Workers at Kansas City International Airport are gearing up for the annual rush of Thanksgiving travelers. The Thanksgiving holiday period is traditionally the busiest time of year for airports nationwide as millions choose to fly due to the shorter holiday travel window. To keep things running smoothly at terminal curbs, KCI Airport Police Traffic Control Officers will strictly enforce no-parking rules. Curb use is restricted to active passenger loading and unloading.
The Air Transport Association, an airline industry trade organization, expects a 4 percent decrease from 2008 in the number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday season, despite deep price discounting over the past several months. The four busiest travel days surrounding Thanksgiving Day this year are expected to be as follows, from most traveled to least traveled: Monday, Nov. 30; Sunday, Nov. 29; Friday, Nov. 20; and Wednesday, Nov. 25. As typical with the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, flights are likely to be full due to the decrease in available seats and discounted prices.
The Kansas City Aviation Department plans to serve more than 180,000 passengers during the Wednesday through Monday holiday rush. The department suggests that travelers arrive at the airport terminals 60-to-90 minutes prior to departure, and two hours for international flights. Travelers also are encouraged to check in online.
The Transportation Security Administration offers one family lane at every checkpoint in the U.S. for people that need extra time to get through security. This may include: families with small children, people with special needs, and those traveling with medically exempt liquids in quantities greater than 3 ounces. Since there are few lanes available at each KCI checkpoint, one lane per checkpoint will be used for this boarding these passengers, but will be used to board other passengers as needed. One must have a boarding pass and valid government photo ID to enter the security checkpoint.
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 no-parking rules, including drivers waiting for passengers.
There is ample on-airport parking available with 23,000 spaces comprising Garage, Circle and Economy lots, with prices ranging from $5.50 to $18 per day. Garage and Circle lots allow 30-minutes of free parking for seeing off or welcoming travelers.
Terminal B Garage is the most utilized, so those parking in either Terminal A or C garages also can take the Red Bus to Terminal B.
A coupon for a free day of Economy parking can be downloaded at flykci.com. Customers also can use the new nearby Park Air Express valet parking. A coupon for two free days of valet parking can be downloaded at flykci.com.
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. Users can even sign up for e-mail or text message flight status updates. The site links to airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, the Transportation Safety Administration and others.
Here are some general tips for traveling through KCI this entire holiday season:
? Check flykci.com for real-time flight and terminal information.
? Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, park and check in. Parking in any of the 23,000 spaces ON-AIRPORT will save a few minutes. The new nearby Park Air Express valet parking also is available.
? Thirty minutes of free Garage or Circle parking is provided for those picking up or dropping off travelers. NO parking at the curb is allowed.
? Passengers who are prepared for security screening before they reach the checkpoint help make the process easier for both themselves and other passengers.
? Remember the following three simple steps to going through security checkpoints:
IDs and boarding passes should be readily available.
Shoes and jackets must be removed.
Laptops and liquids (in plastic bags) should be taken out for visual inspection.
? Follow 3?1?1 for carry-on luggage when bringing non-exempt liquids:
3 ounce bottles or less for all liquids, gels and aerosols;
1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles;
1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.
? The liquid restriction applies only to carry-on bags. Pack larger quantities of liquids, gels and aerosols in checked baggage. Infrequent travelers or individuals not familiar with these rules can place all liquids, gels and aerosols in checked baggage.
? TSA officials recommend passengers do not travel with wrapped packages. In order to determine if a package is a threat, a security officer may need to unwrap and inspect the item. Those traveling with gifts should wrap them after they reach their destinations.
? Pack all coats and jackets in checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
? When in doubt, leave it out. Travelers who are unsure about whether they can bring items through the security checkpoints should put the items in their checked bags or leave them at home.
? Checkpoint mailers are available at security checkpoints for passengers to mail any small items that are prohibited.
? Pack smart. Check the TSA's Web site tsa.gov for a complete list of prohibited items and other security information.
? To ensure safe and healthy holiday travel, passengers are encouraged to follow the following Centers for Disease Control tips when traveling:
Stay home when feeling sick
Get flu vaccines
When sneezing and coughing, cover nose and mouth
Wash hands often.
The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, 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. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/KCIAirport and be our friend on Facebook at facebook.com/KCIAirport.
Media inquiries should be directed to Joe McBride, public information officer for the Aviation Department, (816) 243-3164.