For Minneapolis-St. Paul airport visitors, the journey has become a (shopping) destination

“Over the river and through the Mall to grandmother’s house we go” is now being hummed by air passengers in the expanded retail environment in the Lindbergh Terminal at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

MSP launched its annual holiday shopping specials earlier than ever, with an online and printed coupon book good at many of the 135 retail shops in the airport.

The “Airport Mall” has become an important revenue source for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates the airport, according to spokesperson Emberly Hermann.

It’s equally important to provide enhanced services for travelers spending anywhere from two to six hours at the airport waiting for connecting flights, she added. In addition to shopping, the airport is planning its annual holiday music program. Urging harried travelers to “take some time to relax to the soothing sounds of the season before your flight.”

Pittsburgh began the “Airport Mall” concept several years ago, and other airports have been quick to follow, watching Pittsburgh’s “off the charts” retail performance, Hermann said. MSP has added about 20 additional retail shops and kiosks, starting in 2005.

The “Jingle, Jingle Savings Days” coupon book, available online and at directory kiosks and information booths at MSP Airport, includes more than 80 coupons offering savings on clothing and accessories, jewelry, kids’ items, tech gear, books and dining within the terminal.

Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas are some of the heaviest travel times of the year at MSP, although November and December overall are in the bottom half of the year for monthly passenger counts. Passenger traffic has been down overall this year roughly 5 percent compared with last year, Hermann said in an email.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 11/11/2009 - 10:46 am.

    I remember hearing about ten years ago that people would go to the airport just for shopping. No idea if it was true. Of course, that was before 9/11, when security restrictions wouldn’t have prevented it.

  2. Submitted by Judith Mollerus on 11/11/2009 - 05:23 pm.

    I think you mean the Lindbergh terminal, not the Humphrey. 80 stores in Humphrey would be a huge story any time of year!

  3. Submitted by Don Effenberger on 11/12/2009 - 08:15 am.

    Re: #2. You’re certainly right — it’s Lindbergh. We’ve fixed our goof. Thanks.

  4. Submitted by Jim Spensley on 11/19/2009 - 08:16 am.

    Yes, business is good for shops and eateries with their captive audience inside security perimeters. One cafe is newly opened on the outside of security, a place for locals to wait for delayed arriving passengers.

    Yes, the commission makes money and the sales taxes are paid. But the revenue is basically spent writing down gate leases for Delta/NWA and improving/adding facilities inside the terminals.

    Overall, it would be a good economic sign for Minnesota and the Metro if local passengers were as catered to as connecting passengers.

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