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Long lines of spring breakers clog MSP airport

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Fleeing Minnesota's never-ending winter to somewhere warm?

Lots of people are, and officials with Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are advising travelers to arrive early at the airport prepared to battle winter-weary crowds.

Minnesotans are escaping to warmer climates in big numbers these days – the airport is 20 percent busier this week than usual, KARE 11 says.

Last month, there was a 6 percent increase in travelers compared to the same time last year.

Because the airport is packed full of spring break travelers, security lines are moving slower. Some passengers are waiting hours.

Hannah Bergman, a college student, and her friends left Monday for Phoenix. They got to the airport four hours early, and they needed every minute of it to make a flight, KARE 11 says.

"If you want to make sure you don't miss your flight," MSP spokesperson Patrick Hogan told KARE 11, "give yourself extra time."

How early do travelers really need to get to the airport? It can depend on the day – early mornings and Saturdays usually have the longest wait, while Tuesdays and Wednesdays have the fewest available parking spots, KARE 11 says.

MSP officials recommend getting to the airport 2.5 hours before a domestic flight, just to be safe.

Tracking down a parking spot can be tricky. For the first time in airport history, all six parking ramps at both terminals were full at the beginning of March, the Star Tribune reported.

MSP Airport tweeted last week, too, that parking at Terminal 1 was at capacity.

The airport suggests checking for parking availability before getting to the airport – check out SurePark, which details available parking spots at each terminal. Travelers can also call 1-877-359-7275 for information.

Airports around the country are experiencing similar increases in spring breakers. There is a 20 percent increase in flights into Orlando International Airport due to a spike in spring break travelers – Southwest/AirTran added 63 flights alone, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Flights going into Pheonix this week were at least 97 percent full, AZ Central says.

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