MSP newsletter, March 2017

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MSP concessionaires recognized for 5-Star Service


Concessionaires at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) gathered recently for the annual MSP 5-Star Service Awards, recognizing businesses that went above and beyond for customers in 2016.

The awards are determined by the airport’s secret shopper program, with awards going to the concessionaires who earned the highest secret shopping score for the previous year in each of five categories.

Every month, “secret shoppers” visit each retail store and restaurant at MSP and interact with employees, noting how they are greeted, the accuracy of their transaction and the knowledge of the staff. 

An award is also given to the tenant who demonstrates a notable commitment to sustainable practices.

The 2016 winners are:

  • News and Gift category: L’Etoile in Terminal 2
  • Specialty Retail: Aveda
  • Quick Service: Subway in Terminal 2
  • Casual Dining: Flybar
  • Sustainability: Volante
  • Merchant of the Year: Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee always scores high in the secret shopper program and its win was well-deserved, said Eric Johnson, director of the MAC’s Commercial Management and Airline Affairs. Caribou continued to thrive in 2016 despite challenges from construction remodeling and employees moving to a new store.

“People remember their experience here,” said Brian Ryks, CEO and executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, who spoke at the awards ceremony. And when travelers are helped and treated well by concessionaires, it reflects positively on the entire airport, he added.

New for you: Concession openings continue at MSP

New restaurants and retail establishments continue to open at MSP, as a major refresh of the airport's concessions nears another milestone.

Nearly 50 new shops have opened in recent months as restaurant and retail space is renovated throughout the airport.

Smack Shack is now open on the south side of the main mall in Terminal 1-Lindbergh, next to Caribou Coffee not far from Stone Arch and the beginning of the F concourse. Smack Shack features lobster rolls, Po’ Boy sandwiches, burgers, soups and other seafood-focused appetizers.

Above: Smack Shack's new facade on the Main Mall in Terminal 1.

Also now open is words, a bookstore on Concourse C in Terminal 1.

The store carries best sellers, new releases, fiction and non-fiction along with book accessories and merchandise.

The storefront and the interior have the heart and soul of a local neighborhood independent book seller.

Following a remodel at Terminal 1, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory re-opened recently in the main mall.

The store carries assorted chocolates, fudge, toffee, dipped delights, gourmet brownies, truffles, cookies, gift baskets and more. 


Lake Wine Kitchen + Bar will open Saturday, March 11 in Terminal 1-Lindbergh, on the Main Mall.

The new dining destination offers a full-service wine bar, a grab-and-go market, a quick-service counter for take-out items and seating inside and out.

Pictured: The classic bruschetta, with fresh mozzarella,  heirloom tomatoes, basil and balsamic reduction on a toasted baguette.

On the menu you'll see small plates, salads, sandwiches and entrees, including breakfast choices.

The retail wine shop also provides bottles to go, so stop by on your way in or out of town.

Remember daylight savings time this weekend


If you're traveling on Sunday, March 12, remember to set your clock ahead an hour Saturday night.

Daylight Savings Time officially starts at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

Most smartphones make the time change automatically, but if you rely on an alarm clock to wake you up, you'll want to set the clock an hour ahead on Saturday night.

Nobody likes arriving at the airport to find out they're an hour closer to their departure time than they expected, so plan ahead.

Catch some fun at the Twins Grill on March 22

The new Twins Grill is already drawing a crowd on Concourse C in Terminal 1, and on Weds., March 22, the restaurant will be even more popular.

The Minnesota Twins' mascot -- TC Bear -- and some well-known former Twins will be on hand at the Grill from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Stop by, say hello and stay for lunch at one of the latest additions at MSP.


MSP ranked best in N. America for its size


Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) this week was named Best Airport in North America for its size category by Airports Council International (ACI).

Each year, ACI ranks the world’s airports by region and size category based on results of customer surveys. MSP earned the highest score among North American airports serving 25 to 40 million passengers a year in 2016.

“Promoting a culture of continuous service improvement has become a matter of gaining competitive advantage and optimizing non-aeronautical revenue performance,” said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World. “ACI proudly recognizes these accomplishments, and we look forward to seeking more effective, efficient and profitable ways of serving the flying public together.” 

ACI has the only global program to survey passengers at the airport on their day of travel. The program enables airports to benchmark against peer airports as well as against their own past performance.

Through ACI’s Airport Service Quality surveys, some 600,000 travelers in 84 countries are asked to rate the airport in which they are surveyed based on 34 key performance indicators.

Survey questions cover everything from airport access to check-in, security screening, restrooms, stores and restaurants.

Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International, emphasized the importance of collaboration among the many businesses and organizations at the airport as the key to strong customer service performance.

“Our vision is ‘providing your best airport experience,’ and that is something we can only achieve with the support of the entire Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport community. It is very gratifying to know our customers recognize the tremendous efforts made each day by so many, and our focus to provide a personal touch in order to exceed travelers’ expectations.”

Spring break brings travelers to MSP -- plan ahead

Spring break time in the Upper Midwest means travelers are bound for sunny destinations, leading to increased passenger traffic at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

Data from the airlines serving MSP indicates that the number of passengers departing from the airport this year will be up 6.5 percent over last, with the heaviest traffic expected this month.

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the airport are geared up for the anticipated increase, travelers can do a few things to help their trips go smoothly.  


 Familiarize yourself with security screening procedures and your airline’s baggage rules– particularly if you are traveling with children or have unique needs. Download this handy Travel Checklist from the TSA. Preparing for your trip at home will improve your airport experience.

Arrive at the airport two hours prior to your flight's departure time. This will allow you enough time to find a parking spot - if you're driving yourself here - get through security and to your departure gate.

Onsite parking will likely be busy. Be sure to check availability here, or consider the Quick Ride Ramp at Terminal 1-Lindbergh. The ramp operates similar to an off-site parking facility, but it's located on airport property and saves you $9 a day over regular credit-card rates at the terminal's attached ramps.

A shuttle that operates 24 hours a day will take you to the terminal directly from your parking space. When you return, simply take the shuttle back to the ramp where you will be dropped off right at your vehicle.

Once through security, you’ll notice we’ve added new amenities, including lactation rooms for nursing mothers and indoor animal relief areas. On the way to your gate, look for our newest shops and restaurants. We’ve added nearly 50 of them in recent months as the airport undergoes a major reboot of all of its concessions.

A few of those additions include a Dunkin Donuts, an iStore, Kiehl’s and local favorites LOLO, Angel Food Bakery and Republic. There are dozens more beyond those options, so keep your eyes open.

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