The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was a busy place over the Thanksgiving weekend as more than 175,000 travelers passed through security checkpoints between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26.
That represented about a 10% increase in the number of passengers screened at MSP's two checkpoints during the Wednesday-Sunday period when compared to last year, according the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).
With the Christmas and New Year's holiday crush on the near horizon, some travelers wonder why the Skyway Checkpoint — also known as Checkpoint 10 — was closed and ask if will ever reopen.
The Skyway Checkpoint operated roughly from 5:30 a.m. to noon weekdays and afforded fliers with carry-on bags only a convenient way to get through security. Travelers parked in Terminal 1 ramps or arriving by light-rail could skip the tram ride to the main terminal and access the skyway checkpoint by taking an escalator to the second floor. That is where they could use the sort-of-secret checkpoint on the bridge connecting Concourses G and C.
Lines rarely formed, and when they did, wait times usually were short. And that likely was the checkpoint's undoing and led to its closure.
"The Skyway checkpoint was not generating enough passenger volume" to continue staffing it, said Jessica Mayle, a spokeswoman with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
However, Mayle didn't rule out the possibility of the checkpoint reopening.
"We are in close communication with MAC and Delta and continue to monitor passenger trends and preferences," she said.
Travelers can still exit the terminal at the closed checkpoint.
Passengers in Terminal 2, served by Sun Country, Southwest and Jet Blue, can cut wait times by participating in MSP Reserve. Departing travelers can go onto the airport's website (www.mspairport.com/msp-reserve) and choose when they wish to pass through security. A QR confirmation code is sent to their phone, giving them access to a special lane and quick access to screeners.
Zita makes the cut
The TSA is out with its 2024 canine calendar, an annual tradition honoring bomb-sniffing dogs who help keep America's airports safe.
This year's downloadable calendar includes photos and bios of 15 dogs, including Zita, a German shorthaired pointer who uses her nose to detect the scent of explosives or explosive materials at MSP.
The 3-year-old pooch is featured in July, coinciding with her birthday of July 23.
"Zita is full of energy and trains hard to protect our transportation systems," her bio says. "After work, she unwinds at home taking long naps and chasing squirrels."
Zita is a connoisseur of Milk Bones and Greenies, her bio adds.
TSA uses more than 1,000 dogs such as Zita at airports nationwide and trains more than 300 canines a year, the agency said.
Zita graduated from the TSA's Canine Training Center in November 2022 and was assigned to MSP to replace Eebbers, a vizsla-Labrador mix who retired to Iowa last year after being named 2022's Cutest Canine.