As a native Minneapolitan, the signage is indeed confusing. As for the cost, I'd imagine because there are a whole lot of signs on various freeways. The airport is basically circled by them, and if you're signing for one exit to one terminal, you ought to tell people how to get to the other one. Plus, they'd have to make the current signs much bigger to avoid MUTCD issues. MSP has an interesting transportation history. It used to be a speedway back at the turn of the century before becoming an airport. It's a very old airfield. Still, even with the hiawatha line to the airport, if you don't know what terminal you're going to, you're going to be in a world of pain.
Only having been to Minneapolis to change planes, I've not encountered this situation. How much of a hassle would it be for the airlines to print: "Attention: your flight leaves Humphrey (or Lindbergh) terminal" on the traveler's ticket? Here in Southern California, our "Thomas Guide" street maps for LAX show which airlines leave which terminals; unfortunately, airlines can and do change terminals, so unless you get a new map book every year, you could go to the wrong terminal. It's interesting to look at an outdated LAX map and see all the "fallen flags of flight", i.e., airlines that have ceased operation.
Also a native Minnesotan, I have never uttered the words "Lindbergh Terminal". It's always been MSP and HHH. That seems much easier than noting which airlines use each terminal, especially when they move every few months.
I made a similar mistake with light rail, getting off at the wrong terminal.
My mom called me asking if I knew which airline her flight was out of, because she forgot to look it up and the ticket didn't say (stupid ticket). I had no idea. Whenever I go to the airport I take the train, and every train I've ridden has had a poster in the ad space up above with each terminal and a list of airlines that fly out of that terminal. I ever even think about terminals. Freaks out my girlfriend that I don't plan stuff like that farther ahead of time, but she's warming to my way of thinking.
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