MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - With many preparing to travel for spring break in March, officials at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are preparing for what is expected to be their busiest month since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MSP Airport could see a few days in March peaking at more than 28,000 passengers going through its checkpoints, well over the current pandemic peak of nearly 22,000 checkpoint passengers in a day set in late December, according to a news release. Pre-pandemic, busy spring break travel days often saw 35,000 to 45,000 people passing through the airport’s security checkpoints.
An average of 338 flights are expected to department MSP daily in March, up 21 from the average daily departures during MSP’s previous peak month during the pandemic in December. However, March departures are still projected to be 34% below this time last year, when the pandemic was only just beginning to impact air travel in the United States.
MSP Airport officials say travelers should build in more time to get to the airport and to their gate. Travelers are advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours early for a domestic flight and two and a half hours early for an international flight.
MSP Airport has put a number of new COVID-19 safety measures in place over the last several months, including:
- Queueing areas that promote better social distancing
- "Robust" airport cleaning program
- Hundreds of hand sanitizing stations across both terminals
- Protective barriers at customer contact points
MSP Airport recently launched a contactless online ordering portal called MSP ASAP that allows travelers to order food for pickup and delivery from multiple different restaurants or concession venues, including Blue Door Pub, Ike’s Club House and Hi-Lo Diner.
Many restaurants at the MSP Airport have also employed QR codes for their menus and many concession venues are now accepting more app pay services to promote additional contactless transactions.
For a contactless parking experience, travelers can pre-book their parking online and scan a QR code from the online parking confirmation to enter and exit the parking ramp.
Delta Air Lines is preparing for an influx of passengers in March by increasing its check-in capacity in Terminal 1. Delta will open its east curb check-in counters beginning March 10, which will operate daily between 6 a.m. and noon. Delta’s Tram Level ticket counters will also be open at various times to offer another alternative to its main ticketing lobby counters.
MSP Airport is asking travelers to support their health and safety measures by continuing to wear their required face coverings, washing their hands regularly, using hand sanitizer and abiding by social distancing recommendations, especially in check-in and security lines.