Cell phone parking lots are excellent for providing a free waiting area while waiting to pick up passengers. Usually, these lots are small and at best may have basic amenities like nearby restrooms.
However, at Denver International Airport, they take the concept of cell phone waiting lots to the next level. In this article, I will provide a detailed overview of Denver International Airport’s (DEN) cell phone waiting lot, known as Final Approach.
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What is DEN’s Final Approach?
Final Approach is the designated name for the cell phone waiting lot located near Denver International Airport (DEN). It offers a range of amenities you wouldn’t typically expect to find at a cell phone parking lot including: a food court, gas station, restrooms, convenience store, and car wash.
How close to the airport is Final Approach?
Final approach is located approximately three miles west of the Jeppesen Terminal.
On our visit, it took us about seven minutes to get to the terminal to pick up our passenger from the time that we exited the cell phone parking lot and we encountered minimal traffic.
So if you have the passenger text you when they are exiting the plane, that would be a good time to start to head over to the pick up terminal unless they have checked bags they need to pick up.
In that case, you want to probably wait until they tell you that the bags are starting to come out or better yet until they retrieve their bags. Like most other airports, they don’t allow you to wait around at the pick up area.
What do they have at Final Approach?
When you visit Final Approach, you’ll find a spacious parking lot with 253 spaces, a large gas station, a convenient store, and, most importantly, the Final Approach food court.
There’s a partition between the main parking lot and the area with all of the dining options and the gas station but it is still adjacent to those facilities so you could easily walk over from the main parking lot if for some reason you can’t find parking in front of the facilities (which I think would be rare).
The food court houses various restaurants including Dunkin’ Donuts, Aunt Annie’s, Schlotzsky’s, and Tia’s (a New Mexican restaurant). Some restaurants open up as early as 7 AM so you have a few different breakfast options.
Inside the food court, you’ll discover a multitude of tables and flight information screens, aiding you in keeping track of the status of your awaited flight. They even provide free Wi-Fi for your convenience.
If you prefer to enjoy the outdoors, there are picnic tables available, perfect for a pleasant day.
Adjacent to the Final Approach food court, you’ll find a convenience store called Rocket, accompanied by a large Phillips 66 gas station.
The convenience store also features a Wendy’s, boasting one of the largest drive-through entry signs I’ve ever seen. It remains open until midnight so if you’re visiting when the other places are closed (around 8pm), this may be your only option.
Inside the convenience store, you’ll encounter travel-themed decor with Colorado-themed outdoor accents.
It’s one of the more upscale and equipped convenience stores you’ll come across, offering a convenient pit stop for snacks or beverages while awaiting your flight.
The restroom facilities may not be on par with Buc-ee’s, but they certainly surpass the standards of your typical gas station convenience store. And there’s also a car wash outside.
Additionally, Final Approach serves as an ideal location to refuel your rental car before returning it. Hopefully, you didn’t pre-pay for your gas as that is often a rip-off!
From the parking lot near the convenience store, we were able to do some plane spotting. However, the departing flights were not very frequent, and we only caught glimpses of a few Southwest flights. Nevertheless, anything to help pass the time is always welcome.
One important tip for Denver International Airport is to clarify the terminal from which your passenger will be arriving.
There are separate terminals for the west and east, and although specific airlines are assigned to each, it’s possible for your passenger to end up in the wrong terminal, resulting in a long detour to reach them.
So, make sure to confirm the terminal with them to avoid any confusion and unnecessary driving on your part.
If you ever need to wait to pick up a passenger at Denver International Airport, the cell phone waiting lot is the ideal spot to be. It surpasses the typical cell phone waiting lot as it offers multiple dining choices, a spacious gas station and car wash, and a pleasant convenience store.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.