MSP Newsletter, August 2020

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JetBlue begins service to JFK in New York City


Earlier this month JetBlue began new service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), expanding its existing service at MSP.

JetBlue is flying twice daily between MSP and JFK, the most popular airport serving the New York City metro area, and the nation’s sixth busiest airport by passenger volume.

“The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is thrilled to welcome new competitive service to New York JFK by JetBlue,” said Brian Ryks, the MAC’s CEO and executive director. “JetBlue’s service provides an excellent low-cost, high-quality travel option to New York City, which is one of MSP’s most popular locations demanded by travelers.”

JetBlue is flying A320s on the route equipped with JetBlue’s free Wi-Fi and DirecTV service for all passengers.

JetBlue becomes the second airline serving JFK from MSP, joining Delta Air Lines. The route sees significant passenger demand, averaging 1,400 per day in 2019.

In the spring of 2018, JetBlue started service at MSP with service to Boston. Those flights returned recently following a suspension of service due to COVID-19.

JetBlue’s routes serve the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America. For more information visit

New bag claim device provides glimpse of Terminal 1's future

baggage claim 8

Passengers at MSP can now experience the airport’s first redesigned baggage claim device - carousel #8 - on Terminal 1’s arrivals (baggage claim) level.

Passengers will notice that the upgrades include a variety of nature sounds signaling that bags are about to arrive, including one sequence that mimics the sound of ducks flying overhead and seemingly moving down the length of the carousel.

The new, rectangular carousel features 200 front-facing feet where passengers wait for their bags, and overhead lighting that projects on the ceiling to create a rippling water effect.

The device is the first of 11 new carousels that will eventually help transform the terminal’s arrivals level. Two more baggage claim devices are currently under construction and will enter service this fall.

When complete – compared to the current configuration -- the new baggage claim devices will provide more than 50 percent additional front-facing space on the carousels where passengers retrieve their bags, and 50 percent more square feet of space around the devices.

The new carousels are just a part of the overall effort to improve the “front door” experience at Terminal 1.

“The renovation work on Terminal 1 is making substantial progress, with additional interior space added along the front of the building, new escalators and elevators, and now the new baggage claim devices starting to come online,” said Bridget Rief, vice president of planning, development and environment for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “Passengers are starting to experience the spacious redesign and are able to visualize what the finished space will look like.”

As part of the arrivals level redesign, the numbers on the baggage claim carousels now increase in the same direction as the exterior door numbers, which start with number 1 at the north end of Terminal 1 and increase moving south. Digital screens on the arrivals level guide passengers to the device that will deliver their flight’s bags.

MSP shines with enhanced cleaning process

MSP's commitment to a clean environment for travelers shows up each day in the hundreds of hours workers put in to keep the terminals in top shape.

And, increasingly, those efforts are apparent to anyone walking through the terminals or going through a security checkpoint at MSP.

“We put additional emphasis on cleaning in March when the pandemic started affecting air travel,” said Scott Skramstad, assistant director of operations at Terminal 1. “Now we’ve added fogging of surfaces, and our touchpoint teams focus on high-traffic areas.”

cleaning infographic

One worker is always assigned to each operating security checkpoint, in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. These employees wipe down bins, rollers, and the divestiture tables on both sides of the security scanner, as well as the benches where people sit post-security.

Collectively, the cleaning crews are working 28,000 hours per month – or 933 hours per day – to keep the airport’s 3.2 million square feet clean.

Special touchpoint cleaning teams focus on the surfaces that travelers touch most frequently. But the custodial employees who clean the terminals throughout the day perform touchpoint cleaning as well.

Those touchpoints include surfaces in seating areas, including gateholds on the concourses, and knobs and push buttons in bathrooms.

Escalator handrails are cleaned regularly with specialized equipment. Drinking fountains get extra attention as well.

The electrostatic fogging of surfaces is done in the overnight hours when the disinfectant can have 10 to 15 minutes to dry without being touched.

“We want passengers to feel safe knowing that we’re going that extra mile for their safety,” said Shannon Gale, assistant manager-facilities at Terminal 1.

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Video: Learn how MSP is helping you Travel Confidently

see you soon

From the time you pull into the parking ramps at MSP, to the moment you step onto your plane, your safety is our top priority.

Watch this video to learn what to expect on your next trip through MSP.

Welcome back to flying! 

MSP concessionaires go the distance for safety amidst the pandemic

buff wild

Restaurants and retailers at MSP are adjusting their daily operations and embracing digital strategies to keep customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From digital apps that provide menus, online ordering and payment options, to the presence of hand sanitizer dispensers and Plexiglas shields, MSP’s concessionaires have implemented a variety of safety initiatives since March.

“We’ve seen a broad push by our concessionaires to step up and make meaningful changes that directly improve customer service,” said Jay Noseworthy, manager of Concessions Operations for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP.

Passenger numbers at MSP are about 25 percent of what they were a year ago. But thousands of travelers are still moving through the terminals each day, looking for dining options and retail products as they prepare to board an originating flight, or make a connection between flights.

In March, the Caribou Coffee locations at MSP began utilizing the Caribou Coffee app, which allows guests to order ahead and have their drink or food waiting for them at the pick-up counter when they arrive.

“Going forward I think it’s going to be really beneficial,” said Kerry Forbes, the managing partner of Caribou MSP Airport, which operates the Caribou locations at MSP. The app is the same one that many Caribou customers already use outside the airport. Forbes said she saw an opportunity to implement it in the airport as she began thinking about how to respond to “the new normal.”

The app includes most menu items, and a sign near the back of socially-distanced lines tells customers how to order using the app to speed up the process. “When it’s ready, your coffee will be waiting for you, with your name and the order on it,” Forbes said.

Caribou’s other changes include those in use at many other MSP businesses as well -- social distancing stickers on the floor to guide guests in line, employees wearing masks and gloves, customers swiping their own credit cards, seating or furniture that’s been spread out, hand-sanitizer stations for customers, and Plexiglas shields placed at the registers.

“Our business partners have been making a wide range of game-changing adjustments since March,” Noseworthy said. “It’s all about helping the public and workers feel safe.”

At Chili’s, located on the airport mall at Terminal 1, guests can scan a QR code near the entrance that takes them to the menu and allows them to place an order online for take-out. At airport restaurants, condiments are no longer placed on the tables; instead single-serve packs are delivered by request.

To find restaurants that are open and their hours, visit this website.

AtYourGate now offering retail deliveries for passengers

ayg logo

The AtYourGate app, which provides food and drink delivery service at MSP's Terminal 1, recently started taking orders for retail goods as well.

“This was in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris Hartman, co-founder and chief experience officer of the company that’s now in 10 airports nationally.

Users of the AtYourGate app at MSP can now order goods from the North Loop convenience store, which is centrally located in Terminal 1.

Face masks, phone-charging equipment, neck pillows, pain relievers, soft drinks and snacks are just some of the items available. Guests place an order on the app from their cell phone or digital device, provide their location in the terminal, and minutes later it’s delivered to them by an AtYourGate employee.

Despite the pandemic – or perhaps because of it – AtYourGate is in an expansion mode and aiming to double the number of airports it serves in coming months.

“We believe now is the time to offer those retail products,” Hartman said, “because people may not want to go stand in the store and attempt to social distance. We’re of the mind that while AtYourGate has always been convenient, it’s now become a little more essential.”

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Changes coming soon to the Highway 5 project

around the airport

The reconstruction of Highway 5 in front of Terminal 1 at MSP Airport remains on track, with major changes starting tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 14.

At that time, construction will shift from the eastbound lanes to the westbound lanes, which will remain closed through October.

Highway 5 provides access to Terminal 1, and the westbound lane closures mean drivers approaching the airport from Minneapolis on Hiawatha Avenue or Highway 62 will need to detour to Highway 62 west; south on Highway 77, and then east on Hwy. 5 to Terminal 1.

Visit for the latest updates and maps to guide you through the detours.

The website also lists a number of recent ramp closures, and provides details on the full closure of eastbound I-494 between Highway 5 and I-35E during the next two weekends, Aug. 14-16 and Aug. 21-23. 

The switchover to the westbound road work will also bring changes to the Route 54 Metro Transit bus that serves MSP. Read about the changes at this website by clicking on the last item on the page.

Tell us about your travel plans

Travelers are beginning to take to the air again, and MSP is implementing new strategies to keep everyone -- including travelers and employees -- safe and healthy.

To ensure we’re keeping your concerns top-of-mind, we’re asking travelers for their feedback via a three-minute survey

We want to know your expectations regarding air travel and your comfort level with your next flight. Your input will help guide our next steps. And we're tracking traveler sentiment over time, so if you took the survey earlier, feel free to take it again.

Thank you for your help in making air travel safe and comfortable.

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