MSP Airport's mock airplane cabin aims to help build travelers' confidence

MSP Airport this week opened a mock aircraft cabin so people can practice the pre-flight experience in a real airport setting.  (FOX 9)

Minnesota is now home to a one-of-a-kind facility designed to help people prepare for air travel and ease their anxieties in a realistic setting.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Monday debuted the Travel Confidently MSP Education Center, which is a mock aircraft cabin complete with a 33-foot-long cabin with 42 seats. 

It is designed to help people with sensory, physical or cognitive disabilities practice boarding and travel procedures without the pressure of an actual travel day. Those with a fear of flying and service dogs can also practice the pre-flight experience, while first responders and airline support crews can use it to train.

"This unique facility will be a hallmark for MSP’s programs that support equitable and inclusive travel," Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which runs MSP Airport, said in a news release. "Thanks to a generous donation from Delta Air Lines, we can provide a life-like training environment without the use of an actual aircraft, which will build confidence in air travel for more people in our community."

Delta Air Lines donated the mock aircraft cabin. It was previously used to train airline in-flight teams in Atlanta but now calls Gate C16 at MSP’s Terminal One home. 

This is part of the Navigating MSP program. Those interested in practicing the pre-flight experience can make reservations on the program’s website here. The pre-flight experience covers the TSA screening process, getting around the terminal, boarding an airplane, and preparing for takeoff.