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When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

new england
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When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

Tentatively planning to visit Colorado College on a Wednesday in February. Is 2:30 pm a good target time to leave the college in order to make a 6:30pm flight out of Denver (figuring in rush hour, security lines, car rental return, etc...seems there is a toll road that might make drive time a little quicker?)

Also, what time would we need to leave CS for a 9pm flight?

Many thanks!

Colorado Springs...
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1. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

With a rental car, I would not take the toll road. The rental car companies put on a ridiculous charge for handling the paperwork for the collection of the fully electronic toll. Besides, the toll road really doesn't save you a lot of time.

Personally, in February, I would drive to the airport the night before and spend the night near the airport. That minimizes the weather element in your planning

Under normal conditions, it takes me about 1 hour 35 minutes to get to the airport from the north end of Colorado Springs, using the I-25 to the exit to the I-225 (several exits after the Toll Road exit), then the I-225 to where it ends at the I-70 going east. About 3 miles on the I-70 to the Penna Blvd. exit, goingoff to the right.

The big unknown in February are the road conditions, especially on the I-25 on the incline to the Palmer Divide, north of Colorado Springs. If there is a snow storm, the highway is likely to be in better shape in the evening than at the crack of dawn.

As to the time it will take you to turn in your car, for TAS security etc. your guess is as good at mine, although Denver is one of the better airports for going through security.

colorado springs,co
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2. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

4 hrs is more than plenty

Colorado
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3. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

Four hours is plenty of time but be aware of the weather forecast for the day you're planning to drive.

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

There was an extensive discussion of this question earlier this year but I couldn't seem to find it. On the thread I did find, the consensus seemed to be to leave no later than 6 am for a 10:30 am flight to allow time to return a rental and get through security. For you, that would translate to 2:00 for a 6:30 flight, to give you time to get to the airport, return your car, get through security, and navigate to your gate in time to get there the recommended time prior to your boarding time (6:10?) If it were me, I'd leave at 1:30, because my kiddos that commute in Denver tell me that traffic starts picking up at 3:30 or so, and I'd rather leave early and avoid the worst of the traffic. (There's a top question on the Denver forum about things to do at the airport if you arrive with time to spare.)

The caveats, esp. in winter, are the weather, road conditions, and possible accidents that would slow traffic or even close the interstate. You probably will have smooth sailing, but you should be aware of those things so you can check the conditions. www.cotrip.org will have updates, and maybe the Colorado Springs folks can tell you which television or radio stations have the best info.

Edited: 7:51 pm, October 07, 2012
new england
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5. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

Thanks everyone. Good points. I think I'll see if we can reconfigure our itinerary to visit CC on a Friday and then fly out of Denver on Sat. More time for dealing with any weather related issues that way.

Park City, Utah
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6. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

I do this frequently. Three hours allowance to flight time is reasonable, 3.5 to be a bit safer. Four hours is overkill. I can't see that you'll have traffic issues at that time going that direction. Of course, pay attention to weather but you can't plan that now.

Good luck.

Colorado Springs...
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7. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

4 hours is about right for a Wednesday afternoon, using I-225. Traffic on I-225 can be hellacious in the afternoons, but that's the way I would go in a rental car. Normally I would say 3.5 hours is fine, but that's taking the E470 toll road.

new england
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8. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

Thanks for all the updates. Looks like we're going to have to keep CC in the Wednesday slot of our itinerary so the traffic/weather/timing advice is much appreciated.

9. Re: When to leave CS to make 6:30pm flight out of DEN?

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