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Airport terminal improvements, expanded destinations greet flyers at MSP

Memorial Day weekend could kick off the busiest summer travel season since the pandemic began.

Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport
Passengers can fly directly out of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport and connect with flights out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Parking is free and Delta Air Lines, operated by SkyWest, operates daily service.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch file photo
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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is preparing for a sustained boost of passenger traffic over the next few months with the Memorial Day holiday weekend kicking off for what could be the busiest summer travel season since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Transportation Security Administration predicts U.S. travel demand could match or, at times, surpass 2019 volumes this summer. “We have seen steady passenger growth throughout the spring – including an all-time record number of passengers at Terminal 2 in March,” said Metropolitan Airports Commission CEO Brian Ryks, in a news release. “We are ready and eager to welcome more passengers back to MSP this summer as more people return to air travel for leisure, business or personal reasons.”

Locally, passengers can fly directly out of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport and connect with flights out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Parking is free and Delta Air Lines, operated by SkyWest, operates daily service from the Brainerd Lakes airport.

As the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport readies for the increase in passengers this summer, travelers can expect to enjoy new terminal improvements, more destinations and flight options — including new and returning international options, and an expanding list of new or re-opened restaurants and retail venues.

Expanded G Concourse

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The MAC, which operates MSP, recently completed a 50,000-square-foot expansion of the far end of the G Concourse, where it intersects with the Terminal 1 Skybridge to the C Concourse. This transformational project added modern terminal features, including a wider corridor, a light-filled rotunda, beautiful terrazzo flooring, more spacious gate seating, a new suite of restrooms, as well as several new restaurants and retail options. The new space will also be infused with 500 square feet of new art display space including 16 new cases for rotating temporary exhibitions.

Delta Air Lines adopted its newest branding into gates G17-G22, which were expanded by 60%. The gate areas feature all new power-connected seating, darker carpeting, and new vibrant white gate counters.

More Destinations and Flight Options

Passengers have more destinations to choose from this summer after airlines added 11 new domestic and international routes to its schedules for late spring and summer of 2022. The new flights include Air Canada’s new service to Montreal beginning June 1 and Sun Country’s first-ever service to Canada, with a new route between MSP and Vancouver beginning June 15. This summer also marks the return of Condor’s service to Frankfurt beginning June 1. In April, Delta restarted its daily service to London Heathrow after a two-year hiatus.

In June, airlines are expected to operate 198 routes, up from 185 one year ago.

More Restaurants and Retail Options

There are more places to eat, drink and shop for this summer at MSP as the concessions program continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The 110 concession venues now open marks a 37% increase over one year ago and an 89% recovery rate for the entire program compared to pre-pandemic operating levels. And there’s new places to explore, too. In the recently expanded area in the G Concourse near gates G17 to G22, a new Cibo Market has opened. Nearby, a new Starbucks location will open in early June.

Additional restaurants and other venues are scheduled to open later in the summer.

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Travelers can avoid queue lines or wait times by ordering ahead from many MSP venues.

Prebooked Parking

MSP offers prebooked parking that not only guarantees a spot for customers, but also gives them a touchless experience by using a QR code from their online parking confirmation to enter and exit the ramp. Travelers can save $7 a day on the daily drive-up parking rate at Terminal 1 from May 27-30 when they prebook online.

Plan Ahead

For those who haven’t traveled recently, the TSA has the latest security and travel guidance online, including information on what can be packed in carry-on and checked baggage before arriving at the airport.

And with more travelers expected this summer at MSP and many other U.S. airports, travelers should plan ahead to allow plenty of time to get to the airport, park (if needed), check bags, complete security screening, and get to the gate. Passengers should contact their airline for the latest recommended airport arrival times.

 About The Metropolitan Airports Commission 

The Metropolitan Airports Commission owns and operates one of the nation’s largest airport systems, including Minneapolis-St Paul International (MSP) and six general aviation airports. The MAC’s airports connect the region to the world and showcase Minnesota’s extraordinary culture to millions of passengers from around the globe who arrive or depart through MAC airports each year. Though a public corporation of the state of Minnesota, the organization is not funded by income or property taxes. Instead, the MAC’s operations are funded by rents and fees generated by users of its airports. For more information, visit www.metroairports.org .

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

Hi, I'm the Brainerd Dispatch. I started working a few days before Christmas in 1881 and became a daily paper two years later. I've gone through a lot of changes over the years, but what has never changed is my commitment to community and to local journalism. I've got an entire team of dedicated people who work night and day to make sure I go out every morning, whether in print, as an e-edition, via an app or with additional information at www.brainerddispatch.com. News, weather, sports — videos, photos, podcasts and social media — all covering stories from central Minnesota about your neighbors, your lakes, your communities, your challenges and your opportunities. It's all part of the effort to keep people connected and informed. And we couldn't do it without support.
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