Despite the winter weather, thousands of workers at Kansas City International Airport are ready for the annual winter holiday travel rush. For the smoothest travel experience, airport officials are urging travelers to be prepared and arrive early.
Anticipated passenger volume
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, projects that 44 million passengers nationwide are and will be flying during the 21-day winter holiday travel period. A4A expects the number of passengers traveling from Monday, December 16 through Sunday, January 5 to increase by 2 percent from 2012, and airlines are adding seats to meet growing demand. Planes are expected to be 80-90 percent full on the busiest travel days, which are expected to be Friday, Dec. 20; Friday, Dec. 27; Thursday, Dec. 26; and Friday, Jan. 3, respectively. The lightest travel days are expected to be Wednesday, Dec. 25; Tuesday, Dec. 24; Tuesday, Dec. 31; and Wednesday, Jan. 1. Passenger volumes are expected to range from 1.74 million to 2.31 million per day during this heightened travel season.
Prepare before you fly with flykci.com
It is crucial to check flight status before heading to the airport, especially during times of inclement weather. Flykci.com offers real-time flight, parking and weather information (local and destination), driving directions and KCI maps. The site also links to airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other related sites. Travelers are advised to sign-up with their airline for electronic flight updates (emails/texts), to provide cell phone numbers to be contacted in case of delays or cancellations, and to allow adequate time for security screening and checking bags. The Department recommends that travelers arrive at the airport terminals 90 minutes prior to departure time or two hours before international flights.
Parking options and tips
Parking at the terminal curbs is never allowed and curb use is restricted to active passenger loading and unloading. Traffic Control Officers will strictly enforce no-parking rules, including asking drivers waiting curbside for passengers to move their vehicles. Unattended vehicles will be ticketed and towed away. KCI Economy parking may be used as a ?cell phone lot? to await arriving passengers. Stay in the Economy Lot up to two hours for FREE. Family seeing off or welcoming travelers may park in Garage and Circle lots. The charge is $1.00 for the first 30 minutes.
There is plenty of on-airport parking available with 23,000 spaces within the Garage, Circle and Economy lots. Economy Parking is the least expensive airport parking option at $7.00 per day. A coupon for a free day of Economy parking can be downloaded at flykci.com. For a fourth option, check out KCI?s nearby Park Air Express (PAE) valet parking. PAE offers baggage assistance, free shuttle service and other perks.
Security and screening
Check TSA's website, tsa.gov, for a complete list of prohibited items and all other security information. New this year is that TSA has expanded its TSA Pre ✓? program to additional airports and airlines nationwide. TSA Pre✓? is an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes. TSA Pre✓? operations are available at more than 100 airports nationwide when flying on a participating carrier. Carriers currently offering TSA Pre✓? in Kansas City are Delta and Southwest. United will have it in the near future.
Passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. To alleviate misunderstandings at the security checkpoint, TSA is reminding travelers of the following tips:
? 3-1-1 for liquids: Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less and all bottles must fit in 1 quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening.
? Gifts: While wrapped gifts are allowed, security officers may need to unwrap a gift to resolve an alarm. TSA recommends passengers wrap gifts after their flight or ship them ahead of time to avoid the possibility of having to open them during the screening process. Small snow globes are allowed in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger's plastic 3-1-1 bag.
? Food: Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted, but may require further inspection. If travelers are not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or gel, it is best to pack the item in checked baggage or ship it to a destination in advance. For more detailed information, visit: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-food-or-gifts
? Children 12 and under and adults 75 and older: TSA has modified the screening procedures for children 12 and under and adults 75 and older.
? Check for prohibited items: Travelers can use the ?Can I bring my...? app on www.TSA.gov or www.TSA.gov/mobile to check what items are allowed/not allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. Smartphone users can easily download the ?My TSA? app to quickly find helpful information about TSA policies and procedures.
? Prepare for security: Have a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID and boarding pass out and remove liquids and large electronics, including laptops, from carry-on baggage. Remember to remove shoes, outerwear, and bulky jewelry and empty pockets. Place valuable items in a carry-on bag.
? TSA?s Wounded Warrior Screening program: This program allows expedited screening and curb to gate service for this trusted group of citizens. Wounded warriors or their care coordinators can contact TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with details of the itinerary once flight arrangements are made with the airline. In addition, at airport checkpoints nationwide, U.S. service personnel in uniform with proper identification, whether traveling on official orders or not, are not required to remove their shoes or boots unless they alarm the technology.
? More Travel Tips: Check out TSA?s helpful Traveler Information site for more useful information to help ease the traveling public through security checkpoints. Additional holiday travel tips are available: http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/11/tsa-2013-holiday-travel-tips.html. Airlines for America also has travel tips.
The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general tax fund revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system. Visit flykci.com for more information. Find us on Twitter and Facebook.