MINNEAPOLIS — The summer travel season is ramping up at MSP, with crowded gates, and planes filled with passengers.
"We are seeing passengers coming back in droves,” Delta VP of Airport Customer Service Mary Loeffelholz says.
Come July, Delta is expecting to hit 338 daily flights at MSP.
That’s nearly twice as many daily trips compared to this same time last year.
"There is palpable enthusiasm and excitement. They are going somewhere and it's not just from the house to the grocery store,” Loeffelholz says.
Besides the masks, Delta flight attendant Richard Schutz says it's pretty much back to business as usual in the airline industry.
"We're returning to some sense of normalcy,” Schutz says.
“The experience is much like it was before COVID.”
Schutz is happy to be around customers again.
He says over the last few months he and his colleagues have had minimal interactions with customers and the only food service they offered was a sealed bag with water and snacks.
"Now we're out in the aisles a lot more than we were,” Schutz says.
"We're giving them snacks. They get full cans of soda, juice, coffee, tea. So, service is coming back.”
But some things have changed.
Airports and airplanes are a lot cleaner these days thanks to new cleaning initiatives and protocols.
Delta recently started a new Clean Ambassador program that aims to keep surfaces and touch points clean for customers.
Jaxyn Ryks is one of five Clean Ambassadors who are based out of MSP.
Company-wide there are more than 100 Clean Ambassadors spread out around the world.
“We are really here to ensure that we are delivering a clean and safe environment to our customers,” Ryks says.
These Clean Ambassadors are equipped with state-of-the-art scanners that can test samples on various surfaces in only a matter of seconds.
The scanners use light to test how clean the surface is and Ryks says they’re looking for the reading to come under 250 units.
“So this counter here at the gate is at 90 and so that means it’s clean and good to go,” Ryks explains.
Had the reading came back higher than 250, Ryks says he would have had to call in a cleaning unit to come and re-clean the surface.
Airport wide they’re seeing a big jump in passengers this week.
An MSP spokesman said this past week was the busiest they’ve seen since the pandemic first started 16 months ago.
He says Sunday was the busiest day with more than 31,500 passengers going through their gates.
On that same day a year ago, he says just under 7,000 passengers checked in.