I’ve been accused of becoming nostalgic a little too easily. (“You’d cry at a parade” is something a certain family member has snarked at me more than once.)
Let me put it this way: if trips down memory lane earned frequent flyer miles, I’d be a multi-trillion miler. I should probably live on a street named after a certain Night Ranger song.
I love reminiscing about past travels. (Well, most of them.) And one place that’s played a major role in my life is the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP).
MSP truly is sentimentally special to me. (There was no way I’d miss the grand opening of Delta’s new Sky Club there!)
For real. An airport gets me in the feels.
I’ll share why MSP owns a place in my heart. Then, I hope you’ll comment about a special airport of yours — and why it’s unique to your life. (Chances are there’s at least one treasured airport if you read this blog.)
Why I Get Misty About MSP
I was six(?) when I took my first flight ever: a Republic Airlines hop from Fargo (FAR) to MSP during the first leg of a big family trip to Laguna Beach, California. That hooked me on California. I moved to the Los Angeles area 18 years later and have been here ever since.
Northwest eventually absorbed Republic. MSP was a major Northwest hub; most of my Fargo travels took me through Minneapolis.
United came to FAR at some point. I flew through Denver and Chicago every so often. But something about MSP and — darkly, Northwest — was always comforting. Delta, of course, eventually merged with Northwest.
I’ve been through MSP countless times for personal or business trips. Each visit generates so many memories — happy, sad, and bittersweet.
- My first trip flying alone when I was maybe 12 or 14 and navigating the airport myself. (Piece of cake!)
- The time my dad brought me to a Northwest WorldClub — my first visit to an airport lounge! (There was no turning back). It’s not there anymore but I’m pretty sure it was on the Green (now D) Concourse near what is now a McDonald’s.
- Flying out to Los Angeles with a then-girlfriend during college spring break — and MSP was crazy packed with college students that Friday night. I bumped into a friend at the Cheers-themed bar.
- In December 2020, my mother was gravely ill. I landed around 5:30 AM after my LAX to MSP flight. This was pre-9/11. A former co-worker (David) from my Radisson Hotel Fargo days graciously met me airside so I’d have someone to spend time with before my mid-morning flight to FAR. (David lived in Minneapolis at that point.) We had breakfast at Chili’s (which is now, I believe, Stone Arch) near the current F/G Delta Sky Club. I still remember that breakfast each time I pass by that area.
My wife, daughter, and I usually connect through MSP at least twice a year when traveling to Fargo or elsewhere. My daughter’s two favorite haunts: the indoor play area near the C Concourse Delta Sky Club and the F/G Sky Club. (Though I think she’ll be a fan of the new G Concourse lounge 🙂 ).
Honestly, it’s not unusual if I get momentarily misty when I go through MSP — especially when I travel alone. I miss my traveling companions!
Oui: There’s One More
An honorable mention is Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). When my wife and I took our first trip to Europe (during a bucket list journey to Bruges, Belgium), de Gaulle is where we originally landed from LAX before connecting to Amsterdam a few hours later. (We’d both been across the Atlantic before — but this was our first time in Europe together.)
I’ve since been back to CDG several times — but without her. Those have been mileage runs and/or trips with friends. (All with her blessing!) But every time I step onto that red carpet and see the arched ceiling, I always think of her.
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) is a sentimentally special place for me. I’ve transited through MSP during each phase of my life. It always feels like home (though I’ve never lived within 200 miles of the Twins Cities) — and probably always will.
Which airport is special to you? Please tell us in the below Comments section — and share why it’s dear to you.
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