Employees at Kansas City International Airport are gearing up for the annual end-of-year holiday travel rush with an estimated 488,000 travelers expected to fly December 16 through January 2.
Airport officials suggest that travelers arrive early, at least two hours prior to departure time, more if using long-term parking. To keep things at the terminal curbs running smoothly, KCI Airport Police Traffic Control Officers will strictly enforce parking restrictions, which include no parking or idling on the curb.
The Kansas City Aviation Department expects 488,000 passengers (arriving and departing) in the period from December 16 through January 2. This is a 17 percent increase from the same period last year (adjusted to align days of week). This is 99.7 percent of pre-pandemic levels of service. The busiest days are expected to be December 22, 23, and 30.
On-airport parking lots regularly reach capacity so customers are urged to check FlyKCI.com before leaving for the airport for parking availability. They may also use the nearby Park Air Express valet-style parking off 112th St. and I-29.
During the busy holiday travel season, passengers are encouraged to check FlyKCI.com for flight status and check in online and print out itineraries and boarding passes in advance. Travelers are advised to register with their carrier for electronic flight updates, providing mobile numbers in case of delays or cancellations and allow adequate time for security screening and checking bags.
The Kansas City Aviation Department recommends that travelers arrive at the airport terminals two hours or more prior to departure, and two and one half hours before international flights. If using long-term or off-airport parking arrive there 30 minutes earlier.
A lot has changed at Kansas City International Airport since last Thanksgiving, so travelers should be aware of new roadway patterns to and from the terminals that include roundabouts, and federal requirements to wear masks inside terminals, buses and aircraft.
The latest at Kansas City International Airport…
Airport terminal access traffic pattern
To make way for construction of the $1.5B New Terminal, all terminal vehicular traffic now utilizes a new roadway into and out of the terminals. Vehicles enter and exit each terminal using roundabouts. Motorists first encounter the Terminal C roundabout and then the Terminal B roundabout. Vehicles in the roundabouts have the right of way so traffic and vehicles exiting the terminal must yield to traffic in the roundabouts. Signage directs motorists to their airline in terminals B or C. Motorists are urged to drive slowly, be alert, read signs, and use patience and courtesy. A video demonstrates how to use the roadway.
Economy Parking Lot reconfiguration
To make way for a single New Terminal rather than the three original terminals, Economy Parking for airlines in terminals B and C are now contiguous. The old B lot was closed and Parking for that terminal was relocated. Motorists should follow the signs for their airline and disregard colors and letters on signage. As always, the Blue Bus operates between the lots and terminals.
Cell Phone Waiting Lot
Customers awaiting travelers are reminded that they may park in the relocated Cell Phone Waiting Lot at 680 Brasilia Avenue near the Kansas City Airport Marriott Hotel, using Bern Street to go to and from the lot. They may also park in the Economy Parking Lots free for up to two hours.
Mask mandate lifted
The federal mask mandate was lifted, but health officials recommend that masks be worn in close quarters indoors. Security screeners will ask passengers to lower their masks when showing identification.
REAL ID deadline extended to May 3, 2023
The requirement to present REAL ID-compliant identification in order to travel was extended to May 3, 2023. Information is available on the Department of Homeland Security web site and the Kansas and Missouri department of motor vehicles web sites.
The KCI web site makes travel easier even before passengers arrive at the airport. FlyKCI.com offers real-time flight, parking and weather information (local and destination), flight booking, driving directions and interactive maps. The site also links to airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, TSA, health, and other related sites.
TSA says pack smart. Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in baggage. Know which foods should go into a checked bag. Gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, and preserves should all go into a checked bag, because they are not solids. If you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, then it is not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag. As always, passengers can bring solid foods such as cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints.
Hand sanitizer. TSA is currently allowing travelers to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags. Passengers can expect all containers larger 3.4 ounces will need to be screened separately. Alcohol wipes or anti-bacterial wipes are permitted in carry-on and checked luggage. Check TSA's Web site tsa.gov for a complete list of prohibited items, travel tips and other security information.
In order to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible, TSA has expanded its TSA Pre ✓™ (PreCheck) 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. Kansas City Southwest Airlines travelers note: The security checkpoint to the right of the ticket counter is PreCheck only and the one to the left is for all other travelers, with no special lane for PreCheck.
Parking at the terminal curbs is not allowed and curb use is restricted to active passenger loading and unloading. Traffic Control Officers will strictly enforce the no-parking rules, including asking drivers waiting curbside for passengers to move their vehicles.
There is plenty of on-airport parking available with 22,000 spaces comprising Garage, Circle and Economy lots. Economy parking experiences extremely high volumes during the holidays so please allow 30 minutes or more for a bus to arrive or try another parking option. Check out the nearby Park Air Express valet-style parking off 112th St. and I-29.
Families seeing off or welcoming travelers may park in Garage and Circle lots, or use Curbside Valet in Terminal B for added convenience.
The free Cell Phone Waiting Lot is available for motorists to await arriving passengers. Customers awaiting travelers are reminded that they may park in the relocated Cell Phone Waiting Lot at 680 Brasilia Avenue near the Kansas City Airport Marriott Hotel, using Bern Street to go to and from the lot. They may also park in the Economy Parking Lots free for up to two hours.
Holiday Travel tips
- Check com for real-time flight and terminal information for your flight or anyone you may be meeting or seeing off.
- Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, park and check in, arriving at least two hours prior to departure.
- If you are picking up or dropping off use the Garages and Circle lots or Terminal B Curbside valet. DO NOT park at the curb or your car will be ticketed and towed. Use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot at 680 Brasilia Avenue to await arriving passengers.
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 the TSA site.
- 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: Go to gov or TSA.gov/mobile to check what items are allowed/not allowed in carry-on and checked luggage.
- 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. After May 3, 2023 all IDs must be REAL ID-compliant.
- Be aware
Public awareness is key for supporting TSA’s security efforts; therefore, TSA encourages travelers to remember If You See Something, Say Something. For those traveling abroad, check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go page to learn about required documentation. For further information about TSA procedures, or to provide feedback or voice concerns, please call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673 or send a message via Twitter to @AskTSA.
- Medical conditions: Travelers who have medical conditions or disabilities can visit the TSA site or call the TSA Cares toll-free helpline in advance of their trip at 855-787-2227 to get questions answered about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the checkpoint. It is recommended to call 72 hours in advance of the trip.
- More Travel Tips: Check out TSA’s helpful Traveler Information site for more useful information to help ease the traveling public through security checkpoints or their blog. 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, Facebook and Instagram.