Passenger levels down 95% at MSP during pandemic

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It’s an unusual sight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. There are no lines to check in for a flight, to check a bag or to go through security.

One security checkpoint was even closed on Friday afternoon, two days before Easter.

“It is so strange,” said Marty Bausano. "I am shocked at how empty the airports are.”

Bausano was in the Twin Cities from the St. Louis area. As a trainer for 911 systems, she travels often.

“If I didn’t feel comfortable traveling, then I didn’t have to, but, you know, we work for 911 systems, so we have to take care of our customers,” she said.

Bausano’s direct flight was canceled, so she found herself traveling from St. Louis to Atlanta and then to MSP.

“I get nervous if the flight is real crowded,” she said. “Except for that flight from Atlanta to here on Monday, so far the attendants are really good to move people around so we have distance between us.”

Bausano was wearing a mask and said she practices social distancing. She also brought wipes on the plane to sanitize her seat.

“I’m just hoping this gets over quickly and everyone comes through it,” she said. “It’s scary times, no doubt about that, scary times.”

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Due to the risk of COVID-19, many states, like Minnesota, are discouraging unnecessary travel.

Airlines have also cut back on flights. According to MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan, airlines have suspended 90 routes from MSP.

He said they are anticipating reduced revenues of more than $100 million this year.

“With significant reductions in flight activity, passenger levels down by 95% and customers filling only 2% of the airport’s parking capacity, what would typically be a steady stream of revenues to fund airport operations and improvements has slowed to a trickle,” said Hogan in an email.

For Khee Krakue, heading to North Carolina is worth the risk.

“I have a weak immune system, so I’m kind of scared,” she said. “But there’s somebody over there that’s very special to me in the military that I haven’t seen for a while. It’s also my birthday tomorrow, so I’m going over to spend my birthday with him.”

She said she also packed hand sanitizer for the trip.

“Hopefully I don’t get sick, the plane is clean and sanitized and everything,” she said.