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Southwest preps for big growth in Denver with 16 brand-new gates

May 06, 2022
4 min read
Southwest preps for big growth in Denver with 16 brand-new gates
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Southwest Airlines is gearing up to grow in Denver with the opening of a big concourse expansion.

Local politicians, along with Denver International Airport (DEN) authorities, celebrated the completion of 16 new gates at the airport's Concourse C, which is home to Southwest's operation in the Mile High City, on Thursday.

The new gates, which are all leased by Southwest, will provide plenty of space for the carrier to grow its frequencies and destinations served from Denver.

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"[We now have] the most number of gates in any airport we have in the entire nation," said Steve Sisneros, Southwest's vice president of airport affairs, at the ribbon-cutting event. Denver has become Southwest's largest operation, according to Cirium schedule data, and the carrier has been vocal about its plans to increase flights there in the coming years.

Of course, Southwest competes head to head in many markets from Denver with United Airlines, which also operates a big hub there. In recent years, and especially during the pandemic, Denver has been one of the most resilient bases for United, and the carrier is also doubling down on new flights and more frequencies from the city.

But the expansion isn't just good news for Southwest. Passengers will also enjoy an upgraded terminal experience.

The seating areas have been modernized with multiple seating options, a plethora of charging stations and new carpeting. The concourse extension was built in the same design as the new gates that opened in United's Concourse B West in November 2020.

Passengers will also enjoy access to an open-air patio overlooking the eastern end of the airport operations. There are fireplaces and chairs outside for travelers looking to catch some fresh air before their flights.

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(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)

The new concourse expansion will also feature the airport's newest restroom design, with modernized fixtures, touchless faucets and floor-to-ceiling windows.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

In total, the Concourse C expansion, measuring more than 530,000 square feet, adds 16 new gates, 20 passenger waiting areas and additional customer support areas.

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)

The expanded concourse will also be home to eight new concessionaires, ranging from sit-down restaurants to grab-and-go markets to sundries stores.

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)

Perhaps the big downside to the expansion is that the trek from the check-in counter to the gates is only getting longer. After clearing security in Denver, you have to take an underground train to Concourse C and then walk all the way to the eastern end to get to the new gates. It could easily take more than 30 minutes to get from the check-in area to the new gates — and that's not factoring in the long security lines that are so common in Denver.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 5, Southwest won't begin operating out of the new gates until late May or early June. Once the gates become operational, two of the 16 gates will remain closed for several months to allow for alignment with existing gates and new hold room construction. The final two gates and additional hold rooms are expected to be operational by October.

Denver, like many of the nation's biggest airports, is undergoing a major redevelopment project. These 16 new gates are part of a larger project to expand each of the airport's three concourses with a total of 39 new gates, which will represent a 30% increase in the number of gates.

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)

The Concourse C expansion is the second of four expansion areas to be completed, with the remaining two areas on concourses A West and B East opening this fall. Once the project is finished, all three concourses will have an outdoor patio, along with other passenger-experience improvements.

The airport also recently debuted the first phase of its Great Hall project, which saw the opening of new check-in areas for Southwest and United (among other carriers).

Featured image by Peter Scott Barta
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more