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MSP expects busy travel day Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving, along with the Sunday after, are typically the two busiest days of the holiday week.

MINNEAPOLIS — Danny Givens Sr. feels a different vibe at the airport these days.

The popular business owner, known by some as the unofficial mayor of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, operates a shoe-shine business with multiple locations inside the security zone.

Ahead of Thanksgiving this year, he’s noticing more of everything: More flights, more foot traffic at the departure gates and more family reunions.

“Last year, it was like a ghost town. Eerie. Now, just to see folks come back, this is like a real Thanksgiving,” Givens said on Tuesday evening. “To see this many people getting with their families, and those who have lost folks – things of that nature – this is going to be a really nice time of year.”

On Wednesday, MSP is preparing for even more traffic. 

The day before Thanksgiving – and Sunday after the holiday – are typically the busiest of the holiday week.

The airport projects 33,000 passengers will cross through security on Wednesday, doubling the total from the day before Thanksgiving last year.

“We’re seeing about 70% of the passengers than we did pre-pandemic. So, we still have a pretty long way to go until we’re fully recovered,” airport spokesperson Patrick Hogan said. “[But] we’re making steady progress. I think once more and more people get vaccinated, and we move past the current surge that we’re seeing, we’re going to see travel really start to pick up in the spring.”

Ashton Hobza, a junior at St. Cloud State University, flew out of MSP on Tuesday evening to gather with extended family in Florida – only the second time she’s flown since the vaccine rollout.

“Last year, I could only sit on my couch and hang with my immediate family,” Hobza said. “This year, it’s actually fun to get out and go adventure with my extended family.”

Credit: KARE 11

But with so many more people flying to see their families ahead of Thanksgiving, you should be prepared for longer lines at MSP. 

Already, on Tuesday evening, a logjam had started at the departure drop-off area.

“I recommend everyone get out here two hours early,” Givens Sr. said. “Because tomorrow, you’re not going to be able to move around here.”