MSP airport expects ‘pre-pandemic’ travel surge over next 10-day stretch

As families return to post-pandemic holiday celebrations, AAA is expecting that 4.5 million Americans will travel by air to Thanksgiving destinations, an increase of 8% over 2021. 

Locally throughout the next 10-day stretch, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) officials are expecting a return to pre-2021 travel levels.

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According to MSP’s latest airline booking information, the busiest departure day of the holiday travel period will be Wednesday, Nov. 23, with more than 32,300 passengers expected to be screened at MSP’s security checkpoints. The following Sunday is expected to be the second-busiest day, with more than 32,200 passengers expected to go through security.

"Thanksgiving travel is spread out over a week or more, but MSP will still experience certain days and particular times when there will be heavy spikes in passenger traffic similar to pre-pandemic years," said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), in a statement. "We’ll also experience times of heavy traffic on our roadways and terminal curb areas as passengers arrive to check-in or depart our terminals."  

The airport is also anticipating an uptick in connecting travelers, who clear security at other airports before traveling through MSP.

Travelers are advised to arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours ahead of international flights. 

Travelers may also experience more congestion on the roads around the airport this week. During busy times, drivers can pick up or drop off passengers at either Terminal 1’s departures or arrivals levels.