This May Be the Best Innovation Ever for an Airport

Nearly every unfortunate incident in aviation happens in Denver.

But something good has happened there, too. They’ve just completed installing 10,000 power outlets across their 3 concourses.

That’s probably not even enough but it’s a good start.

The $4.7 million project began last November and added 2,424 “power hubs,” which each feature two standard 120-volt electrical plugs as well as two USB receptacles. In total, 9,696 individual “charging points” were added, according to the airport.

Denver says the new charging stations “provide nearby power options in virtually every public seating area on the concourses.”

They’ve also spent $2.5 million to upgrade their public wifi.

Denver International Airport at Sunrise, Copyrightarinahabich / 123RF Stock Photo

Getting work done, and getting devices charged before a flight, are two of the most important things an airport can help its travelers accomplish. With long security lines (and Denver is known for some of the worst), passengers come to the airport earlier and often find themselves waiting past security.

To make the most of a flight, whether working or consuming entertainment, power matters. And devices drain quickly. It’s why I usually carry a compact power strip — so I can share a single outlet with multiple devices, and with other passengers.

Gargoyles are said to guard baggage claim in Denver. There’s rumored to be a nuclear testing site under the airport (there’s not, really). But what appears to be true is that the airport is finally ready to support travelers no matter where they’re headed, even if it’s to a galaxy far, far away.

Credit: Denver International Airport

Now if they could just bring the airport closer to the city center, speed up security lines, bring the car rental lots closer to the airport, and get it to stop snowing so often in winter we’d really be talking!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Just be glad that the rail line to the city is now open. Sometimes gets delayed, but it is open.

  2. Now if we could only get some zapping machines to shock the inconsiderate kettles who sit in the seats near the power ports without using them….

  3. DEN also desperately needs to address the airport gas station problem. Waiting in line/fighting for a spot at the gas station to fill a rental car can add 20-30 minutes of delay, and both National and Hertz have dinged me for filling up before getting on Pena Blvd. Ugh.

  4. @eric I use silver car in Denver to avoid the gas lines. At least it’s better than Sacramento where the only nearby gas station (it’s on airport grounds) is an ARCO station that doesnt take credit cards 🙂

  5. At the risk of sounding like every other nitpicking comenter, Improvements to wifi and power access are worthy infrastructure investments and I’m glad to hear they are being made, but I’m not sure “innovation” is the right term here.

    I know I know, this probably isn’t the place, but… hopefully once these elections are over our reps in DC can put all the BS aside for a year or so and invest in things we need anyway while we have negative real interest rates… Investors are willing to literally pay our government (in real terms) to make long term investments. If ever there was a time.

  6. I hesitated clicking on this post because, while the subject intrigued me, it also looked very much like clickbait. I have a general rule of not falling for that sort of thing.

    Upon clicking through, as suspected, the subject was, in fact, clickbait. More plugs and USB sockets aren’t exactly major innovations for airports.

    I understand your incentives here, but personally I’d struggle to call myself a thought leader in travel while having to rely on some (even minor) misrepresentation to attract readers.

  7. @ABC I disagree, this was not meant as clickbait, it’s meant to underscore that sometimes the simplest investments make the most difference for travels. I believe it’s about the best innovation an airport can invest in. We can disagree on that, but I’d love to hear your reasons and your alternatives.

  8. Eric, there is a gas station just off Pena Boulevard, south about a half mile on Tower Road. It’s at 3470 Tower Rd. It’s cheaper and not as busy as the Conoco on Pena.

  9. @DaninMCI: Most Arcos don’t take credit cards, but the one at Sacramento airport (SMF) does take credit cards. I know this for sure because I have used it many times. The last time I paid with a credit card at this location was less than a month ago.

  10. The reason I call it clickbait is that I just don’t think this is innovation, and it seems like I’m not alone in thinking that. See Evan’s comment above.

    Because this isn’t an innovation, calling it that strikes me as rather misleading. You can call it progress, but it’s definitely not innovation.

    But, fine. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that the title wasn’t intended to be clickbait. (However, to the extent that you designed the title to attract readers, there is some intent in that direction.)

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