Traffic was inching along, and I was getting nervous.

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. As I zipped along Crosstown Hwy. 62, I felt confident I would reach Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with time to spare. Then I turned a corner. The two right lanes of Hwy. 5 were clogged with bumper-to-bumper cars, all waiting to enter the airport.

Fortunately, I had a plan that let me avoid the maddening backup — and it could be your plan, too, when you fly out for the holidays or spring break.

I squeezed my way to the fast-moving far left lane of Hwy. 5, scooted past the traffic jam and took the Post Road exit just down the road.

That’s where I pulled into the Quick Ride Ramp. The instant I parked, a shuttle van pulled up, the driver grabbed my luggage and we headed to the terminal. I feared we’d have to join the line of brake lights glowing red. Instead, we took a back way to the shuttle dropoff point at Terminal 1.

I was inside the airport and at the security checkpoint within minutes of parking my car, feeling smart and, more important, on time. Had I stayed in the traffic — using a driving service or attempting to park in the Terminal 1 Ramp — I might still have been in a vehicle.

I took one key step before leaving home: I checked the airport’s website, at, to make sure parking spots were available in the Quick Ride Ramp. The ramp, which costs $15 a day, was only 60 percent full that evening, according to the website.

If you plan to use one of the airport parking ramps, check the website before heading out. Its live report should help you avoid last-minute stressful decisions. Parking can be tight at the airport, especially during busy times such as spring break and the holidays.

The MSP website also shares information on wait times at security checkpoints. On the Tuesday I flew, the website accurately reported it was 5 minutes or less. Maybe many of the people who might have been at the checkpoint were still in cars.


Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.