The first morning of the MEA extended weekend, a popular travel time for families in Minnesota, appeared to go smoothly at the main terminal of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday.
Lines to clear security and check baggage between 6 and 8 a.m. were minimal for travelers departing from Terminal 1, the Lindbergh terminal. Officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expected about 42,200 travelers to clear security at MSP's two terminals Wednesday, then 41,500 on Thursday and 35,700 on Friday. The average daily number of travelers for this time of year is 36,800.
The long weekend is tied to the Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) teacher meetings in St. Paul, and TSA expects a 4% increase over the same period last year in security screenings. Busy times tend to be early in the morning and afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m.
"MEA week brings families and infrequent travelers," said Celia Hahn, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 899, which represents TSA screeners at MSP. "Confusion will be an issue no matter what."
In August, the Metropolitan Airports Commission temporarily reconfigured the main terminal's two security checkpoints, resulting in long lines and confusion among travelers.
But last week the checkpoints returned to their normal configurations. Now travelers can use either the north or south checkpoints in Terminal 1, whether they have TSA PreCheck or Clear — or not.