MSP Prepared for Busiest MEA Travel Week in Years

MSP Prepared for Busiest MEA Travel Week in Years

October 17, 2023

Travelers have more flight options and available seats for fall vacations

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is preparing for its peak week of fall travel which occurs during the Minnesota Educators Association (MEA) break on Oct. 19 and 20. MSP is expecting high volumes of passenger activity over the next week that could approach or surpass daily post-pandemic passenger records.  

With schools out state-wide this Thursday and Friday, many families schedule fall trips across the four-day weekend. Wednesday, Oct 18 and Thursday, Oct. 19 are projected to be the two busiest departure days for the week, with up to 46,000 people expected to check-in and clear TSA checkpoints.

“We’re expecting a very strong week of travel through MSP as more Minnesotans are taking advantage of pre-winter travel opportunities this year,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP. “Airlines have scheduled more flights and more seat capacity from MSP in the last year and that will certainly help to meet expected passenger demand through MEA week.” 

On Thursday Oct. 19, airlines will hit their peak day of operations for MEA week with 460 departures.
Average daily departures for October are up 12% over a year ago. Additionally, seat capacity on MSP flights is up 18% this month compared to October 2022.

MSP, its airlines and other partners are boosting staff to assist travelers to reduce wait times for check-in and security processes. 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. 

Here are some other helpful tips for MEA week travel at MSP:

•    Travelers in Terminal 1 should check 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 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Availability is limited.

•    Parking will be in high demand. Passengers can prebook online now to guarantee a spot and save up to $7 a day. Bookings must be made at least 12 hours prior to your scheduled arrival time.

•    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 a free waiting area that is easy and close to use. Motorists should wait until they receive a call from the arriving passenger when they are ready to be picked up curbside before heading to passenger pickup areas at the terminal.

•    Get the latest TSA security screening information and tips including identification requirements and regulated items for carry-on and checked baggage. 

•    The TSA also offers guidance on screening measures when flying with children.