Here’s the thing: having a short layover in Minneapolis isn’t necessarily a problem. My personal record for a connection time at the Minneapolis Saint-Paul International Airport (MSP) is 40 minutes. I’m sure there are lots of people who have done it in less time than that.
The problem is that the odd configuration of the terminals at MSP makes it hard to plan for a short layover. Without knowing ahead of time where your arriving and departing gates will be, there’s no telling how short of a layover will be OK.
The following are my personal time estimates (and calming words of advice) for making tight connections in Minneapolis. It’s not all bad news, but you might want to grab a bottle of antacid before reading any further…
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How short is too short of a layover in Minneapolis?
Even though I just told you that I have successfully made a 40 minute layover in Minneapolis once, I will admit that I was totally stressing out over it.
If you’re flying Delta, I would say that anything under 45 minutes is too short of a layover in Minneapolis.
Yes, there’s still a good chance that you’ll make it, but the terminal that Delta operates out of at MSP (Terminal 1 – the Lindbergh Terminal) is massive. It takes quite a while to walk from one end to the other. You’re going to need to hustle if your arriving and departing flights are on the opposite ends.
If you’re flying Sun Country Airlines, Southwest, or Frontier, 40-minute connections are no problem. The terminal that those airlines operate out of (Terminal 2 -the Humphrey Terminal) is much smaller.
What is the minimum layover time for international flights at Minneapolis?
Again, there’s no easy answer here. International flights at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport operate out of both terminals.
Delta and all Delta partner airlines operate out of Terminal 1. Iceland Air operates out of Terminal 2. That being said, let me try to break down some time estimates for specific situations:
Connecting TO an international flight
Plan for at least an hour if you’re connecting to an international flight without having to change terminals. If you need to change terminals, you’re going to need two hours. At least.
Connecting FROM an international flight
If you’re connecting from an international flight to a domestic flight in Minneapolis, plan for a two hour layover if you don’t have to change terminals. If you do have to change terminals, three hours is best since you never know how long it’s going to take to get through the customs and immigration process.
The Minneapolis airport is very much like the Detroit airport in the sense that there are two main terminals, and international flights operate in and out of both. The reason why short layovers in Detroit are sometimes not possible is the exact reason why short layovers in Minneapolis aren’t always possible.
Don’t worry though. I’d venture to guess that 90% of the people making international flight connections in Minneapolis won’t have to change terminals.
- If you’re flying Delta and connecting to or from a KLM, Air France, Air Canada, or Aer Lingus flight, you won’t have to change terminals.
- If you’re flying Southwest, Sun Country, or Frontier and you’re connecting to or from an Iceland Air or Condor flight, you won’t have to change terminals.
The reason why short layovers are sometimes ok in Minneapolis
Have you been reaching for the antacid yet? I don’t mean to write scary things, but the fact of the matter is that short layovers in Minneapolis can be difficult in some situations.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Most of the time, if you’re flying Delta, there’s a pretty good chance that your connecting flight will be just a concourse or two away from your arriving flight.
This is the most common situation that travelers will face at the Minneapolis airport. And in this specific situation, short layovers are easy since it doesn’t take long to walk from one adjacent concourse to another in Terminal 1.
You can also take advantage of the tram that runs between concourses A, B, and C. It’s hard to find though – I didn’t even know it existed until recently.
If you’re flying out of the Humphrey Terminal (Terminal 2), it’s even easier. It’s a smaller satellite building with a laid-back “regional airport” vibe which is very easy to navigate. I’ve walked from one end to the other in 7 minutes (at a brisk walking pace) before gathering content for a Sun Country Airlines review.
A brief overview of the terminal layout at Minneapolis / St Paul International Airport
There are two main terminals at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. The main one (Terminal 1) is the home for Delta Air Lines. It’s one of Delta’s most important hubs – and it’s massive.
The other terminal (Terminal 2) is much smaller and nothing like Terminal 1. It consists of one main building with no separate concourses.
Note that there are several ways to move between Terminals 1 and 2. None of them are all that convenient, but just know that you do have options:
- Take the light rail train (it’s free when moving between the two terminals). This is the train that goes between the Mall of America and Target Field, and it stops at both Terminal 1 and 2. Unfortunately, it’s not as convenient as it sounds since the platforms require a bit of walking to reach.
- Take one of the shuttle busses that run back and forth.
- You could probably also take a taxi, but you’ll run the risk of the driver hating your guts for life (and saying mean things about you on social media) for having to take you such a short distance.
Travel time between all terminals at MSP
As you’ve read so far, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is complicated. If you’re not familiar with the layout, it might seem overwhelmingly massive and not easily walkable. However, once you get familiar with the airport (and how to take advantage of the tram whenever applicable), it doesn’t seem so intimidating. Here are my personal time estimates:
Terminal 1 Concourse A to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 5 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 8 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 15 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 18 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 21 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 10 minutes (via the Skyway connector)
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 20 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 1 Concourse B to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 5 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 3 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 10 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 13 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 16 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 10 minutes (via the Skyway connector)
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 22 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 1 Concourse C to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 8 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 3 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 9 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 10 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 13 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 10 minutes (via the Skyway connector)
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 18 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 1 Concourse D to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 15 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 10 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 9 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 3 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 6 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 9 minutes
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 16 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 1 Concourse E to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 18 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 13 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 10 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 3 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 3 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 6 minutes
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 14 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 1 Concourse F to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 21 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 16 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 13 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 6 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 3 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 3 minutes
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 12 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 1 Concourse G to:
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 10 minutes (via the Skyway connector)
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 19 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 20 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 9 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 6 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 3 minutes
- Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal): 10 minutes (via the light rail train)
Terminal 2 to:
- One end of Terminal 2 to the other: 7 minutes
- Terminal 1 Concourse A: 20 minutes (via the light rail train)
- Terminal 1 Concourse B: 22 minutes (via the light rail train)
- Terminal 1 Concourse C: 18 minutes (via the light rail train)
- Terminal 1 Concourse D: 16 minutes (via the light rail train)
- Terminal 1 Concourse E: 14 minutes (via the light rail train)
- Terminal 1 Concourse F: 12 minutes (via the light rail train)
- Terminal 1 Concourse G: 10 minutes (via the light rail train)
How long of a layover do you need in Minneapolis for a no-stress connection?
For a no stress connection, meaning that I’d have time to stop and get a bite to eat on my way to my connection gate, the time that I would want for a layover varies for each situation:
- For a Delta to Delta (domestic) layover, 2 hours would be perfect.
- For a Delta-to-Delta (or Delta partner airline) international flight, I’d want 3 hours.
- For making domestic connections in the Humphrey Terminal (for example, Sun Country to Sun Country flights) 1.5 hours would be great.
- Coming from a domestic flight and going to an international flight within the Humphrey Terminal, 2 hours is what I would want.
- If I had to switch terminals (going from the Lindbergh to the Humphrey Terminal – or vice versa), I’d want 3 hours since I would have to take a shuttle bus and then re-clear security.
Tips for making really short layovers at Minneapolis
Listing out a series of tips that will guarantee that your short layover in Minneapolis will be ok is difficult. It’s not as easy as telling you that a 1 hour layover is enough time in Chicago. Or that short layovers are always easy in Seattle.
The problem lies squarely on the terminal design. Most of the time, you’ll have no problem making a short connection at MSP. Other times, if you have the misfortune of having to trek the entire length of Terminal 1 (or even change terminals altogether), you’re going to need to hustle to make a connection.
- If possible, fly the same airline. Most problems arise when having to connect to a different airline than the one you flew in on.
- Take advantage of the tram in Terminal 1. It’s a bit hard to find, and most people don’t even know it exists, but it can save you a lot of time if you have to get from concourse A to D as quickly as humanly possible.
- Take advantage of the concourse C/G Skyway connector to quickly move from one side of Terminal 1 to the other. It’s a basically a shortcut that’ll save you from having to walk around the entire loop of T1.
- If your airline changes the schedule on you and gives you an uncomfortably short connection time, it’s within your rights to call them and ask them to change it. Most will do it no questions asked. Oh, and tell them that SANspotter said “hi”.
This was so helpful! I have had the luck of never experiencing a layover, and my first one is at the Minneapolis airport and from the time my plane leaves until the other departs I have an hour. Thankfully they are both terminal 1 and concourses next to each other, but I was very stressed and this made it a little less concerning. Silly question but after you get off of the plane essentially… do you re-clear security or are you free to go find your next flight?
Glad you found this helpful! Having a 1 hour layover as your very first one sounds stressful for sure, but don’t worry – it’ll be easy at MSP. Since you will be arriving and departing in terminal 1, you will not need to re-clear security. Just go directly to your next flight. Have a good trip!
Hi, thanks so much for the information. Only question I still have is how does one find the light rail in terminal one? We’re on a domestic, delta flight with a 39 minute connection and neither have been through this airport before…I’m so freaked out about making the connecting flight I can’t even describe it and I’m a well seasoned traveler!
39 minutes should be OK, even without using the tram that runs up and down the length of terminal C and D. That’s the only inter-terminal tram inside of terminal 1 – but as long as you hustle, you shouldn’t have any difficulty making your connection. Good luck!
I can’t thank you enough for this article! I have about 90min to get from my Delta gate to an Allegiant flight in terminal 2. That (thanks to your article) doesn’t stress me out as much as my return connection, which is 50min.
I read somewhere that I’ll have to go through security again, so that’s what I’m concerned about… given all of this info, does it sound like I’ll have enough time? Thanks again so much for your article!
Hey Abbie – yes, 50 minutes is going to be extremely tight since you will have to change terminals and go through security again. It won’t be impossible, but if the lines are long it’s likely you won’t make it. Good luck!
how long to walk from G19 to G2
It’s about 10 minutes at a normal pace (the moving walkways along the way will help to make it easier). Have a good flight!
It’s so interesting to read perspectives on what is my “local” airport. I haven’t made a connection in MSP since I lived in Duluth in the mid-1990s.
You pretty much nailed it, I’d say. Anyone switching terminals is wise to leave PLENTY of time to get through another round of security if it’s an early morning (before 9:00) flight, when most of the locals fly (often to warm-weather destinations, haha). For some reason, TSA in MSP can be extremely pokey at high-volume times. Lower-volume times, I sail right through. If you’re changing planes in the same terminal, you don’t have to worry about that of course.
If you have a few hours, check out a local restaurant. My wife and I have been known to get to MSP early just to grab a nice dinner. Red Cow, Blue Door, Republic, People’s Organic, and Ike’s are all the “real deal” — local restaurants that are pretty popular at their non-airport locations.
I’m flying to Portland tomorrow for work — at 11:05 a.m. so should be fine with TSA.
Thank you so much for this information. I’m solo travelling for the first time from UK and have a 5.5 hour at MSP layover until my connecting flight (Delta-to-Delta). Will I need to go through security when arriving at MSP and at my final destination in WI or just at my final one? Never had a connecting flight and a little nervous about what to do/where to go!
Yes, you will need to go through passport control, customs, and then security before your connecting flight. 5.5 hours is plenty of time though, so you won’t have to stress about it at all. Have a great trip!
Hi! Thanks for the informative and funny article! I am flying from Wpg to MSP with Delta, and then a 30 min layover to catch my Delta flight to Miami. Same airlines and same terminal (1) but concerned about the 30 layover time. If I run super fast, I can make it? Should I ask Delta to seat me upfront from Wpg to MSP? Thank you!!!
Hey Jas – yes, 30 minutes is definitely possible but it will be tight. You’ll clear US customs and immigration before leaving Canada, so all you’ll have to do once you arrive in Minneapolis is walk (OK, probably run) to your next gate. And yeah, having a seat near the front of your inbound aircraft will save you a lot of time. Good luck!
Thank you for this article. We just flew Delta thru Atlanta and had a nightmare time connecting flights. We ran through the airport to make the connection it was a sight! Question, we are flying Delta thru MSP at the end of the year with a 35 min layover, coming from Miami, traveling international to Seoul (ICN)on Delta too. The issue is my son is in a wheelchair and we need to board early. Do you think this is still doable or should we change our flights?
Hi Iris! A 35 minute domestic to international connection at MSP would be tight enough even without a wheelchair. I would definitely switch to a different flight if I were you. Yes, 35 minutes might be possible, but it’ll be an incredibly stressful experience for everyone involved. Good luck!
Flying home from Fargo to RSW thru MSP 38 min connection time . Looks like my flight will arrive C gate and depart F gate Delta. Any advice not used to such a short connection time.
It’s actually not all that long of a walk between C and F. 38 minutes will be easy as long as your inbound flight is on time (or close to it). Have a good trip!
So my sister and I are traveling internationally for the first time next May. We are flying from different parts of the country and catching our international flight together out of MSP. She is flying Delta from Sacramento with a 36 minute layover in MSP. Is that enough or should she try to get a different one? I’m flying through Atlanta and have learned the terrible lesson that 45 mins isn’t enough because you’ll likely be connecting in a different terminal. Is MSP any comparison to ATL? I’ll have a 2 hour layover myself, but the trip won’t be the same if she misses our flight to London!
Definitely have her change her flight if she can! MSP is a lot less intimidating (and easier to get around) than ATL, but 36 minutes is cutting it way to close for a domestic to International connection IMHO. Even if a miracle happens and she ends up making the flight, the stress of it all won’t be worth it. Have a great trip!
Planning a trip from Charlotte to Seoul (ICN) in November. Planning to book all on Delta with 2.5 hour layover on outbound flight. Coming home, it’s a 1 hour, 35 minutes between flights. On the day before Thanksgiving! What do you think?
Since it’s a connection from one Delta flight to another, I’d say that’s fine. MSP is an airport that (usually) has a smooth customs and immigration process, so you’re not likely to face any major delays. I’d do it!
Hi! I have a flight coming from YYZ to MSP and then have a connecting flight to PHX with a 1.5 hour layover in between. All flights are through delta. I will have a luggage checked. Will this be enough time to clear customs and connect to my next flight?
One and a half hours will be more than enough time. You’ll clear US customs and immigration prior to departing YYZ, so you’ll arrive at MSP just like any other domestic US flight. All Delta gates are connected behind the security checkpoint, so it will be a matter of walking from one flight to the next. Easy!
Awesome! Thanks so much for your help. It’s greatly appreciated!
Delta keeps changing our flights booked for November 19th 2022. Eight of us (4 adults, 4 kids) will be flying from Sacramento to Orlando (Disney World). We originally had a 1 ½ hour layover in MSP, but now it’s been cut down to 45 minutes (gee, thanks Drlta). I’m hoping that’s enough time to make our connection for the Orlando flight (all flights are Delta). I’d change the flights for everyone but it would now cost me about an additional $4000 to do so, so that’s not happening. Hoping our connecting gate is close to our inbound gate. I guess we see.
Hey Joe – yeah, it’s not worth changing the flights. A 45 minute connection will be fine since you’ll be flying Delta the entire way (you won’t have to worry about going through security again to reach your connecting gate). As long as you hustle you should be ok!
Hi Scott. We are flying on DL in December from LHR to ORD via MSP. We have a 4:50 layover. My question is about clearing customs. How long does it normally take? From your post it seems like we will not have to go through security again between flights.
Hi Bob. Yes, you will have to go though passport control, customs, and then security again before your connecting flight to ORD. It usually takes no more than an hour at MSP (sometimes less, sometimes more), but you’ve got nothing to worry about with a 5 hour layover.
Glad I found this. I have a layover from just under two hours arriving with an international flight from Europe transferring to a national. Which means retreiving the bag, customs, immigrations, checking in the bag and trough security again. On a sunday afternoon. Both Delta, so no terminal change necessary. Would you say that is enough time?
2 hours should be plenty. You won’t have a lot of time to spare, but you shouldn’t have any issues at all getting through passport control and customs in that amount of time. Have a good trip!
Thanks for the information – very handy.
I’ll be traveling to Amsterdam from Chicago, with a short layover (1.30 stop in MSP).
Would I have to go through Customs? Since it’s coming from a domestic (ORD) flight before I travel internationally? If so, is that sufficient time?
Hi Sebastian – yes, one hour and 30 minutes will be plenty of time to make your connection at MSP. You didn’t say, but I’ll assume that your entire itinerary (ORD-MSP-AMS) is one ticket, and that you’re flying Delta (and/or KLM). If this is the case, you won’t have to change terminals. There will be no security checks, and you will not have to go through customs prior to getting on your international flight. It’ll just be a matter of walking from one plane to the next. Have a good trip!
Hi Scott, I have a flight from AMS to MSP then MSP to IND. The layover between the international and domestic flight is 1 hour and 19 mins. Both flights on Delta, both in first. I also have TSA pre check. I will have hand luggage only. Do you think this is doable? By-the-way… brilliant website : )
Thanks Claire! Yes, 1 hour and 19 minutes will be tight, but it’s totally doable. Especially since you’ll be in first/business (meaning you’ll be one of the first passengers off the plane). TSA pre check won’t help you get through customs and immigration any faster, but it will speed things up when having to go through security to get back into the terminal. And if it makes you feel any better, I’d be comfortable with this short of a connection. Have a great trip!
Hello I have a flight from Chicago to MSP and MSP to London. and only a 55 min layover. both are from delta airlines, do I have to go through security ? can I make it?
Hi Salma – nope, all you’ll have to do is walk from one plane to the next. All Delta concourses at MSP are connected behind the security checkpoint, so it’ll be a quick and easy layover for you. 55 minutes is plenty of time!
We are flying from Orlando to London with a connecting flight at msp and a 1:06hr layover.
Flying with delta. Do we have to collect our luggage and do we need go through any checks before boarding are flight to London.
Hi Tricia – nope, it’ll be just like a domestic flight. There will be no need to retrieve/recheck luggage and/or go through any additional security checks. All you’ll have to do is walk from one plane to the next (and 1:06 will be plenty of time to do it). Have a great trip!
I live in Minnesota so I am no stranger to MSP but still is helpful for other people!
Thanks Jude! Please feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything, as MSP (and all airports) are constantly changing.
Flying Sun Country airlines from Nashville to MSP. Have a connecting flight with Sun Country from MSP to Reno. 30 minute connection time. Is this enough time to make it to the next gate? Will I need to get my bag and go back through security? Thanks!
Hi Breanna! 30 minutes is going to be really tight, but you’ll make it. Sun Country uses Terminal 2, which is the smaller of the two terminals at MSP (it actually looks and feels like a small regional airport terminal). And nope – you won’t need to collect your checked bag. They’ll transfer it to your next flight automatically. You’ll be fine!
We going to be taking a flight to Seattle in a couple of weeks. On the way there we have a 1 hr and 37 min layover is that enough time to make my 2nd flight? Both flights should be in the same terminal because we are flying on delta.
That’ll be easy Seth! Even if you have to walk to the far end of the airport to reach your connecting gate, you’ll still have a lot of time left over to get a bite to eat (or shop). MSP is a big airport (and Delta dominates most of it), but it’s really easy to move through.
Hi, I have no idea what gate my flights will be. I am flying on Delta from Miami to Minneapolis with a 39 minute layover then, continuing on to Colorado Springs (also on Delta). How can I find out what gates those flights may be at? Is 39 minutes enough time (if on time) to get to all the possible Delta gates? (I’m assuming they will be in the same terminal).
Hi Susan – yes, a 39 minute connection at MSP is totally possible (and easy) if your inbound flight is on time. Chances are you won’t have to walk far to reach your connecting gate, but if you do, there are moving walkways everywhere that will help speed up the process.
Keep an eye on gate assignments using the Delta app. I also like to use the Flighty app (available for both iOS and Android), which sometimes posts gate information earlier than the airline apps do. Note that gate assignments are rarely ever posted anywhere more than 24 hours in advance though.
I have an upcoming international flight to Hualtuco, Mexico with 3 kids 2 under 2.. We are flying Delta. We are leaving from MCI TO MSP with 1 hr 35m layover and then to MSP TO Mexico city with a 2hr 35m layover then to HUX. Does this seem doable to you?
Also, my return flight was changed several times, since booking with Delta – and now We are having to leave a day early, stay in Mexico city overnight because Aeromexico has changed the time of our flight out to where we will miss our connecting flight with Delta back into the states, and there are no other options for other flights that day. Is there anyway that I can get compensation for this/ anything that I can do?
Anxious to hear a reply,
Hi Kylie – sounds like you are going to have your hands full with 3 little ones! An hour and a half at MSP will be easy (even with 3 kids) – you won’t have to go through customs (or even security).
2 and a half hours at Mexico City will be easy as well. You will have to go through customs and immigration in Mexico City, but you’ll have plenty of time.
I’d definitely reach out to Delta any way you can to explain the situation. It’s worth a try – especially since it was their schedule change that screwed everything up for you. Good luck!
Hi! My husband and young son (will be traveling with a gate checked stroller) will be on delta from San to msp and msp to mci. Their layover is 50 minutes. Do you think this is enough time or should I try to rebook their flight? My husband is inexperienced with flying.
Hi Tara – 50 minutes will likely seem tight for an inexperienced traveler (especially one traveling with a small child and a stroller). That said, Delta to Delta domestic connections at MSP are extremely easy. And generally fast!
I’d say he’ll be fine as long as he’s a smart guy who can figure things out on the fly. If not, it might be a good idea to rebook with a longer layover.