TSA reopens Intercontinental Hotel security checkpoint ahead of holiday rush

A security checkpoint outside the Intercontinental Hotel at MSP airport has been closed. It was completed last year for a price of $24 million.

After a dispute, the TSA has reopened the public security checkpoint at the new Intercontinental Hotel at MSP Airport. At an airport that has struggled with long security lines, passengers now have one more option to get through security.

The TSA security checkpoint at the hotel is open from 4:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning to accommodate the airport’s busiest screening times. The checkpoint was temporarily shut down on Monday after a dispute with the Metropolitan Airports Commission over funding.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission spent $24 million to build the checkpoint and the connecting skyway to help speed up screenings. This is a public checkpoint; passengers do not have to be a guest at the hotel.

In fact, the hotel’s owner, Jim Graves, said he invites passengers to get dropped off at the hotel and go through security there.

"We are a public access," said Graves. "So we have a lot of people from the community - both leisure and corporate - that drop off, have a cup of coffee at the hotel, and go through our checkpoint. It’s very convenient, user-friendly checkpoint. And it is a public checkpoint."

The reopened checkpoint gives air passengers with carry-on luggage another option as the TSA expects record holiday travel. At MSP alone, a combined 37,000 passengers are expected on Wednesday at the Lindberg and Humphrey terminals.

On Wednesday, that jumps to 43,000 to 44,000 passengers. And it’s the same for Sunday when everyone returns home. At the Metropolitan Airports Commission this week, the local TSA director said they’re ready.

"We’ll have everyone here that we can have," said Federal Security Director Cliff Van Leuvan. "We will have our canines working and all of our resources on sight for the busiest times on the busiest days."

The airports commission has agreed to reimburse the TSA for the costs to keep the hotel checkpoint open. If you’re thinking of using this checkpoint, keep in mind it’s for carry-on luggage only. If you have to check luggage, you need to go through the main terminal.