Peak holiday travel period begins at MSP

Thanksgiving is now less than a week away and it’s expected to be a busy time for travel.

AAA projects more than 4.5 million Americans to fly to Thanksgiving destinations this year, up 8% from last year, and officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are expecting to see a surge that at least equals last year’s, too.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which runs MSP, said Friday kicked off the 10-day peak travel period for the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to MAC, the busiest travel days at MSP will see more than 32,000 passengers clear Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. The busiest days at MSP, according to the latest booking information, will be:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 23,
  • Sunday, Nov. 28,
  • Friday, Nov. 18.

RELATED: The busiest days to fly during the winter holidays

The uptick in travelers means anyone flying should anticipate more congestion, both in the airport and on the roads around it this week. MAC generally advises travelers to arrive at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

During busy times, MAC notes that drivers can pick up or drop off passengers at either Terminal 1’s departures or arrivals levels., and MSP’s cellphone lot on Post Road is also recommended, as it allows motorists to wait until passengers call them and say they’re ready for pickup.

While the surge in travelers is particularly apparent during the holidays, MSP notes it has seen a 30% uptick in passenger activity in the first nine months of 2022 compared to last year.