By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After presents were unwrapped Christmas morning, people wrapped their loved ones with hugs outside MSP International Airport.

It marked an end to holiday festivities, or just another step if you’re Phillip Thomas’ family.

“We’re bringing the baby for the first time to meet family over in Thailand and get a little vacation,” he said.

International travel plus his infant child’s first flight is stressful enough.

Luckily they’re departing one day before a winter storm could’ve ruined their plans. Measurable snowfall or heavy rain, or both are destined for the Twin Cities area midweek.

“We have a couple connecting flights. Like you said, if you get delayed at one of them it really kind of creates quite a bit of a mess,” he said. “So we’re very fortunate that it’s today and that there’s really great weather today.”

MSP was rather calm at times, but not for Amanda Stephenson.

Down in the baggage claim area, she just got a surprise gift; a visit from her boyfriend Andrew.

“I’m kind of like in shock right now,” she said with a huge smile. Andrew was just glad his secret was scheduled ahead of the incoming weather.

“(Weather) puts a loop into everyone’s schedule and it definitely isn’t’ something you’d want to have of course,” he said.

On the road where head and tail lights added some holiday spirit, drivers navigated crystal clear pavement — the opposite of what’s expected in the coming days.

“Oh, man. I feel for the people who are doing it and I am glad I am not one of them,” said Jody Hellweg. Her family merely had to drive from Lakeville to Minnetonka and back in order to see relatives on Christmas.

After driving to the Twin Cities from Michigan, the Gayles family expected they’d head back home tomorrow. Relentless snow and rain might change that.

“I mean that was our plan to leave tomorrow night, but if the weather hinder what we need to do we’re just gonna keep it and play it safe. Stay here and play it safe,” said Dionte Gayles. “Because Minnesota weather is nothing to mess with, we know that,” added his wife, Carissa.

Another unpredictable aspect of travel is the line at the security checkpoints at MSP. Around 3:30 p.m. Christmas Day, travelers moved throughout the airport with ease. Nobody seemed to be in much of a rush. An hour later, the line to get through TSA stretched hundreds of feet. Only one of the two security checkpoints was open in Terminal 1.

MSP is reminding people to show up at least two hours before their flight departs.

Jeff Wagner