Kansas City's Aviation Department is Ready to Welcome Travelers Home to their new World-Class Airport Terminal

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of year for Kansas City International Airport. Kansas Citians and residents from across the region are welcoming friends and family home. For many, this will be their first-time visiting Kansas City's New Terminal at Kansas City International Airport. The Aviation Department is working to ensure touching down at KCI is the start of a heartwarming holiday season, including:
  • Decreased TSA wait times.
  • Cleaner restrooms, walkways.
  • Better signage to help the flow of traffic.
  • Live jazz in the Baggage Claim area to welcome travelers home.
  • A majority of locally owned restaurants and bars to check out on the way in or out of town.
  • Tons of options for travelers needing a last-minute gift for their loved ones.

"I am proud our brand-new Kansas City International Airport Terminal continues to break passenger records and receive positive feedback since its grand opening in February. As we approach the holidays, we are preparing to ensure travelers have a positive, efficient traveling experience through the Kansas City International Airport. Travelers will notice more frequent and thorough deep cleaning of restrooms and walkways and even live jazz music by local artists," said Mayor Lucas. "A busy and active KCI means more jobs and continued local economic growth long-term, and I thank our Aviation Department staff and new Aviation Director Melissa Cooper for working to enhance customer experience and ensuring Kansas Citians and visitors enjoy their time at KCI."

"This new airport terminal is by far the best traveler experience in the entire United States." said City Manager Brian Platt. "We are so thankful to everyone who helped deliver this project under budget and ahead of schedule."

Aviation Director Melissa Cooper, who was appointed less than two weeks ago, is already taking aggressive steps to ensure the highest quality traveler experience and the fastest and most efficient passenger movements, particularly with the Thanksgiving rush expected to begin this Friday.

"The Kansas City Aviation Department, airlines, concessions, and airport stakeholders look forward to sharing the new terminal with our Thanksgiving holiday travelers and strive to make the airport experience outstanding!" said Aviation Director Melissa Cooper.

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Cleaning: More frequent and thorough cleaning routines for the entire terminal began in the month of November in advance of the holiday season, which includes use of new machines, cleaning solutions and materials, and additional staff for thorough cleaning of escalators, elevators, carpets, and moving walkways. Outside the terminal curbs and sidewalks will be power washed regularly.

Arrivals Curb: Aviation added additional traffic control and KCIPD officers during peak travel rush periods. Extra Traffic Control Officers will patrol curbs and crosswalks for key flight arrival peak times. Officers will institute strict illegal parking enforcement and towing illegally parked vehicles will commence if needed. Handouts will be provided to drivers in parked cars waiting improperly to ensure they understand the rules of the curb.

Check In & Departures: Real time adjustments will be made to contracted TSA Security staff to ensure minimal wait times for people passing through security screenings. Aviation will have extra staff on duty to assist passengers in the pre-security area.

Signage: The Aviation Department will be installing improved roadway signage to and from the Cell Phone Waiting Lot. Additional signage will be placed throughout the terminal for departures, arrivals, and in the bag claim. More than 30 additional permanent wayfinding signs have been ordered and will be installed in the coming weeks and months.

Parking Security: Through KCI's parking system there are increased patrols of roving security vehicles. Security guards are being moved from their regular post and strategically positioned to be an extra set of eyes. Additional security cameras are installed to supplement cameras already in place. License plate readers are installed in key locations along with heavier exit booth barricade arms.

Repairs: Terminal staff is aware of repairs which need to be made to the moving walkways and some cosmetic hardware in our bathrooms. The moving walkways are awaiting a part to repair due to a manufacturer defect. Once the parts are in, immediate repairs will be made. The Aviation Department anticipates this will occur prior to the Thanksgiving rush. Some airport bathrooms are experiencing a cosmetic issue with paneling below sinks which is in the process of being replaced with more sustainable and functional option. Redesigned cabinet parts have been installed in most bathrooms.

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Travelers will enjoy live jazz in the terminal on Wednesday, November 22 and Sunday, November 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. in the Baggage Claim area to experience Kansas City's musical heart and legacy.

The new terminal is seeing record levels of travelers with four consecutive million-plus passenger months and the busiest September in the airport's 51-year history. Security wait times are quicker and more efficient thanks to a centralized security checkpoint system with 16 lanes which can be opened and closed to meet passenger demand. TSA wait times vary based on time and day but remain between two to four minutes, which is below goals set by the Aviation Department.

New to the airport are three Customer Service Desks in the terminal staffed by Customer Experience professionals.

Kansas City International Airport is already an award-winning facility:
  • For 2022, Kansas City International Airport is ranked 13th best airport in the nation by the Wall Street Journal.
  • Ranked as one of the 16 best airports in the world by Travel Awaits, as well as for parking garage design and efficiency.
  • It has also been wildly praised by travel experts around the country and world including The Points Guy.
  • Locally, the Kansas City Pitch recognized the airport in their picks for the Best of 2023.
  • The art installation, "Cloud Gazing," by SOFTlab won a Merit award in the Transportation category of the 11th annual CODAawards.
  • The Aviation Department Marketing Division won first place in Radio Advertising from Airports Council International-North America, and recently Public Relations Society of America-KC Gold for Website and Silver for Events.


The 40-gate, $1.5 billion dollar all new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport opened on February 28, 2023, to replace the aging three-terminal complex. The City of Kansas City opened the new terminal on budget and on time with an equitable construction and design process.

The H-shaped terminal features a 6,220-space parking garage, separate roadways for departing and arriving passengers, a large Check-In Hall with all airline ticket counters and multiple security screening lanes, two concourses linked by a connector with moving walkways, 50-plus shops and restaurants, and many other amenities. Nearly 80 percent of the retail shops are local small businesses, 40 in total, ensuring our airport reflects the culture and community of Kansas City.

The airport includes all glass Jet Bridges and is the largest U.S. airport to have them. It also touts all gender-neutral restrooms. Kansas City International Airport has a LEED Gold rating which is the world's most widely used green building rating system. LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social and governance benefits. It is one of the only airports in the nation to hold this certification.

Filed Under: Government, City

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