KANSAS CITY, Mo., November 24, 2008 ? Bus drivers, Airport Police officers, concessionaires, baggage handlers and thousands of other workers at Kansas City International Airport are getting ready for the annual rush of Thanksgiving travelers. The Thanksgiving holiday period is traditionally the busiest of the year nationwide as millions of people travel in a short window of time.
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), an airline industry trade organization, expects full planes during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday season, despite a 10 percent year-over-year decrease in the number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines. The ATA expects the three busiest travel days to be Sunday, November 30, Monday, December 1, and Wednesday, November 26, respectively. On these days, ATA projects that planes will be, on average, close to 90 percent full.
"We plan to serve more than 175,000 passengers during the Wednesday through Monday holiday rush,? said Justin Meyer, air service development manager for the Kansas City Aviation Department. ?If you are traveling during peak times, plan to arrive at the terminals at least one hour prior to departure, and 90 minutes for international flights. We encourage everyone to check in for their flights on-line and pack a little extra patience for their travels.?
Last week, in advance of the holiday travel season, the Transportation Security Administration implemented its family lane concept at every airport in the U.S., including KCI. The lanes allow families, infrequent travelers and those with medically necessary liquids to go through security at their own pace. Since there are few lanes available at each checkpoint at KCI, one lane per checkpoint will be used for this activity, but not exclusively. Liquid explosives are still a relevant security concern. Restrictions on quantities of liquids, gels and aerosols carried onboard aircraft were implemented in August 2006.
There is plenty of on-airport parking available with 23,000 spaces comprising Garage, Circle and Economy lots. Many holiday travelers use Economy, which is the cheapest airport parking option. There are 15,000 spaces at $5.50 per day, dedicated terminal-specific lots and environmentally friendly natural gas shuttle service. Garage and Circle lots have 30 minutes free parking for seeing off or welcoming family members. A coupon for a fee day of Economy parking can be downloaded at www.flykci.com.
The KCI web site makes travel easier even before passengers reach the airport. www.flykci.com offers real-time flight, parking and weather information, the ability to search for and book airline flights, driving directions, and interactive KCI maps. Users can even sign up for email or text message updates on flights. The site links to airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, Transportation Security Administration and others.
Here are some general tips for traveling through KCI this entire holiday season:
? Check www.flykci.com for real-time flight and terminal information for your flight or anyone you may be meeting or seeing off. You must have a boarding pass and valid government photo ID to enter the security checkpoint.
? Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, park and check in. If you park in any of the 23,000 spaces ON-AIRPORT you will save a few minutes. If you are picking up or dropping off use the free 30 minutes of free garage parking. DO NOT park at the curb.
? Pack smart. Check TSA's Web site www.tsa.gov for a complete list of prohibited items.
? Pack liquids and gels in bags to be checked or prepare your 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag of 3-ounce liquids for carry-on bags before arriving at the airport.
? Pack all your coats and jackets in your checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
? Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap your gift. Please wait until you've reached your final destination to wrap gifts or ship them in advance.
? Film. Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag. You will able to declare film that is faster than 800-speed to a transportation security officer for physical inspection to avoid being X-rayed.
? When in doubt, leave it out. If you're not sure about whether you can bring an item through the checkpoint, put it in your checked bag or leave it at home.
? If you have any small items that are prohibited at the security checkpoint, use Checkpoint Mailers at KCI to mail it to yourself.
? Relax and enjoy the holidays!