MSP Prepared for Annual MEA Week Travel Push
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is gearing up for one of the busier travel weeks of the year connected to the annual Minnesota Educators Association (MEA) break, on Oct. 20 and 21 this year.
With schools out state-wide this Thursday and Friday, many families take advantage of the time off to squeeze in a fall vacation over those days and through the weekend. Booking forecasts indicate Thursday, Oct. 20 will be the busiest departure day of the week, with more than 36,600 passengers expected to check-in and clear TSA checkpoints. Wednesday, Oct. 19 is projected to be a close second, with 36,000 passengers expected to check-in and clear TSA checkpoints.
“MEA break is traditionally a popular vacation time for Minnesotans, and we’re prepared to welcome and help travelers get off to a great start to their fall vacations this week,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP. “We anticipate a couple of heavy travel days at the front end of MEA break, with some peak departure activity occurring around the earliest flights on those days.”
MSP, its airlines and other partners are boosting staff to accommodate the travel demand, especially in ticketing lobby areas to improve passenger flow and line management. In general, travelers should arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of a domestic departure or three hours prior to an international departure. However, passengers should confirm the recommended airport arrival time with their airlines.
Travelers may also experience more congestion on MSP roadways this week. During busy times, drivers can go up or down to Terminal 1’s departures or arrivals levels to pick up or drop off passengers. MSP’s cell phone lot on Post Road is also recommended. This free parking area allows motorists to wait until they receive a call from the arriving passenger when they are ready to be picked up curbside.
Travelers who park at MSP can always save $2/day over drive-up rates when they prebook online. There’s even more savings for customers who prebook parking on Oct. 22-23 at Terminal 1. Prebooked parking guarantees a spot for customers and gives them a touchless experience by using a QR code from their online parking confirmation to enter and exit the structure.
For those flying with children, it’s a good idea to revisit the TSA’s tips for traveling with children and other tips, including what you can and cannot bring through security.
MEA week travelers will experience the most dining and retail options since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with approximately 92% of MSP’s concession venues now open. For pre-flight options in Terminal 1, travelers can order ahead with MSP ASAP. Several venues at Terminal 2 also provide travelers a way to skip the line and order ahead.
As part of MEA travel week, there is a fun lineup of events, including a balloon artist and giveaways in the Terminal 1 Airport Mall on Oct. 19, between 1-4 p.m. The Arts@MSP program will have a live music performance in the Terminal 1 Airport Mall Gallery from 2-4 p.m. on the same day.