MSP Airport Prepares for Spring Break Passenger Surge

MSP Airport Prepares for Spring Break Passenger Surge

March 09, 2023

More Parking, More Venues Open to Meet Travel Demand This Year

Some of the busiest days of the year for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are expected over the next six weeks during the spring break travel season. 

“MSP expects one of its busiest spring break seasons in several years as increased passenger demand continues to fuel aviation’s ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates MSP. “We are prepared for peak travel days in the coming weeks, with more parking, more staff and more concessions for our travelers flying off to sunny vacations and other late winter getaways.” 

In 2022, five out of the top 20 busiest days at MSP occurred during the spring break travel period. This year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects national spring break passenger volumes to rival pre-pandemic levels. MSP is projecting overall passenger volumes in 2023 to increase 10%. 

This is the first big week for spring break vacations in the Twin Cities, launching the busy travel period that will run through mid-April. Some of the area’s largest school districts will be on break the last week of March and first week of April. Airlines are scheduling the most seating capacity on departing flights from MSP these weeks – 410,000 seats per week – to meet demand. That’s up from the nearly 390,000 scheduled seats per week at the outset of this travel period.   

Travelers should also expect to see increased vehicle traffic volumes and parking demand at MSP. More parking is available at MSP this year for spring break than ever before – the full opening of the Terminal 1 Silver Ramp last summer added 3,500 parking spaces, and the January 2023 re-opening of the Quick Ride Ramp brought back another 1,300 parking spaces. Travelers are encouraged to prebook their parking online to guarantee a space at the terminal of their choice and to save on drive-up rates. During the month of March, travelers can save $7 a day if they prebook parking at Terminal 1 for at least seven consecutive days.  

During peak hours, MSP will have additional staff in the ticketing lobbies to direct passengers to appropriate lines and help with wayfinding and other questions. Passengers should generally plan to arrive two hours ahead of domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights but are encouraged to confirm specific airport arrival times with their airlines.

More than 20 concession venues have debuted or reopened at MSP since spring 2022.  Travelers can enjoy several new restaurants in the newly expanded G Concourse near gates G17-G22, including the Mill City Tavern, Poppy’s Bagels, Custom Burger and Crisp & Green. Sebastian Joe’s recently opened in the E Concourse, and a new Caribou Coffee has opened in the Terminal 1 Bag Claim.