MSP Airport Review with SlickNickRicky

SlickNickRicky

SlickNickRicky (or, at least his dog)

Today we caught up with tweep @SlicknickRicky and long-time tripchi supporter to find our about his favorite airport, MSP Airport (Minneapolis-St. Paul).

Thanks for joining us Nick.

Why do you like MSP Airport so much?

This airport is the greatest.  I only ever fly through Terminal 1, so my viewpoint is exclusively limited to the Lindbergh half of the MSP Airport.  The entire terminal (minus Concourse G, the International concourse) utilizes a HUGE spoke and hub type design.  All of the security checkpoints feed into the main terminal area where you can access concourses A-G spaced evenly throughout.  Multiple restaurants, shops, food courts, airline clubs, personal care centers, electronics outlets, news shops and live entertainment venues (yes, I said live entertainment) pepper the concourse on both sides.  Each has its own look and feel and the diversity is appreciated.

What is the feel of MSP Airport?

The MSP airport has never been overwhelmingly crowded, at times seeming a bit vacant, but for a frequent traveler like me, that’s not all bad.  Modernity prevails, however, in this ergonomic take on the modern airport.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a seat in the G concourse without its own iPad from which you can order food and drinks that are DELIVERED to you, or at LEAST have USB and 110 V ports to yourself.  The G concourse (while all concourses have their own little shopping areas) features a huge walk through food court and electronics boutique dotted with the occasional handicraft booth–and it’s a non-stop visual flurry until you’re on the airplane.

MSP Airport

MSP Airport

Short of something international and huge like Schiphol or Frankfurt or Heathrow or Kansai, you won’t find a better airport stateside.

How was the check-in process at MSP Airport?

I fly a lot.  A LOT.  I’ve counted 21 airports domestic and international since March 1 this year, and this airport is tops (barring of course, the inherent speed of a tiny municipal airport somewhere.)  I checked in via my Delta Sky Priority app on my iPhone and not one, but two courteous Enterprise agents, relieved me of my rental car and pointed me to the elevators–it was less than 90 seconds before I was on a one minute tram ride to the terminal.

Conveniently, the tram lets off right at the sky priority baggage drop and within minutes I was handing my bag off to an agent and on my way up the escalator to the security line.  A quick query as to where the first class security line was, and I was the third person in line.  All said and done, I timed 12 minutes from the time I dropped my rental car off to the time I was checking into the Delta lounge for a free beer, and to plan my trip around the airport to “critique it”…although there were few critiques to be found among its many laudable contents. Beat that LAX!

How was MSP Airport security? 

What security line?  Even the economy class line was flowing smoothly as all checkpoints were open; I didn’t see any delays in any of them (on my trip through the airport I walked past them all and they were humming with activity and efficiency) so I don’t think there were any worries here.  The TSA agents at the MSP Airport are among the friendliest and most helpful I’ve encountered.  Not once did I get asked if I had everything out of my pockets like I was an idiot, nor did I get the look we all know too well when you’re waiting to go through the super duper micrometer inducing x-ray reading hamster tube…”uh, I’ll be with you in a minute let me finish talking to my friend here”…Not once.  Total time in security from standing in line to walking to the lounge was less than four minutes.  BEAT THAT DCA…

How did you spend your time before flight?

A trip to Minneapolis isn’t complete without a ‘weekender’ Bloody Mary from Ike’s on Sixth.  But if you’re only passing through, you can get pretty damn close and hit up the Ike’s in the main terminal.  You’ll have to overlook a healthy pour of vodka (oh, i’m sorry you got too much liquor in your cocktail) but it’s easy to do with a cube of Wisconsin cheese, three types of olives, two types of onions, celery, pickled beans, pickle spears, a pepperoni stick and a blackened shrimp with the traditional snit or beer back.  Interesting story there, but this is a travel blog not a drinking blog, so you’ll have to follow me on twitter to get more on that interesting piece.

After my Bloody Mary, I went to Aveda for my FREE 20 minute facial treatment, then followed that up with a perusal of the Tumi store for a new wallet and straight to the A concourse salon for a quick trim and a half hour massage while I pondered my way of writing down just how great the MSP Airport really is.

Bypassing all the fast food, I had to swing by Axel’s…the place looks too cool to pass up and the breakfast specials are amazing.  Pleased I am on a layover here again as I write this, and that I can ditch the lounge’s free WiFi for a quick bite there on my way to SFO.

Honestly, if you don’t have two or three hours to spare, you won’t have much time to pass…there’s so much to look at and do and hear and eat, that if you even just casually window shop, you may miss your flight…eyes on the watch fellow travelers…as always. And if a more low key thing is for you, scope out the wine bar and deli right next to the Harley store (weird combo, I know) for a chill – or room temperature if its red – layover for sure.

Did you notice anything else special about the MSP Airport?

There is enough art on the walls, but you hardly notice. The local crafts, variety of shops and live entertainment (did I mention that yet?) will have you actually enjoying wandering around during a layover…there’s not much more you can say about that. Oh, and they have a freedom of expression booth at baggage claim.  You can literally use it to do whatever you want with and spread your message about, well, whatever…how cool is that?

What did you like most about MSP Airport?

It’s fun, easy and quick.  Doesn’t make traveling a hassle. At all.

What did you like least?

I didn’t get to try all the bars or restaurants I wanted to…I will be back, MSP…

What 1 suggestion would you give to the MSP Airport to improve your experience?

If I could, which I can’t, I would make the MSP airport a little closer to the city.  While only 20 minutes away from the Minneapolis metro center and 25 from St. Paul and literally seconds away from the Mall of America, the light rail transit to the airport could be easier.  Minneapolis would be a great overnight layover if transit to the airport was just a little more convenient.  Other than that, these guys nailed it…Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my beer.

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Chandra is passionate about travel and technology....

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