This weekend is MEA, the annual conference for teachers put on by Education Minnesota. It also means many kids and families take advantage of the long weekend for a fall gateway.
Those who are leaving town by air will find longer lines at security checkpoints since as many as 20,000 extra travelers a day will pass through MSP. That along with business travelers who are still on the road will make it extra busy, in fact, one of the busiest weeks of the year, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan.
The airport expects to see 115,000 to 120,000 passengers daily Wednesday through Sunday.
To that end, Hogan strongly recommends that anybody trying to catch a flight to arrive at the airport 90 minutes before their flights depart.
Traditionally, "this is one of the busiest weeks of the year at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the airport said in a Tweet. "If you're flying for any reason, we urge you to get here early. At least 90 minutes is recommended. If you are traveling with children you may want to plan a little more."
MEA often draws people unaccustomed to flying, meaning lines move more slowly, Hogan said.
Adding to potential delays is a construction project at the main terminal that has taken one of the security checkpoints out of service. Travelers are now condensed into three checkpoints, that also are shared with airport employees. By early next year, checkpoint 1 should reopen with 10 lanes, Hogan said.
"Arrive early because there are no good shortcuts" to get through the lines faster, Hogan said. One tip would be to print boarding passes at home, but that will save minimal time.
In addition to long lines inside the terminals, parking is at a premium, too. Hogan said. On Wednesday, all the spots at the Terminal 1 ramp were taken by 9:30 a.m. Travelers who park on site were encouraged to use the airport's Quick Ride Ramp off Post Road and Hwy. 5.
It has 1,400 spaces and offers parking for $14 a day for those who pay by credit card, which is $8 less than parking at the main terminal. Shuttles run 24 hours a day between the ramp and the main terminal. The ride takes about 5 minutes.
Passengers flying out of Terminal 2, served by Sun Country, Icelandic, Condor and Southwest airlines can take the shuttle to Terminal 1, then catch a light-rail train at no cost to Terminal 2. Value parking at $14 a day also is available at Terminal 2.