Colorado Air Service for Meetings & Events

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Colorado Air Service for Meetings & Events 

By Beth Buehler

As someone who travels a fair amount for business and leisure from my home/office in a southwest Colorado ski town, I’ve gotten to know the state’s network of airports quite well. It’s impressive and handy.

I’m a huge fan of flying from regional airports as the parking, drop-off/pick-up and security lines are easy. It’s laidback and absent some of the normal stressors of the flying process, and the number of direct flights from these airports has grown significantly. For example, Southwest has extended its reach to more Colorado airports over the past year.

There also is huge value in having Denver International Airport, which has become the fifth busiest airport in the United States since opening at its current location on Feb. 28, 1995. Another benefit is Colorado’s central location in the United States, making it handy for flying in attendees from various directions.

Here is a quick overview of Colorado air service for meetings and events.

air service

Denver International Airport Continues to Expand Reach & Amenities

More than 69 million passengers traveled through Denver International Airport (DEN) in 2019 (pre-Covid!). Not only do I appreciate the reasonable fares worldwide and great air service connections from DIA, it frequently is the connecting airport from the two airports that I fly out of most: Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) and Montrose Regional Airport(MTJ), which is the primary airport for Telluride. I like how DIA has integrated a lot of local into the airport in the form of restaurants, breweries, wine bars, shops, artwork and more. It isn’t a hardship to have a layover or extra time in DIA!

Plus, the area around the airport has filled in over the years and now includes several great hotels with meeting and event space nearby, much of it within Aurora, which is part of the Denver metropolitan area and Colorado’s third largest city.

I like airports that have easy and inexpensive train or subway connections to the city center, and RTD’s A Line train provides a direct link to downtown’s beautiful Denver Union Station in 37 minutes for only $10.50 one way. The Colorado Convention Center and one of the state’s largest conference hotels, Sheraton Denver Downtown, are only a few blocks away from Denver Union Station along with loads of great attractions. For customized service, there are terrific transportation providers that will make sure your group gets from the airport to where it needs to go in Denver, the Front Range, mountains and beyond without hassle!

DIA is currently undergoing a variety of improvements and gate additions to update and expand this distinct building with a roofline that resembles snowcapped mountains. Some of the new gate areas are already online and look great!

Impressive Network of Regional Airports

The next two largest airports in the state are located in Colorado Springs to the south and Grand Junction in the northwest corner of the state. I frequently check flights from these airports as they provide a variety of options, are pleasant to fly from and are a little closer to my home. I’ve also flown into and out of Vail Valley’s Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) and Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) from other parts of the country with ease.

Just like DIA, the regional airports are undergoing improvements to help make the flying experience top-notch. The second story of Eagle County Regional Airport is newly renovated to provide passenger comforts, Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is undergoing a total upgrade, and there is likely more in the works at other airports.

But some of the best news for Colorado air service for meetings and events is the growing number of direct flights to regional airports, providing access to several off-the-charts unique destinations and resorts. It’s hard to keep up with this growing selection of flights and sometimes it switches up based on season (for example ski season vs. summer/fall in the mountains), but here’s a handy list from the Colorado Tourism Office.

COLORADO REGIONAL AIRPORTS

Colorado Springs Airport, Colorado Springs (COS)

Year-Round From: Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City

Seasonal From: Minneapolis – St. Paul, San Antonio, Washington, DC

Grand Junction Regional Airport, Grand Junction (GJT)

Year-Round From: Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas, Mesa, Phoenix, Salt Lake City

Seasonal From: Chicago, Los Angeles

San Luis Valley Regional Airport, Alamosa (ALS)

Year-Round From: Denver

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, Aspen (ASE)

Year-Round From: Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Salt Lake City

Seasonal From: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis – St. Paul, Phoenix, San Francisco

Cortez Municipal Airport, Cortez (CEZ)

Year-Round From: Denver, Phoenix

Durango/La Plata County Airport, Durango (DRO)

Year-Round From: Denver, Dallas, Phoenix

Seasonal From: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles

Eagle County Regional Airport, Eagle (EGE)

Year-Round From: Denver, Dallas

Seasonal From: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Washington, DC

Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, Gunnison (GUC)

Year-Round From: Denver

Seasonal From: Dallas, Houston

Montrose Regional Airport, Montrose (MTJ)

Year-Round From: Denver and Dallas

Seasonal From: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco

Pueblo Memorial Airport, Pueblo (PUB)

Year-Round From: Denver

Telluride Regional Airport, Telluride (TEX)

Year-Round From: Denver

Yampa Valley Regional Airport, Steamboat Springs (HDN)
Year-Round From: Denver

Seasonal From: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago,
 Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis – St. Paul, Newark, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC

The bottom line is Colorado air service for meetings and events provides planners and attendees with convenient and affordable flights from 13 airports around the state. Check the options!

Top Photo: Courtesy of Denver International Airport

Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 16 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.