Feb 8, 2023 - Things to Do

Fly like a pro at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Illustration of an airport check-in sign with a happy face

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you want to take the stress out of departing for your next trip out of the Twin Cities, you've come to the right place.

The big picture: While it's no match for the world's busiest airport, Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport's hub status can lead to crowds and cause headaches for even the most seasoned travelers.

Driving the news: We asked readers for their best tips for getting through MSP. Here are some of the most helpful hacks we heard:

Getting there:

  • Thrifty Traveler editor Kyle Potter recommends parking downtown and taking the light rail to the airport via the Ramp-Ride-Fly program. It can save you more than $20 a day.
  • If you do park at an MSP ramp, booking in advance will cut the price by $2 a day.
  • Leaving Fido behind? Now Boarding is just minutes from MSP. Park in the pet hotel lot for $18/day and staff will give you a ride to and from the airport.

Check in/Security:

  • Local travel gurus say TSA PreCheck is a must-have for a quicker trip through security. The price — $78 for five years — is worth it if you travel frequently. Clear can also help.
  • Sticking to a carry-on bag when you can is a tried-and-true travel tip. If you do bring larger luggage, try curbside check-in.
  • Traveling with a young child? You can check a car seat (along with whatever else you can fit in its bag) for free.

While you wait:

  • The Starbucks in Terminal 1 offers mobile ordering via the coffee chain's app. "Order your coffee while you are in the security line and just swing by to pick up on the way to [your] gate," recommends reader Oliver P.
  • "Bring a reusable water bottle, save yourself from paying $4.50 for a Smart Water at the airport," reader Germaine B. writes. "Water fountains are in abundance in the terminal."
  • The PGA Club by the start of Concourse E is often less crowded than Delta Sky Club and has a nice tarmac view, according to reader Matt R. Plus: a golf simulator! Admission is $25, but some credit cards may get you in for free.
  • The Art @ MSP initiative brings live performances to Terminal 1. Keep the beats going post-departure with the program's Spotify playlist.

Arriving back at MSP:

  • There's a Caribou Coffee in the baggage claim (by carousel six). Perfect for a post-flight pick-me-up or for those waiting for a loved one to arrive.
  • Avoid a wait by asking your ride to pick you up by departures or in the rideshare area instead of traffic congested arrivals lane.

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