While there are a number of fantastic airports around the Twin Cities, the crown jewel is MSP — Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. If you’re making plans to travel to or from one of the most popular airports in the United States, make sure you’re prepared ahead of time so your experience runs smoothly. Whether you’re a pilot or a passenger, here are a few travel tips for Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.
Know Your Terminals
MSP is a simple airport to understand, once you figure out which airlines serve which terminals. Terminal 2 (also known as Humphrey Terminal) is smaller and only serves airlines Southwest, Sun Country, jetBlue, Icelandair and Condor. Here, you’ll find only one concourse, H. All other airlines use Terminal 1 (also known as Lindbergh Terminal), including the region’s Delta hub, and contains seven concourses — A, B, C, D, E, F and G. To get between the two terminals, use the free light rail system that also provides access to the action of Downtown Minneapolis.
Terminal 1 has two large checkpoints located on the north and south sides of the ticketing lobby, which all passengers can use. There are two additional checkpoints, one located on the C/G connector bridge, but only open from 5:30 AM to noon, and one located on concourse G, for international connecting travelers. Terminal 2 offers two security checkpoints, located on level two — both near the orange and purple parking ramp skyways.
For those that are planning on driving to or from the airport, there are several parking ramps throughout the MSP Airport grounds. At Terminal 1, you’ll find daily parking options in the green and gold ramps, with access through the skyway. Additional ramps, although a bit farther away, include the quick ride ramp, valet parking and the blue and red ramps. Terminal 2 offers two parking areas, the orange and purple ramps.
Refuel With Local Cuisine
Many of the most successful restaurants in the Twin Cities have a presence at MSP airport. A Terminal 1 favorite for upscale, unique Minnesota-style breakfast is at French Meadow Bakery and Café, where you can get your fill of award-winning coffee, breakfast foods, delightful lunch selections and other hearty bites. In Terminal 2 you can find local cuisine with an NHL twist, at the Minnesota Wild Bar, offering classic bar fare, stiff drinks and all of the hockey action you’ve been missing while out of town.
Check out a number of other great bars and restaurants at MSP Airport.
Find The Perfect Souvenir
Not only does MSP have some fantastic options for dining, but there are plenty of shopping opportunities as well, perfect for killing time during a long layover. Find something uniquely local at Minnesota State of Nice, offering mementos from local artisans, apparel, toys, books and other souvenirs in Terminal 1. There are also several duty-free shops like MSP Duty Free and World Passage, found throughout both terminals.
Whether your flight is delayed due to a notorious Minnesota blizzard, or you’re staying the night for some other reason, there are several options for accommodations in and around MSP Airport. The most convenient option is the InterContinental Hotel, located on the airport grounds with easy access from Terminal 1 via the skyway link on Concourse C near Gate C25 and shuttle access for those coming from Terminal 2. Here, you’ll find classic amenities like a full gym, sauna and swimming pool. Other nearby options are the Hilton, Hyatt and Embassy Suites, all about a 10-minute drive from the airport.
Relax in between flights at one of MSP Airport’s several lounges, many which are open to any airline passenger by paying at the door or purchasing a membership pass. Even those flying economy can get access to these exclusive relaxation centers. There are three of these lounges in Terminal 1, the Escape Lounge, the PGA MSP Lounge and the United Club.
Know of Nearby Reliever Airports
If you’re a general aviation pilot traveling to the Twin Cities, you may want to consider skipping MSP and heading toward one of the several reliever airports located around the city and suburbs. Even though there are facilities for general aviation at MSP, in order to keep air traffic down, the Minneapolis Air Commission (MAC) has set up six additional airports to handle small airplanes and other non-commercial flights, making these much less stressful landing options. Two of the most popular are the amenity-filled Flying Cloud Airport and Crystal Airport, a smaller and less-trafficked option.
Are you flying to Minneapolis/St. Paul
Stop by Inflight Pilot Training, located at Flying Cloud Airport, for all of your training, rental or maintenance needs. Whether you need to refresh your pilot skills, get your airplane checked out or cleaned up, or just want to meet some local aviation enthusiasts, our doors are always open — come say hello to our team! Get in touch today to find out more about our aircraft services at Flying Cloud Airport: Send us a message or call (952) 698-3000.