Free Advice on MSP Airport Signage Issue

Okay, I’m going to freak out. If you think people are slow and stupid parking their cars at the MSP Airport ramp or leaving bottles of water in their bags going through airport security, apparently those same mouth breathers are having trouble even finding the right airport.

From the Strib:

Faced with a growing number of complaints from travelers, the Metropolitan Airports Commission is considering a $1 million proposal for new signs on the freeways approaching Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport directing drivers to “Terminal 1” (Lindbergh) or “Terminal 2” (Humphrey). The new signs would also list which airlines fly out of each terminal.


Instead of blowing that much money, I have two options, and I’ll detail them:

  1. FREE: Leave the signs the way they are. When you purchase a ticket, it tells you which terminal your flight leaves from. When you check-in or look up your flight online, it tells you which terminal your flight leaves from. It’s called personal responsibility and accountability. I realize those attributes aren’t getting a lot of praise from civic and national leaders these days, but c’mon people.
  2. Couple Hundred Bucks: Either create a small (1) or (2) sign that is simply applied to the existing signs. Will this look a bit patchwork? Maybe. But I know for a fact nobody has an extra $1 million lying around to help clueless people find their terminals.

And here’s one more piece of brilliant brain food: No matter what, won’t the airline carriers have to update their tickets to say if you’re in Terminal 1 or Terminal 2? You’ll still have the same problem of people not knowing if they should follow 1 or 2.

p.s. I used a cool little Java applet called SignMaker to make the graphic.

5 Comments so far

  1. David (jacc) on June 3rd, 2009 @ 10:18 am

    This is a giant waste of money and yet another reason to hate on the MAC.

    How about making an existing internal linking road public?

    Hasn’t the MAC been paying attention to #mnleg? They’ll need a lot more than a million dollars to fix stupidity.

  2. okeefew on June 3rd, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

    While changing the names to numbers strikes me as being a useless change and more than likely would only prove to confuse more residents as well as guests. It is not unreasonable to ask that there be considerably more signs listing the airlines that fly out of both terminals. You can chalk it up to people not taking responsibility, but this would be a positive for the community and for visitors and wouldn’t have to be really expensive.

  3. greg on June 3rd, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

    @okeefee I did a bunch of googling and didn’t turn up how much it costs to create signs. Do inmates still make interstate signs and license plates? Surely they could crank out a Delta/Southwest/American/United sign for a couple hundred bucks, right? Another couple hundred for the steel poles and city workers to hang them?

  4. tipper on June 4th, 2009 @ 10:50 am

    It seems to me that it’s not the terminal names that are the issue, but the whole "who flies out of where?" issue. I agree that signs listing the airlines that fly out of each terminal would be a good idea, but no need to go as far as changing the terminal names.

    I don’t blame people for being confused, though. Sometimes I can’t keep them straight, and it’s really easy to get turned around in the mess of roads over there.

  5. metblogger on June 10th, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

    Well, first, I don’t think you need a hostile tone or foul language to discuss this issue. Air travel is a stressful and confusing experience, especially for casual fliers, first time fliers, and out-of-towners. Talking about "stupid" "mouth breathers" is not necessary and is really unfair.

    Second, as other commenters have said, there really is a real issue about knowing which terminal your airline is at. This is especially complicated by the fact that more and more airlines are using Humphrey. Once upon a time, it was just a charter flight terminal in an old warehouse. Now it’s a real terminal planned to host the majority of the airlines that serve the Twin Cities, but not the majority of flights.

    Third, the main thrust of the proposal isn’t just to add terminal numbers. It’s to add the names of airlines. Your sticker plan wouldn’t do that.

    Fourth, you seriously underestimate the cost of creating and installing huge highway signs. The cost of steel alone is enormous, and installation requires heavy equipment. They also need to be engineered to meet highway safety standards.

    Fifth, the $1 million the proposal would cost is not your money. It’s not the taxpayer’s money. It’s money raised from airport operations and user fees.

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