DENVER (CBS4)– Air travel is on the rebound, and staff members at Denver International Airport are expecting a distinct difference this Memorial Day weekend, compared to last year. DIA said there is an 80% increase in travelers from last year.

“It’s really evident in the numbers. There’s an 80% increase in travelers from last year to this year,” said spokeswoman Alex Renteria. She shared the statistics with CBS4’s Mekialaya White on a Zoom call. “From today to June 1, about 325,000 passengers are forecasted to travel through DIA. That’s compared to 67,000 over the same week in 2020. The year before that, when things were normal, more than 400,000 passengers traveled through DIA.”

(credit: CBS)

Passenger numbers aren’t quite at pre-pandemic levels, but they are getting there. That’s why Renteria encourages people to be mindful of other travelers and safety precautions that remain in place.

“Bring your masks, no matter what’s happening in the state. We are a federal facility, so everyone inside the airport and on airport property needs to wear a mask,” said Renteria. “And it’s important for people to have personal responsibility. We can only look around so much and do so much and we need people to have masks on – if you’re eating or drinking you can take it off, but otherwise you need to wear those masks.”

The federal mask mandate at DIA and other public transportation remain in place through Sept. 13. There will also be overhead announcements to remind people traveling of the COVID-19 safety measures still in place.

Renteria says passengers will notice some new features since last Memorial Day weekend.

The plaza located between the Westin and the terminal will transform into a park to give travelers and community members a new airport experience. The park includes gardens featuring native Colorado trees, plants and lounge seating.

Also, travelers can order food our travel supplies, delivered directly to them through the “At Your Gate” app.

“The airport experience, DIA tries to make it fun, but it’s still a stressful time. Then, add kids in or add traffic. So please arrive with two hours to spare. Give yourself time to grab a bite, or explore the outdoor deck. And give others grace. We’re all trying to make this holiday season really great,” said Renteria.

Mekialaya White