MSP preparing for spike in travel as spring break approaches

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The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is preparing for an expected spike of travelers as spring break travels begin.

According to MSP, this weekend is expected to be the busiest since the beginning of the pandemic. The airport is expecting 25,000 to 28,000 passengers to go through security checkpoints between Thursday and Sunday.

The previous pandemic peak was March 12, when 26,000 passengers went through checkpoints.

MSP said before the pandemic started, the airport would often see 35,000 to 45,000 people passing through the airport’s security checkpoints during the spring break surge.

"We’re still down but in the context of where we’ve been we are seeing some busy days especially on the weekends," said Jeff Lea, MAC Spokesperson. Certainly as we’ve moved into 2021 a little brighter picture."

On average, 338 flights will depart MSP daily in March. That’s 21 more average daily departures than in December, which was MSP’s previous peak month during the pandemic. March departures are still projected to be 34% below a year ago, when COVID-19 had just started to affect air travel.

To prepare for elevated traffic, passengers should allow more time to get to the airport and to their gate. Travelers should arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of a domestic flight or 2 ½ hours before an international flight.

In anticipation of more passengers in March, Delta Air Lines will increase its check-in capacity in Terminal 1. Delta will open its east curb check-in counters beginning March 10. Those ticket counters will operate daily between 6 a.m. and noon. Delta’s Tram Level ticket counters will also be open at various times to offer another alternative to its main ticketing lobby counters.

For many travelers it’s their first time flying in awhile.

"I think we just got to a point now where we feel good enough about it, we can travel safely, wear a mask," said Dan Bentley, who was traveling with his family from Minnesota to Florida for the first time in a year.

"This is the first time I’ve traveled and getting out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be," said Czelsi Gomez, who flew from Montana to Minnesota on Friday.

For more information about traveling, click here.