The MAC is always looking for ways to improve the traveler experience.
While the pandemic sent shockwaves through the aviation industry, as well as through the organizations that support it, it also spotlighted just how determined a community can be when faced with a challenge.
In 2021, the MSP Airport community – consisting of almost 20,000 people representing airlines, federal agencies, concessionaires, transportation services and others – continued to show its ingenuity and determination to create the best possible experience for returning travelers.
While air travel has certainly changed, some things, thankfully, never change, like the delight travelers feel when encountering new services and experiences that enhance the travel journey.
Food Ordering for a New Day
One such service at MSP is that of its online food ordering option, which took off in 2021. Called MSP ASAP, this service – offered through MSP Airport’s website – is a one-stop-shop for hungry travelers who prefer to peruse their choices from the comfort of a favored spot in the airport. With MSP ASAP travelers can order food for pick up or delivery from more than 20 different eateries and then check out online for a fully contactless experience.
The program was successful because everyone involved, including the participating concessionaires and the two original competing ordering services (one for pick up and one for delivery), was willing to reimagine how travelers seek out and pay for their food at MSP.
Arts and Culture on Display
MSP Airport’s Arts and Culture program has been bringing visual and performing arts experiences to travelers since 2008. A partnership between the MAC and the Airport Foundation MSP, the program – also known as Arts@MSP – represents another long-standing collaboration with a partner dedicated to providing travelers their best experience.
In 2021, over the course of several days, world renowned Artist Jen Lewin brought The Aurora to life, capping a three-year effort to bring her interpretation of Minnesota’s northern lights to Terminal 1. Located pre-security and accessible to everyone, this metal and glass 29-foot interactive sculpture responds to motion and is programmed to display color combinations based on real-time weather data.
Live music and visual art performances also fully returned in 2021 bringing a liveliness back to the airport that had been missed by travelers and employees alike.
In 2021, the debut of Jonathan Thunder’s Manifest’o at MSP’s Terminal 1 was perhaps the most visually and auditorily inspiring.
Keeping true to the mission to promote a sense of place, the MAC and the Arts@MSP program brought this visually stunning, digital exhibit about the Ojibwe people – one of Minnesota’s 11 Indian tribes – to the airport in October, filling the tunnel connecting concourses A and B with light and life.
Working Together to Keep Travelers Moving
At any large airport, behind the scenes you’ll find thousands of people working together to create an efficient and enjoyable airport experience.
This includes our Field Maintenance and Airside Operations teams, who ensure roads and runways are clear of snow, our facility and parking operation teams, who provide clean buildings and available parking spaces, and our technology team, who provide real-time digital information throughout the airport terminals. It also includes the people who guide travelers through the security screening process, brew their morning coffee, answer questions, and keep flights on time.
At the MAC, we understand the importance of casting a vision, communicating with partners and coordinating efforts so that every step of a traveler’s journey is seamless.
In 2021, we redoubled our commitment to building relationships, continuous improvement and innovation. In practice, this takes the form of regular dialogues and planning sessions with our airport partners focusing on everything from wait times, construction projects, parking operations, COVID-19 protection measures, snow removal operations and future airline bookings to ensure alignment between resources and passenger demand.
All these efforts and more helped make MSP the Best Airport in North America in its class in 2021.
In 2021, across the nation and around the world, millions of service workers did not return to their previous jobs leaving many employers looking for ways to better attract and recruit people to these positions.
The airport business is largely made up of service industry workers, including security screeners, airline representatives, food and retail employees and ground transportation providers, to name a few. As travel demand increased in 2021, the ability to service those passengers was tested by a lack of workers.
To help address the issue, the MAC worked with more than 35 organizations at MSP Airport to hold three job fairs – one virtual and two onsite – that in total attracted more than 1,000 prospective employees.