Skift Take

A smarter, design-focused airport can make flyers more relaxed and offer more memorable experiences before a flight.

Kim Day, CEO of Denver International Airport, spoke today at the Skift Global Forum.

Day has led Denver International Airport, the fifth-largest commercial airport in the U.S., since April 2008. She recently updated the airport’s master plan and launched the Hotel and Transit Center Program, which will bring a 519-room at-terminal hotel to the airport in late 2015. Originally trained as an architect, Day’s leadership will lead to the opening of a commuter rail link for the airport with downtown Denver next year.

Day’s talk “Building an Airport for the Future of Travel” explored the challenges of renovating airport infrastructure with an eye on the future of travel. Here are three things we learned:

  • Airport amenities have evolved from the early days of aviation. Hot dog stands and black coffee have given way to boutique eateries and sophisticated cafes. Today, the airport itself has filled in the customer service gap abdicated by airlines, which now focus solely on their aircraft operations.
  • Explorers and elites are the focus of Denver International Airport’s flyer experience due to their comfort spending more for finer amenities. They drive incremental revenue for the airport, due to their desire to keep their life going while traveling.
  • Day is working to develop a boutique airport in Denver. Unique eateries, diverse shops and even an outdoor dining area are on the way. In two weeks, therapy dogs will roam the terminal (with handlers) to help relieve stress among flyers.
  • Technology will soon revolutionize the flyer experience while in airport terminals. Smart notifications, pre-purchasing and personalized flight notifications will make the travel experience less stressful for tech-savvy travelers.

Keep track of all the activity at this year’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.


And thanks to all the sponsors that made Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, Amadeus, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.


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Tags: denver, sgf2015, skift global forum

Photo credit: Kim Day speaking at the Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn New York on October 14, 2015. Skift

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