It's that time of year when winter weary Minnesotans flock to warm sunny destinations and that means busy days at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The number of passengers flying out of the airport and making their way through security swells during the Spring Break rush, which lasts through the first week of April. Last week, for example, the TSA projected 43,000 passengers were screened Thursday and 47,000 on Friday. On a normal day, 31,000 passengers pass through the security checkpoints.
It is recommended that travelers arrive at the airport two hours prior to the flight’s departure,the Transportation Security Administration said.
Besides the usual "come early advice," which does apply, here are some tips for those coming to the airport over the next few weeks.
The busiest times at the airport are 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.
Terminal 1 parking ramps sometimes fill to capacity, so check parking availability online at www.mspairport.com before you leave home.
The roadways in front of Terminal 1 also get congested with vehicles picking up or dropping off travelers this time of year. Use either the upper level roadway (by ticketing) or the lower level roadway (near bag claim) for both pick up and drop off. Often when one is busy, the other is not, airport officials say.
The Transportation Security Administration offers these tips to make getting through security smoothly:
- Arrive at the airport early enough to park or return a rental car, print boarding passes and check a bag at the airline ticket counter, go through the security screening process and get to your gate. Each step takes extra time when the airport is busy. .
- Spring break is a time when many people travel with oversized and odd-sized checked baggage. If you are traveling with skis, snowboards, golf clubs or any other specialized item, please allow extra time for these items to be screened through the checked baggage system.
- Travelers can get to any airline gate from any security checkpoint within a terminal. Go to the security checkpoint with the fewest number of travelers and you will still be able to access ALL gates. Note whether your airline departs from Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.
- While prepping for your trip, unpack your bag before you pack it. Passengers who bring prohibited items to the checkpoint slow the screening process for themselves and everyone behind them.
- Get continuous, up-to-date information about MSP by following the airport on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mspairport.
- Prepare your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes to be sure they are packed in compliance with the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Liquid containers larger than 100 ml (3.4 ounces) are not allowed in carry-on luggage. Passengers who violate this rule will cause screening delays for themselves and everyone behind them.
- Remove all items from your pockets and secure the items into your carry-on bag to prevent them from being left behind in a bin. Your screening experience will go even faster if you remove everything from your pockets before you get to the checkpoint.