Accommodating passengers to smaller regions
CU Denver is known for being a commuter school for students who graduated from Colorado high schools. However, as Denver grows, and CU Denver’s name becomes more widely known in the college system, out-of-state students are becoming more abundant on campus, and thus are more likely to use the airport more frequently than commuter students on campus.
Out-of-state students and international students make up 22 percent of the total undergraduate population. CU Denver holds students from 49 states, DC, and 68 countries as of last fall—and there’s a travel demand present for those students.
As of December 2018, according to Denver International Airport’s monthly fly report, United Airlines accommodated 1.6 million passengers, both nationally and internationally. Despite United’s recent mishaps with both human and animal passengers, United stands to be the leader in passenger count out of DIA. With the recent addition of 10 new routes to and from Denver beginning this summer, United is engaged in welcoming more passengers for the 2019 flight season. The announcement also comes after Frontier Airlines added three new nonstop routes from DIA in December 2018.
The added summer routes consist of: Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina; Syracuse, New York; Portland, Maine; Minot, North Dakota; Charleston, South Carolina; Eureka, California; Fairbanks, Alaska; and weekend-only routes to Burlington, Vermont; Savannah, Georgia; and Pensacola, Florida.
The Greenville/Spartanburg, Syracuse, Charleston, Eureka, Fairbanks, and Minot routes will begin on June 6, operating year-round, and Portland is to begin summer-only flights on June 8. United plans on expanding their weekend-only routes with an added round-trip flight on Sundays, in addition to the already available Saturday flight.
United stated that the route additions were part of a new “rebanked” schedule, meaning that the typical schedules are being tweaked based on incoming and outgoing flights. This change includes boosting available morning flights for passengers flying to the East and West coasts from Denver, as well as an effort to improve connections for passengers flying from more sparsely populated mountain and Midwest regions.
Depending on where students are going to or coming from, the reception of the schedule changes seems to be getting mixed reviews. Despite United’s effort to adhere to these less populated regions of the United States, some out-of-state students are still opting for other airlines that they are more familiar with to travel home for school breaks. “I’m biased with flights since I’m from Alaska, and the most reliable way to get up there is to just fly Alaska Air,” Chrissy Salazar, a recording arts major, stated. “I lived in Anchorage, but now I usually fly to Soldotna/Kenai, which is another reason why Alaska Air is great because you can use your miles with Ravn Air that flies to smaller cities and villages around Alaska.”
Those in charge at DIA seem to find the schedule changes positive. Steve Jaquith, Vice President of United’s Denver hub, stated in an interview to USA Today, “With the enhanced schedule, we’ll reduce the amount of time customers will spend waiting at the airport and provide better options to customers arriving on flights from smaller markets to get to destinations east and west of Denver.”