WalMart’s Mass Exodus from Denver Forces Airlines to Work Together

Like many conventions, the Walmart convention this week in Denver involved the arrival and departure of several thousand people from one airport. But who would gave known that such an exodus would force collaboration between several airlines?On site at Denver International Airport on Thursday, I witnessed an armada of rented Budget box trucks pull up to the arrivals level at DIA, full of luggage that had been checked in and pre-screened at many of Denver’s downtown hotels. Before this day, I had only seen offsite baggage checkin offered in places like Las Vegas and Orlando. And it’s not something that is normally offered in Denver. But when a HUGE company like Walmart brings over 5,000 folks from around the country, concessions are made. Employees from Alaska Airlines, Delta and Southwest, along with an airport service contractor all worked together in the intense Colorado sun for five hours to sort bags and get them to the right airlines and the right flights as they came off the trucks. I even overheard someone say, “One airport, one team.”

Trucks rented by Bags, Inc for Walmart convention attendees. Photo by Paul Thompson.

A company called Bags, Inc. provided a luggage valet service at several hotels, then rounded up the bags, screened them according to TSA specifications, and brought them all to DIA at a cost of only $5 per bag. That seems pretty reasonable, for the ability to travel luggage free from your hotel to destination airport. On their website, it says the charge for their bag VIP service is normally $29.95 for one bag, $39.95 for two bags, and $49.95 for 3-8 bags. Obviously, the Walmart contingent received a bulk discount.

The departure board at DIA shows United and Southwest flights to Fayetteville. Photo by Paul Thompson.

On Thursday, Southwest operated four charter flights from Denver (DEN) to Fayetteville, Arkansas (XNA). United also has one daily scheduled nonstop from DEN-XNA. Bentonville, Arkansas is 28 miles from Fayetteville, and the home of Walmart’s corporate headquarters.

*This story was written by originally appeared on NYCAviation. Republished with permission.

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Paul Thompson

Highly passionate about all things related to aviation! I combine my knowledge of the aircraft manufacturing and airline industry to provide a detailed and first-person point of view. I have worked on unique stories with airlines and companies including American Airlines, British Airways, Goodyear, Honeywell, jetBlue, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Red Bull Air Racing, Southwest Airlines, and the U.S. Navy.

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