Workers at Kansas City International Airport are gearing up for the annual Thanksgiving holiday travel rush. 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.
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, projects that 27.3 million passengers will fly during the Thanksgiving travel period. A4A expects the number of passengers traveling from Friday, November 18 through Tuesday, November 29 to increase by 2.5 percent from 2015, and airlines are adding seats to meet growing demand. Daily passenger volumes will range from 1.5 million to 2.8 million, with the busiest travel days in ranked order expected to be Sunday, November 27; Monday, November 28; and Wednesday, November 23. The lightest travel day is expected to be Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24.
The Kansas City Aviation Department expects to serve more than 424,000 passengers on 3,630 flights (arriving and departing) at KCI Airport during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday period. Nearly 39,000 passengers are expected to use the airport on 353 flights (arriving and departing) on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the peak day. Due to larger aircraft and additional flights, the Aviation Department is expecting a 10.5 percent increase in passengers from the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday period. New this year are new or additional nonstop flights to destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, San Antonio, Toronto, Portland and New York. Airlines at KCI are operating larger aircraft, up from 121 last year to 130 seats per departure for Thanksgiving 2016.
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 at home. 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 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.
The US Department of State issued a worldwide travel alert, but this is mainly for US citizens traveling overseas. However, the information therein can be useful for all US citizens, both in the United States and abroad. KCI Airport police, TSA, the airlines and others are always vigilant and on the job to keep travelers and airport visitors safe. They maintain a robust layered approach to security that is in place every day of the year. Some of these layers are obvious to the passenger, others are not. Just as in all public places, citizens should always be aware of their surroundings and report anything out of the ordinary. The TSA likes to say, “If you see something, say something.”
Check TSA's Web site tsa.gov for a complete list of prohibited items 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 nationwidewhen flying on a participating carrier. Carriers currently offering TSA Pre✓™ in Kansas City are Delta and Southwest. Others coming soon.
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 23,000 spaces comprising 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. Check out the new nearby Park Air Express valet parking. Families seeing off or welcoming travelers may park in Garage and Circle lots, or use Curbside Valet in Terminal B for added convenience.
New this year is a closer-in free cell phone waiting lot for motorists to await arriving passengers. The lot is centrally located by the air traffic control tower.
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 23,000 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.
Check for prohibited items: Travelers can use the “Can I bring my...” app on TSA.gov or 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.
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.
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.
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.