Employees at Kansas City International Airport are gearing up for the annual Thanksgiving holiday travel rush that could reach more than 400,000 travelers. With roadway construction ongoing related to the New Terminal, airport officials suggest that travelers are prepared and arrive early. To keep things at the terminal curbs running smoothly, KCI Airport Police Traffic Control Officers will strictly enforce parking restrictions.
Work is underway on the $1.5B New Terminal, Dubbed Build KCI. The project will replace the aging three-terminal complex and will be built on the former site of Terminal A. The construction of the New Terminal and its garage necessitates some shifts in traffic patterns to and from terminals B and C. Work is being done in phases to establish these changes. Airport users are urged to allow extra time, slow down and be mindful to changing traffic patterns. The speed limit on Cookingham Drive is reduced to 40 mph, transitioning to 20 mph going into the terminals where there is one lane of traffic. Terminal B users should stay right and terminal C users should stay left.
The “Return to Terminals” loop road off International Circle by the FAA air traffic control tower was permanently closed. Signs direct drivers to the Return to Terminals detour.
Customers awaiting travelers are reminded that they may park in the Cell Phone Lot in the center of the terminal complex by the FAA tower. They may also park in the Economy Parking Lots free for up to one hour.
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, projects that 31.6 million passengers will fly during the Thanksgiving travel period. U.S. airlines will carry an average of 2.63 million per day over the 12-day forecast period. A4A expects the number of passengers traveling from Friday, November 22 through Tuesday, December 3 to increase 3.7 percent from 2018. Daily passenger volumes will range from 1.8 million on Thanksgiving Day to 3.1 million on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. The busiest travel days in ranked order expected to be Sunday, December 1, Wednesday, November 27, and Friday, November 22. The lightest travel day is expected to be Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28.
During the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period the Kansas City Aviation Department expects to serve more than 400,000 passengers on 3,440 flights. Daily passenger volumes are expected to range from 24,000 on 179 flights (arriving and departing) on Thanksgiving Day to 43,000 passengers on 332 flights on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the peak day.
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 cell phone numbers in case of delays or cancellations and allow adequate time for security screening and checking bags.
The Department recommends that travelers arrive at the airport terminals 90 minutes or more prior to departure, two hours before international flights.
The KCI web site makes travel easier even before passengers reach the airport. Flykci.com offers real-time flight, parking and weather information (local and destination), flight booking, driving directions and interactive KCI maps. The site also links to airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, TSA and other related sites.
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 ✓™ 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.
REAL ID – Deadline October 1, 2020
Additionally, this time NEXT year passengers will be required to present REAL ID-compliant identification in order to travel. The REAL ID Act was passed by federal lawmakers in 2005 to enact the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation for a “set standard for the issuance of sources of identification.” This established a minimum security standard for state-issued driver’s licenses. Without REAL ID, a Global Entry card, Passport, or other eligible federal identification, travelers will not be able to board aircraft after October 1, 2020. All citizens are urged to be proactive and go to their state license office with required identification to obtain a new REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or state identification. Information here is available on the Department of Homeland Security web site DHS.gov and the Kansas and Missouri department of motor vehicles web sites.
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 is the least expensive airport parking option at $7.50 per day. A coupon for a free day of Economy parking can be downloaded at flykci.com. Check out the nearby Park Air Express parking. 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 Lot is available for motorists to await arriving passengers. The lot is centrally located by the air traffic control tower, and it’s a good alternative to circling.
Holiday Travel tips
- Check flykci.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 90 minutes prior to departure. If you park in any of the 22,000 spaces on-airport you will save a few minutes. If desiring to park off-airport check out the nearby Park Air Express.
- If you are picking up or dropping off use 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 Lot” by the air traffic control tower 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 TSA.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. Note: After October 1, 2020 all IDs must be REAL ID.
- 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.