Pilot program allows travelers to book security time slot at MSP
Standing in line at the airport can be a test of patience and nerves as the clock ticks down until the boarding doors close. To streamline security, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is rolling out a pilot program at Terminal 2.
It will allow travelers to book a time slot to go through security between 3:45 a.m. and 8 a.m.
“We’ve got a really big crunch time in those early morning flights and want to see how well it works,” said Jeff Lea, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “This is one way to mitigate some of that congestion by getting people to plan ahead and go through a special line, which also removes people from other lines and maybe overall improve the throughput here at the checkpoint.”
People planning to fly can book a reservation up to seven days before their trip on the MSP Reserve page of the airport’s website. Travelers will be required to enter their flight information in order to choose a time slot.
“It’s going to offer the best times based on that flight departure,” Lea said.
Up to 10 people in a party can reserve a time slot together. An email confirmation will be sent once the reservation is made.
“You’ll come here at that particular time, you’ll go through the MSP Reserve line, they’ll check your credentials, and then you go on your way through security,” explained Lea.
MSP follows other airports, such as Denver, which are giving the pilot program a try. It’s through a partnership with Clear, which also provides an expedited line for some travelers.
“There may be a limited number of slots based on staffing levels at the TSA and the program itself, and I think that’s one of the things we’re going to be working through with this pilot program this summer, understanding the demand and understanding the staffing that it takes for this program,” Lea said.
Rachel Armstrong, who is from the Grand Forks area, plans to give the program a try, although she does have some skepticism.
“I think if it works the way they’re wanting it to work, it’ll cut down on a lot of wait time and be a really good idea,” Armstrong said. “If a lot of people sign up for it, is it really going to go as smoothly as they want it?”
The program will last for 90 days through the summer travel season. According to Lea, Memorial Day weekend saw a 10% increase in people passing through security compared to last year. Certain peak times exceeded 2019 levels.
“In our situation, musicians or whatever, you’re traveling with gear and stuff, you don’t always have time to stand around,” said Cameron Dewald, bassist for the band Gorgatron.
The band travels several times a year, including internationally.
“It’s just a way to streamline,” Dewald said about the pilot program.