MSP Airport Doubles Cell Phone Waiting Lot Capacity Ahead of Thanksgiving Week Travel

MSP Airport Doubles Cell Phone Waiting Lot Capacity Ahead of Thanksgiving Week Travel

November 17, 2023

MSP prepared for holiday passenger travel to approach 2019 levels at peak times

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) opened a second cell phone waiting lot this week that more than doubles the capacity where motorists can wait before picking up arriving passengers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The additional capacity will be in high demand right away as MSP accommodates a high level of travelers and visitors over the next 10 days tied to the annual Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

The MAC has added the new East Cell Phone Waiting Lot on the south side of Post Rd. with 100 vehicle spaces. It’s located less than a quarter mile from the original 40-vehicle waiting area, now known as the West Cell Phone Waiting Lot. Both cell phone lots on Post Rd. are conveniently positioned between Terminals 1 and 2 for quick access to passenger pick-up zones.  

“This is another way to enhance the customer experience, meeting the growing demand for free, safe, and convenient spaces for drivers to wait before picking up passengers,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the MAC. “The lots help reduce traffic congestion near the terminals because they eliminate the need for drivers to circle the airport before their party arrives at the pick-up zones.”

MSP is expecting its busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel season in four years, with some peak times over the next 10 days approaching 2019 levels. According to MSP’s latest airline booking information, Wednesday, Nov. 22, will be the busiest departure day with nearly 37,000 passengers projected to be screened at MSP’s security checkpoints. Nearly 34,000 passengers are expected to clear security on Friday, Nov. 17, the start of holiday travel period. Sunday, Nov. 26, will close out the travel period with more than 34,000 passengers expected through security. The airport is also anticipating an increase in connecting travelers, who clear security at other airports before traveling through MSP.

Travelers should generally arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights. There will be additional staff in MSP’s ticketing lobbies during high-traffic times to direct passengers to appropriate lines and help with wayfinding.

Here are some other helpful tips for Thanksgiving holiday travel at MSP:

  • Travelers in Terminal 1 should review the two checkpoint wait time boards when they enter the ticketing lobby. Passengers can access all gates from either checkpoint, but the North Checkpoint often has shorter wait times.
  • Terminal 2 passengers can reserve a spot in the security line for free through MSP Reserve. Appointments are available 3:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Availability is limited.
  • Holiday travelers are encouraged to pre-book their parking online to guarantee a spot and capture the lowest daily rates. Bookings must be made at least 12 hours prior to your scheduled arrival time. The earlier you book, the more you can save.
  • During busy times, drivers can go up or down to Terminal 1’s departures or arrivals levels to pick up or drop off passengers.