This article contains information on the most controversial airport that became no. 1 in america – travels.
One of my fondest memories growing up in Colorado is the blizzard of 2003. Denver’s biggest snowstorm in a century lasted three days straight. People still talk about it. By the time it stopped, the snow was three-feet deep across the metro area, seven feet deep in the foothills. That week was a visual wipe-out — roads, sidewalks, yards, porches, fire hydrants, park benches, trash, everything got swaddled in a soft, clean white light. The world looked the way your apartment does before you move in all your stuff.
The blizzard of ’03, however, was not a particularly good time for Denver International Airport. Thirty miles northeast of where I was attempting to replicate the giant fort from Snow Day, DIA airport officials were evacuating the main terminal out of fear the roof would tear open. And by roof I mean the iconic white tent that has covered the Great Hall since it was first built 24 years ago (designed to look like Native American tipis, but rebranded at the last minute with the claim that it was inspired by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains). Officials worried the canopy might rip at the seams from the weight of the snow. Despite its Teflon coating, it did (though snow did not dramatically cave into the terminal).
With only one road in and one road out, 4,000 people were stranded at the airport. A lucky 850 received cots; the rest were stuck with the floor. Then, in December of ’06, Denver was hit by back-to-back storms landing a week apart, which had basically the same effect — thousands of people stranded, sleeping on the floor (although DIA’s canopy held up this time). Those storms came to be known by the extremely metal names The Holiday Blizzards I and II — though many remember them collectively as “Snowpocalypse.”
DIA’s problems, highlighted by these storms, should ideally never happen again, thanks to long-term improvements over the last few years. As seats get more cramped and TSA gets more restrictive and it becomes more acceptable to yell at people online, airports are going to creative lengths to keep passengers happy. But few of them have had to rehabilitate their public image quite the way DIA has. Inconvenient, overcrowded, inefficient, and at times straight-up bizarre, DIA has been plagued by everything from questionable design choices to full-fledged conspiracy theories (more on those later).
Which is why it raised an eyebrow when, last November, The Wall Street Journal published its first-ever ranking of America’s 20 biggest airports and pronounced DIA No. 1, dubbing it the “Mile-High Miracle.” “Once a symbol of high cost and dysfunction, Denver soared in ranking of reliability, value and convenience,” the paper wrote.
So how the hell does the most hated and controversial airport in America rise to No. 1?