I’m in Boston, Massachusetts right now for PAX East because I was invited to be a panel speaker at the convention. On my way here, I took a flight that stopped at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport because a flight with one layover was substantially cheaper than a non-stop from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to Boston Logan International Airport.
This wasn’t my first time in Minneapolis—I was there for X Games Minneapolis 2019 when Tempo Storm’s Apex Legends team competed in the EXP Invitational. To get to the event, I road tripped up with Jordan King from Lincoln, Nebraska, then road tripped back to Lincoln after the event was over. While I was in Minneapolis, I even had an opportunity to explore St. Paul, which was a unique and interesting experience.
One thing I didn’t get to do, though, was see the airport—obviously—seeing as we drove there. So, for the sake of seeing another new airport, I decided that a layover at MSP would be the best choice to keep my travels fresh.
Even the flight up to Minneapolis itself was an interesting experience. I had never flown at such a northward vector at this time of year before, so it was intriguing seeing such harsh and barren terrain when flying over Utah and Colorado.
I also don’t know what else I was expecting, but I was somehow slightly surprised for some reason at how much snow there was.
It was an unusually bumpy ride considering how clear the skies looked, and I nearly spilled my Diet Coca-Cola on my sandwich. The guy sitting next to me didn’t want his fruit or yogurt for some reason, and I was seriously considering asking to confirm if he wasn’t going to eat it so I could have it instead… but then the flight attendant beat me to it and took it away.
As we approached the airport for landing, I realized just how flat and spread out everything was. I imagine this would be a great place to drive a nice, big, lifted pickup truck.
Then came the true fun part. After I landed and deplaned into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, I realized that it was probably one of the most unique and interesting airports I’ve ever been to. The best way for me to describe it is to call it a “lifestyle” airport, in that it was designed more as a casual get-together place than a place to efficiently move humans.
Now, my brain is all about efficiency and optimization, but I do acknowledge that different things can be “superior” for different reasons, depending on what you want to optimize for. If you want to prioritize a pleasant, comfortable, feel-good travel experience, I think MSP nailed it with their design.
The first thing I saw when I deplaned was a massive bar right in the middle of all the gates. I unfortunately didn’t capture a photo of it because I was just so confused at the fact that I had deplaned into a bar instead of a gate, but I did snap a photo later on of some interesting architectural and decorative design choices on one of the lower floors.
My layover in MSP was short so I didn’t get to see much of it (and I had a flight delay, but they were not very communicative of expected wait time, so I just sat at my next gate instead of exploring). But, if I do ever get a chance to pick where my layover is in the future, MSP is definitely going to be at the top of my list. I feel like I could spend a good hour or so just walking around the airport and taking in the sights.