Minneapolis-St. Paul airport preps for busy MEA weekend

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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By Estelle Timar-Wilcox, Minnesota Public Radio News

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is getting ready for its busiest week of fall travel this week, as public schools in the state are off on Thursday and Friday for the Minnesota Educators Association break.

Airport officials say they expect Wednesday and Thursday to be some of the busiest days at the airport since before the pandemic.

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The airport has already been busy in the last couple of weeks, and the MEA break will likely make it busier, said Jeff Lea, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

“This is a time Minnesotans like to get out and have their pre-winter vacations, and a lot of families have their children out of school, and they want to take advantage of that. We’re certainly anticipating that more and more Minnesotans are traveling this week than they have in the past years,” Lea said.

The airport is estimating that 46,000 people per day will be checking in for flights on Wednesday and Thursday, similar numbers to the busiest days pre-pandemic.

Airport officials say they’re increasing staffing to keep the crowds moving.

Lea recommended that travelers plan ahead as much as they can. General advice is to arrive at the airport two hours before a flight in the U.S. and three hours before an international flight. Passengers can also book parking at the airport online ahead of time. In Terminal 2, a new program lets passengers reserve their spot in the security line during certain hours.

“We’re certainly ready,” Lea said. “There’s staffing in our lobbies and our checkpoints to help expedite that, and we certainly hope people get to the airport early so they can navigate any lines or delays that they might encounter [and] get to the gate in good fashion so they can enjoy their trip.”