The most conspiracy theories of any airport I've visited.
Hub for: United, Southwest, Frontier
Current Grade: B+, A- if you like some intrigue with your travel
DEN has personal significance for me and for Objective Airport Reviews because it was the last airport I visited before the whirlwind terror trip that inspired me to start reviewing airports. And I hadn't been there in years and was so excited to review it, finally, in... the middle of March 2020. Yes. When we took off in Denver on the afternoon of March 12, the Delta flight attendants handed us wet-wipes as we boarded, we wiped down our airplane seats, none of us knew to wear masks, and by the time we landed a few hours later in New York, Tom Hanks had COVID, everything was shutting down, and we haven't really left New York in the eight months between that trip and now as I write this.
Which is also to say this is the last airport review I have done - and will do - in who knows how long. Good thing it's a good one.
DEN has significance for the world (or at least for Colorado) because it's reportedly cursed and full of conspiracy. On that fateful March 12 day, I was traveling with a bunch of family and we were taking three different flights, so we were there early enough to do a little snooping around. (Not much snooping though this is a regulated facility and I'm not trying to get my Nexus revoked.)
The airport is also physically striking with white architectural mountains, it's beautiful and full of light inside, there are great restaurants. Security can be a nightmare - it's all centralized - so you want to leave yourself buffer time. And if you're not checking a bag and you're already checked in, there's no need to get dropped off by your airline, anywhere will work. Just walk to the center.
So that's all fine. But what's happening at DEN...?
Blue Mustang, aka Blucifer: The large blue mustang sculpture with admittedly creepy red eyes welcomes you (or warns you...?) while you're on your way to the airport. The apocalypse theme starts now, with red eyes like the Four Horsemen of the Book of Revelation, plus the dark fact that the Mustang's creator, Luis Jiménez, was killed when part of the fiberglass creation fell on him.
New World Airport Commission time capsule: There is a plaque celebrating the Freemason's contribution to the building of the airport, and dedicated by the New World Airport Commission which.... doesn't exist. Underneath the plaque is a collection of items from 1994 to inform the future. Or aliens.
Murals depicting the apocalypse: Supposedly these murals are alarming, and while I could only access one due to construction, I thought it was pretty cool.
Nazi runways: There's been uproar about the suspicious shape of the runways at DEN, apparently pointing to sinister political roots. Looking at the map it feels like a tenuous connection to me, but....
Secret tunnels: When the airport was under construction (and very over budget), there were plans for an elaborate underground baggage system to move passenger suitcases and freight throughout the airport. Strangely, though, the underground network was built but the "baggage system" never worked... and now perhaps is ready to house the global political elite in case of the mural-hinted apocalypse...
I didn't spend too much time on the arrival experience, but I will say that I find it to be easy and pleasant to arrive in Denver. The natural light in the terminal is lovely, the walkways are mosaic-ed, and there are choice amenities like "Climax Jerky."