ST. PAUL, Minn. - Sometimes going to the airport is a real trip. Just ask fliers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where business travelers, spring breakers and vacation takers in recent months have packed the airport.
"It's pretty frustrating for me because I'm not one to be early anyway," said William Ferrell, a frequent flier from Prior Lake. "So what I've begun to do now is call ahead and find out where I need to go."
Sometimes the answer is to the Humphrey Terminal. When the parking ramps at Lindbergh are full, fliers are forced down the road to Humphrey to park, where they then ride the light rail back to Lindbergh. That often takes a half hour or longer, an inconvenience to tired and busy travelers.
"(It's) frustrating to stand in the winter and wait for the train," said Erica Garvey of Eden Prairie. "And when you have to get back on a late flight to go back and forth, it is frustrating."
And the ramps aren't the only thing that's been full. The terminal has been so crowded and security lines so long that MSP's largest airline apologized.
Delta sent an email calling MSP lobby operations "difficult," and acknowledging lengthy wait times at Minneapolis TSA checkpoints. And the Metropolitan Airport Commission says there are times when the ramps and terminal are crammed. It says spring and summer months are busiest, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings, saying that's often when Lindbergh parking is sold out. That's why it says fliers should still arrive at least two hours before takeoff, enough time to get through long lines.
"After the first couple times I was caught off guard I started to do a little planning," Ferrell said.
And for some, that means avoiding the jam altogether, using cabs, drop offs, public transit or park and rides to take to the skies with fewer bumps in the road.
"(Using park and ride) is cheaper, it's convenient, it's good service for me," said Mark McCrea of St. Paul.
With spring trips and summer vacations still ahead for many travelers, the Minneapolis airport will likely continue to be busy.
If you plan to park at MSP, you can use to find out which parking ramps are full before you go, visit mspairport.com/parking/surepark.aspx.