An Introduction to MSP

Discussion in 'MSP | Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport' started by MSPeconomist, Apr 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
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    MSP, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is located south of Minneapolis and west and across the Mississippi River from St. Paul. The metro area has a population a bit over two million in the SMSA, compared to a total population for the State of Minnesota of about four million.

    The airport is divided into two terminals: Terminal 1, formerly called the Lindberg Terminal, is used by all Delta flights (hub and international gateway), including Delta Connection, UA/CO, and others. It contains two DL SkyClubs, the newly removated lounge to the left at the entrance to the F concourse and the one which was renovated by NW shortly before the merger (ivory and black with fireplaces, clothes changing rooms but no showers) near gate C11 and the food court where the shortcut to G and the skyway security station starts. There is also a small new UA/CO RCC. Terminal 2, formerly called the Humphrey Terminal, was once the hanger where international flights arrived and then was used for charter operations. It was recently totally redone, including the construction of a parking "ramp" (Minnesotan for a semi-enclosed parking garage). Southwest and other carriers use Terminal 2, which is small enough not require long walks. Parking is slightly cheaper at Terminal 2. The two terminals are connected 24/7 by light rail service, which is FREE if you are are only travelling between the terminals at MSP. Stations are indoors but tend to be windy and chilly in the winter, although you are totally protected from rain and snow.

    Terminal 1, also sometimes referred to as the main terminal due to the history of the other terminal, is U-shaped structure. The roadway follows the inside of the U on both the departures level and the lower arrivals level. Departing DL passengers can be dropped off on either the left hand side of the roadway (to the main check in lobby) or on the right hand side, where there is a satellite check in and bag drop station which is staffed at most hours but seems to never have any line. There is also curbside check-in and bag drop on the right, IIRC for a small fee and not for international flights or anything that requires one to see an agent.

    If you arrive by light rail (the line serves downtown to the north and terminates at the Mall fo America to the south with no transfers required), beware that although the station is in the terminal, it is nevertheless a long walk to the check-in and security areas. You must allow time for this. (I know locals who have missed planes because they didn't allow for the time required to get from the light rail station to the counter or their gate.) If you don't want to use the very long escalator, there are elevators further back, continuing beyond the escalators.

    If you either arrive at the airport by light rail or by car (yours to be parked or a rental return), if you don't need to drop a bag, you might want to aim for the "Skyway" security check point. There are DL kiosks there, but no DL staff to help and AFAIK no kiosks for other carriers, so it's better if you've already printed your boarding pass. This security tends to be fast--I don't think I've ever seen more than several people in line--but it does have a nude-o-scope installed, although frequently not in use. There is no separate elite line and sometimes airline crew cut the line.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
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