Kerri Westenberg
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When I arrive at the airport, I check the giant electronic signs above the two main security checkpoints to see which one to choose; the relatively new signs announce how many minutes travelers have to wait in the lines.

Once through security, I like how easily I can grab a lip balm at Kiehl’s, in the MSP Mall (the official name for the row of stores and restaurants inside Terminal 1 at Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport).

Friends have raved about the coal-fired pizza at Black Sheep, also at the MSP Mall. Others get a treat from the Salty Tart food truck in Terminal 1’s Concourse E (next to other beloved newcomers, Holy Land Deli and burger joint Red Cow). Salty Tart’s mastermind, Michelle Gayer, is a James Beard semifinalist this year for outstanding baker (awards to be announced in May), and that is no surprise to anyone who has tasted her chocolate chunk cookies.

All this is merely anecdotal evidence of an uptick in taste and service at MSP.

Now, thoroughly researched proof has arrived.

Airports Council International named MSP the 2017 best airport in North America in its size category, 25 million to 40 million passengers per year. The airport also took top place in 2016. Results are based on surveys of some 600,000 travelers in 84 countries who rate an airport on indicators ranging from security screening to stores and restaurants.

Other North American winners include airports in Ottawa (2-5 million passengers per year), Indianapolis (5-15 million), Tampa (15-25 million) and Toronto (more than 40 million).

MSP shows no sign of easing up. People’s Organic, purveyors of fresh organic fare, will join the food court in October. Local distillery Tattersall is slated to open in July 2019 on Concourse A, one month after Joe and the Juice will start serving fresh squeezed concoctions on Concourse C. For more on MSP, go to startribune.com/msp.

Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.