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Connect through Detroit or Minneapolis?

I have been looking at flights for my Paris and Heart of France tour. I am flying out of Tampa. The flights for Comfort Premium Select are quite a bit less if I connect through Detroit or Minneapolis versus Atlanta (my usual connection airport). I fly Delta. Has anyone connected through either Detroit or Minneapolis and, if so, which do you like better? I am looking for whichever one would be the easiest to connect from a domestic flight to an international flight and vice versa if I decide to come back the same way.

Posted by
375 posts

We have connected to Europe through Detroit a couple of times with no problems. I found it easy to navigate with decent amenities. My hesitation is usually because there are only 2-3 flights per day from my home airport to Detroit so if something happens to our originating flight (late, canceled) I miss my connection until the next day. Whereas I can get to Atlanta for a connection almost every two hours all day.
Never connected through Minneapolis but the times I’ve flown in and out for business I remember the layout being confusing.

Posted by
9718 posts

I've connected thru MSP for both domestic and International a number of times pre-Covid. I find it big and it takes some time to get thru so be cautious on connection times. In the past Delta offered a connection time of less than 1.5 hours for International to Domestic which makes me nervous so make sure to accept only a connection that will work for you.

I love Delta and it's my preferred airline however, like all airlines their schedule has been topsy-turvy in the last few months. I booked Spokane->MSP->CDG in July for a late Sept trip. By the next day they had rerouted me (better for me and not available when I first booked) then completely cancelled my return flight with no notification. Fortunately 2 friends were looking at similar flights and saw changes so I had been checking closely. After I got rebooked I started checking my flights once a week to make sure there were no big changes without my noticing.

So....whatever flight you book, set up a reminder in your calendar to check weekly on your flight itinerary.

I hope you will be able to go in to Paris a day or two or more early! This is a wonderful tour but there is so much to see in Paris!

Posted by
1075 posts

I also fly Delta. I have connected through MSP both for domestic and international flights. There was a good amount of walking involved, but I did not find it difficult. I have not connected through Detroit, but will be doing so on the way home from Paris in September (Covid willing).

Posted by
3210 posts

If any of the options involves an Air France flight across the Atlantic, choose that one.

Posted by
87 posts

Badger, why do you recommend Air France?

Posted by
5866 posts

Have been through both many times. Detroit is easier to navigate, just two long terminals, Minneapolis has a number of spurs you have to get to, especially a long walk if you fly in on a Regional size jet.

Coming back, Detroit is also nice, Delta basically "owns" the terminal, with other airlines flying out of a separate facility entirely. So coming back, you are only hitting immigration with the few Delta flights coming in, and they use the self serve kiosks for all passengers, I usually get through in no time at all.

However, I would not go out of my way to use Detroit, it still comes down to cost and schedule.

Posted by
87 posts

To Paul: it seems counter-intuitive to me to fly from Tampa to Detroit that's why I have connected through Atlanta in the past I have not heard anything good about the New York area airports and have been through Boston once, but only on domestic so I don't know how it would be connecting to an international flight. I had heard customs in Detroit was a breeze so that is a strong selling point for me. The only reason Detroit and Minneapolis peaked my interest was because the flights were so much cheaper. Anyone have any insight as to why that might be?

Posted by
40 posts

I'm guessing that flights on Delta thru MSP or DET are cheaper because they are both Delta hubs (like ATL), but are both less busy than ATL. Maybe Delta is trying to attract passengers to those flights (and away from ATL) with lower fares.

I have not flown internationally to/from those airports, but have made connections on lots of domestic flights at both. MSP is HUGE. You do NOT want a tight connection. Some domestic gates are literally over a mile apart, which is no fun on a tight connection. I would allow at least 1.5 hours in MSP, especially if there may be weather issues (winter snow; summer t-storms) that could add a delay.

DET is a bit smaller, but even then I would allow an hour between flights.

You might check FlightAware or similar site for which gates are used for similar flights currently. That might help you judge how far you'd have to go within each terminal.

Happy travels!

Posted by
3210 posts

Lori: In general, European airlines have better service than US airlines.

Posted by
4262 posts

I personally prefer a "true" DELTA flight over a codeshare with AirFrance. The DELTA planes were nicer and the service is so much better as are the snack/beverage options.

You don't say time of year. Honestly, in Minnesota, we handle our snow so well that our airport doesn't close as much as you'd think. But, there are typically a couple times a year. Yet, if a storm affects Minneapolis it could also affect Detroit, so weather isn't that much of a consideration.

I actually thought Detroit was confusing with a lot of walking, but that was quite a while ago. I find Minneapolis quite easy to navigate, if you look at a terminal map prior to landing, you should be good. I wouldn't worry that much about connecting time, it's not that spread out and there are no trains/shuttles needed to get to other concourses. There are moving walkways, and two of the concourses have a "short cut" between the two.

I have been using Seattle a lot lately. That airport is REALLY spread out. I'll take Minneapolis any time.

Minneapolis is considered one of the top airports in terms of shops and restaurants/bars

Posted by
1122 posts

The flights for Comfort Premium Select are quite a bit less if I connect through Detroit or Minneapolis versus Atlanta (my usual connection airport).

I don't know what day you are flying, but in picking a random day in May 2022, I found that if you fly from Orlando direct (non-stop) to London it is $220 cheaper instead of a connection to Paris on Delta, both Premium Economy. You can get a one way Eurostar ticket for about $100 from London to Paris.

I would avoid a connection if at all possible when the prices are about equal.

Posted by
3210 posts

Orlando to Heathrow to St. Pancras to Paris is still a connection or two. A much better alternative to that option is to fly to Frankfurt, where the airport has a railway station with plenty of one stop options to Paris, and there is no extra customs/immigration involved.

Posted by
3030 posts

I fly frequently to Europe on Delta -- usually through Atlanta, but I have also flown through Detroit (DTW) and JFK. I have flown domestically through Minneapolis (MSP) several times. I'm with Paul... DTW is much more intuitive to navigate than MSP because it is just two long terminals. I don't find JFK to be that bad and have flown through there several times to Europe on 2 tickets because of price.

And Stacy is right... Delta uses price to push customers through DTW and MSP because it's harder to fill the planes there than the ones in Atlanta (though the A350 flights often have less of a discount than other plane types).

Posted by
427 posts

Detroit and Minneapolis are often ranked highly and quite comparable. Just an example from 2 years ago:

Detroit's relatively new McNamara terminal routinely receives great reviews. It's large but easy to navigate because of it's wise design. I should add though that I'm a longtime resident of metro Detroit and until several years ago a frequent traveler representing one of the major automotive manufacturers. I will say that I preferred McNamara to nearly every other terminal I frequented. However, I would not say that going through customs has always been that pleasant or fast. Detroit's auto industry business needs/sites and labor pool are global. There are often many large concurrent incoming Delta flights resulting in long waits. There is a very long, long walk involved as well. I've had my items taken from me for additional scanning which was so careless that some were crushed. I don't think my experiences at customs in DTW were that much better than those I have had at other airports.

My Premium Select flights out of Detroit on the A350 are not priced any lower than other airports.

Many people aren't aware that the auto industry in metro Detroit still creates a huge number of international flights at DTW. It was one of 11 airports cleared to receive U.S. citizens arriving from the 26 countries included in the coronavirus travel ban but MSP was not one of them. That might be a consideration due to the new variant.

Posted by
8406 posts

You probably know this already, but Comfort and Premium Select are two different categories. You may be comparing apples and oranges rather than intermediary airports. Comfort is the economy cabin with a few more inches of legroom and recline. Premium Select is an upgraded cabin class. Similar to domestic first class seats, priority this and that, more checked bags ( not needed for a RS tour), different meal, etc. You have to look at each itinerary to see if what you are being offered for the price is Comfort or Premium Select and to see which airline is actually flying the route.

Flying the US-France route a few times a year, I chose by shortest time, airplane make (Airbus preferred), and seat configuration or availability. I notice little difference in quality between Air France and Delta. AF is flying many more of the transatlantic planes at this time.
MSP is backtracking a few hours, even if they then fly over the Pole. I go through there only if I'm on a free ticket. Lots of shopping, though.
We like Boston; you can have a meal at Legal Seafood in the terminal.
DTW is a nice airport, the one we use the most.

Posted by
11253 posts

Earlier this year I had to connect through MSP six tines in six weeks and all with Delta. All were domestic flights. I did see where the intetnational flights depart.

If you arrive in the regional aircraft area. It will seem like you will be walking halfway to Paris. It's a nice airport but the Delta terminals are massive.

Posted by
6642 posts

I like Minneapolis, because I can fly (so far) to MSP on a full-size plane on Delta, instead of a small regional jet, therefore, keeping my carryon with me. Coming back from abroad through MSP has been a breeze because its not been crowded with multiple international flights disembarking at the same time, as happens in Atlanta or Chicago.