Originally Posted by oneupper
I'm a bit surprised about the love Denver is getting. The airport is in the middle of nowhere, getting a rental car takes forever (including waiting outside in the 'weather" for a bus). Can be VERY busy and there is always the possibility of getting snowed in.
There are some amenities in the main terminal, but the concourses have few options.
You've summed up the problem that I have with this thread. People are answering "best airports" in terms of "best place to have a layover." Yes, Denver has some restaurants. Yes, Denver is architecturally unique. Yes, Denver offers nice views of the mountains on a clear day.
It's completely unpractical to the vast majority of people who start or end their trip in Denver.
Let me offer an anology to Cincinnati geography. Imagine if the CVG airport were an additional 20 minutes into Kentucky. Then, imagine that once you got to the airport, you had to park your car an additional 10 minute walk or bus ride away. Then imagine, you had to spend an additional 20-45 minutes getting through security, onto the subway-style train and to your gate.
Back when they were telling the country to get to the airport 2 hours before a domestic flight, they were telling us in Denver to allow 3.
The footprint for the Denver airport, IIRC, is 8 miles by 7 miles (56 square miles). IIRC, That's way bigger than any any airport in North America besides Mexico City or LAX. So why did they find it necessary to pump so much money and real estate into a mid-size city airport?
1. They think metro Denver is going to grow in population (it is; but not like Mexico City)
2. They wanted to make an airport that was relatively weatherproof. The old airport, closer to Downtown, used to leave travelers stranded all the time.
Mother nature played a mean trick on the airport in December. Even once they were able to get the runways plowed, the airport was so far out in the middle of nowhere that passengers and employees couldn't get there!
It may have been a necessary evil to have all these excesses (tourism, weatherproofing, etc), but in no way is Denver an easy airport.
To me, a "good" airport means easy in, and easy out, and flights are not bloody likely to get cancelled. Some of the ones mentioned above as bad, I've found to be great:
- Colorado Springs
- Portland, Maine