Thanksgiving will be busy at airports across the country, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International. If you’re flying out — or picking up guests — these tips could help.

Think the opposite. Drop off departing passengers in the arrivals area and pick up arriving passengers in the departures area. This is not a typo. Because departing flights are bunched together, lots of fliers get to the airport at the same time; the same is true of arriving flights. Avoid the congestion by being contrary. Escalators and elevators connect the two areas, and arriving passengers can exit the airport, without going down to baggage claim, in the middle of the Airport Mall near Dunkin’ Donuts.

Check out checkpoint 10. If you depart from Terminal 1 and only have a carry-on, consider the often fast-moving checkpoint 10 on the skyway that connects concourses C and G. It is open Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and is easily accessible from the Blue and Red parking ramps. From Terminal 1, take the underground tram to parking and elevators to the skyway level.

Relax a little. Don’t have access to an airline lounge? You can buy your way into Escape Lounge, located on the mezzanine level above the entrance to Concourse E. This spot is generally quiet and the food offerings are robust enough to fill you up. Entrance is free for people with a platinum American Express card, who can bring up to two guests. Others pay $45 for a day pass (first-timers pay $35). An hourlong visit runs $25.

Dine on great local food. Hungry for pizza from Black Sheep or Japanese street food from PinKU? For a map of local eateries represented at MSP, go to

Keep the kids happy. For refuge from the hubbub, head to a family room for low lighting, a changing table and a rocking chair (Terminal 1, near the entrance to Concourse E; Terminal 2, near Gate H10). Lactation centers are available in Terminal 1 near Gates C13 and F2 and above the entrance to Concourse E, and in Terminal 2 between Gates H10 and H11.


Contact Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at