airport in the world. How busy, you ask? In 2019, DEN saw nearly 70 million passengers. That’s a lot of people coming in and out of this airport, and they all need rides somehow—a large chunk of them using Uber and Lyft. If you’re in the Denver area, chances are you’ve already made some trips here as a driver.
If you want to become a pro and maximize your earnings at one of the country’s busiest airports, it’s important to understand how to navigate the airport, join the queue, and legitimize your vehicle.
To help you learn what you need to know about Denver International Airport, we’ve put together this guide. We’ll teach you different tips and tricks so you’re more than ready to make some trips out to the sprawling airport.
The following topics are covered:
- What should you do before arriving at Denver International Airport?
- Do you need any permits to drive there?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at Denver International Airport?
- What are the passenger pick-up rules at Denver International Airport?
- What are the passenger drop-off rules at Denver International Airport?
- When is the best time to drive at Denver International Airport?
- What is the best Denver International Airport driving strategy?
Let’s get started!
What should you do before arriving at Denver International Airport and entering the airport queue?
To pick up passengers at Denver International Airport, you’ll need your trade dress, which (as you know) is the Lyft or Uber decal that goes on your front passenger windshield facing outward.
Uber sends out this decal when drivers sign up. If you’ve lost yours since then, there are a few easy ways to replace it. You can request that a new one be mailed to you, pick one up at your local Greenlight Hub (be wary of recent closures), or print out a temporary version at home.
Where is the rideshare waiting area at Denver International Airport?
This airport has one staging lot at DIA, as of 3/27/20, has been temporarily moved to the commercial vehicle holding area off on Shady Grove Street.
In order to pick up passengers from Denver International Airport, you must wait in this staging lot to be placed into the airport queue. Make sure not to log out of your app, cancel your ride, or drive off airport property, as you’ll lose your spot in the queue. It functions by a first-in-first-out basis; the driver who has been waiting in the queue the longest will be next to receive a request.
Denver International Airport utilizes the pre-dispatch feature, which allows you to leave the staging area a little early as you’ll receive your ride request on the way to the airport. You’ll get a notification on your phone directing you to do so. If there aren’t any drivers waiting in the queue, then the trip requests will go to the closest rideshare driver in the area based on proximity and alternate factors.
What are the passenger pick-up rules at Denver International Airport?
Once you receive a trip request, head to the airport following the Commercial Vehicle Lane. If you need help, you can press the button at the gate. You’ll stay in the left lane while entering the pickup area on the 5th floor, and follow the “Ride App Pick-up” signs that will lead you to Island 5.
Passengers can be picked up from the West or East terminals. West terminal pickups are between doors 512 and 500, while passengers from the East terminal can be picked up between doors 505 and 517.
You can also locate your passenger through your app to see where PIN is located.
What are the passenger drop-off rules at Denver International Airport?
Dropping off passengers at Denver International is similar to picking them up. You’ll follow the Passenger Drop-off signs as you enter the Commercial Ground Transportation Level located on the 5th floor. There are monitored gates you need to go through, and as long as your trade dress is properly displayed, you shouldn’t have any problems. You may drop off passengers curbside on this level.
Denver International Airport has a rematch feature that allows you to be matched with additional passengers shortly after completing your drop-off trip. This can usually occur about two minutes after you complete a drop-off. Just be careful not to wait in the drop-off area for too long, or you could receive a citation.
When is the best time to drive at Denver International Airport?
Driving at a busy airport like DEN can be frustrating at times. The queue is often long, which hurts your ability as a driver to maximize your earnings. Still, most drivers know that a busy airport is a great place to make a profit.
In order to find the best time to drive at DEN, you need to go when the ratio of drivers and passengers is at its highest.
Rely on the Gridwise app for this information. You’ll know about passenger arrivals and departures, as well as queue information. All this and more can be found in the Airports tab of our app.
It looks like the evening can be a strong time for departures at Denver International Airport.
What are some good airport strategies?
Pick up a passenger on the way to the airport
In order to maximize your earnings as a rideshare driver, you need to think creatively. Not only can you pick up and drop off at Denver International Airport, but if you’re already heading over there, pick up a passenger on the way! Use Gridwise to see when strong departure times are and then hang around hotels near the airport to pick up some passengers.
This is a super easy task that helps you get your airport rides started.
Beware of different airport regulations
Be aware of the various do’s and don’ts at DEN. When dropping off passengers, do not linger in the drop-off area as you could be given a citation. DEN officials can also issue citations if you drop off passengers in the wrong area, such as the 1st curb on the Commercial Ground Transportation Level.
Always be prepared!
DEN officials or law enforcement can appear at any time, so always have these items handy: your driver’s license, registration, insurance, waybill (an in-app receipt of your last drive), and your proper trade-dress.
Now you should have all you need to start driving at Denver International Airport.