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January 02, 2009

Time to update KCI

Siding with a long-range airport plan, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to bow to modernity and start over again at KCI, with one major terminal instead of three.

For years after KCI opened, I loved going there, walking on the polished parquet floors (long gone) and enjoying the ease of access. Plus, the terminals were new and relatively appealing visually.

But over the years, things have changed. In recent visits to the airport, I’ve found a dark and gloomy place with not an inkling of energy or excitement. Yes, the terminals are still convenient, but I think the funereal atmosphere and the lack of light and amenities, including food options, have cast the die.

Kansas City has become a more dynamic, more competitive city, thanks largely to the Sprint Center and the Power & Light District. Now we need an airport that parallels our overall resurgence.

For comparison, just look at the nearby St. Louis, Louisville and Chicago Midway airports. All are miles ahead of KCI on almost every level, and they generate the excitement that should attend most travel experiences.

Bring on the dozers. The three-terminal era is done.

Jim Fitzpatrick
Kansas City

Comments

solomon

whispering,

Midway was always the best bar that you'd leave by airplane.

Eric T. Simon

It seems to me that the issues identified by Mr. Fitzpatrick could be addressed with something less than complete demolition of the current terminal buildings.

Those that are pushing a single terminal design hope that people from Kansas City have never been to LAX (Los Angeles International) Airport, because it has EXACTLY THE SAME MULTI-TERMINAL DESIGN, except on a larger scale. In all respects, the existing KCI is much nicer than LAX.

Those that are pushing a single-terminal design should be honest about their motivation - they want for the vendors to be able to sell to all gates from a single, consolidated area. For this, they are willing to destroy the best medium-sized airport in the United States.

While the current KCI may not be perfect, we should remember all the benefits that it does have:

1) short walk to ticket counter
2) short security lines
3) short walk to gates
4) short walk to luggage carousels
5) short walk to the curb for pick-up
6) short walk to the rental car/hotel courtesy buses

About the only thing I would add to the current airport terminals is light rail service, going from the airport to Union Station, Bartle Hall, the Power and Light District, and Leawood.

whispering_to_kc

The only "excitement" generated on my trips through Lambert were the sprints on arrival to meet connecting flights.

The excitement was in imagining myself as OJ in his TV commercials of 20-30 years ago, as I raced through the airport just as he did.

I can comfortably run a mile in eight minutes so I could easily tell as I left the first gate if I would get to the second gate in time for its leaving. Since the connecting gate at Lambert is always 1-mile away, I always knew I could make the second flight if I still had eight minutes before its departure.

The excitement of flying into Chicago Midway always centered on its short runways (best experienced in snowy/wet weather) and the dips down into surrounding neighborhoods on approach. I always tried to look into Joe Kowalski's living room and catch a glimpse of the evening news on Joe's TV as we passed in front of his home.

KCI/MCI is fine. It's still one of the best in the world. Unless, of course, you're a souvenir salesman looking for better customer traffic or a builder of mega-airport facilities looking for some new work.

Leave KCI the way it is and buy your BBQ sauce at the grocery store like everybody else does.

solomon

TRACEE,

I flew in and out of Kentucky(cincy) numerous times. What a hell-hole. Buses, trams and shopping experiences. All they need to complete it is the Plaza lights.

Art Chick

KCI is by far the most convenient airport I have EVER used. It is easy to understand, Quick to approach, and just a few steps to your gate.
Ever been to Cincinnatti? Where you walk from your plane about 3 miles,*be sure to read the signs or you're gonna be lost* then have to get on a subway and ride to another location, where you get on a bus to go get your dam luggage. THEN, you get to reverse the process to get to your car, and if you're lucky, it only takes a few hours.
KCI is fine the way it is.

Concentrate on the city itself, and leave the convenient design ALONE!!

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Leave it as it is. Anyone who goes to the airport to shop or entertain themselves has bigger problmes than MCI. Sol is right. Try on PHX or DIA for size, nice airports however it gets taxing traveling through them. Sure you can get an $8 beer or cheeseburger, so what. So long as you are not getting laid over for extensive time at MCI, it is an efficient airport. We need nomore tax burden at this juncture and we certainly do not need to back up our airport traffic with new construction.

Doofuss13

The so called expert consultants recommended that a one terminal design be adopted to help insure safety and reduce cost associated with screening. If safety of people is really the concern - logically to spread them apart will reduce the possibility of large scale event. The true motivating factor for redesign is MONEY!!
They want the travelers obligated to spend while (enjoying) the airport experience.
The vendors contract with the city for rights to operate at the airport and cannot realize the profits they desire. They claim volume is not available. This city has spent an enormous amount of money upgrading the terminals and parking areas already!
The volume of flights has decreased recently
and perhaps will again, the conservative spending wave currently underway, could allow the consolidation of gate leases and cost reduction realized by temporarily shuttering one of the Terminals. the highly paid so called experts found just what they were paid and directed to find - a taxpayer funded money trough.

solomon

Now, I have heard the Mayors wife doesn't like it....


Off thread but great take....


KCPTs year in review with Nick Haynes.....

An out take they ended the show with.....The Mayor and his wife sitting at the set, her hair looking like it had just had a fist grasping it, saying to him"this is the ugliest set", he says "Huh?"...she repeats, "this is the ugliest set".....he responds...."It Public TV honey"

Set your dvr for the replay Sunday morning. Talk about a classic.

mianotkia

KCI is far mor convenient than all the airports I have been to.....if you want to shop Jim, go to the Mall.

solomon

Something about convenience bothers this guy. Anyone who says flying into NY, Cincy or Denver or anywhere else on the planet is just a nut. Whats wrong, not enough Mall type activity. What other airport can you catch a City bus for $1.25 from the airport and get anywhere city buses travel? For the same $1.25 you can get from anywhere in the city to the airport. Try that at your average airport

You want excitement, move to one of the cities with "smancy" airports. Me, I just want to catch my plane or arrive without hassle or trams.

JayhawkinMO

Sorry, Jim, but convenience will trump your desire for a destination resort for a long time. Show me the money!! KC has far more pressing problems with infrastructure than worrying about a new airport.

tornail

ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I HAVE FLOWN INTO MIDWAY AND STL MANY TIMES AND WOULD NOT TRADE ALL THE AMENITIES FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF KCI. I CAN BE DROPPED OFF AT THE TERMINAL OF MY CHOICE, AND BE RIGHT AT THE BOARDING GATE
WITH JUST A FEW STEPS. AT MDWY FOR EXAMPLE
I MUST ARRIVE AT A MUCH EARLIER TIME TO CHECK IN THROUGH SECURITY AND WALK MUCH MUCH
FARTHER TO MY GATE. TRAVELING A LOT I HAVE HAD PEOPLE MENTION MANY TIMES THE EASE AND SPEED OF BOARDING AT KCI. AT DALLAS YOU MUST SPACE ANY ARRIVING FLIGHT AND CONNECTING FLIGHT FAR ENOUGH APART TO ACCOUNT FOR THE LARGE AREA TO BE COVERED
FROM ONE GATE TO ANOTHER ALL UNDER ONE TERMINAL. EVEN WITH THREE TERMINALS THIS IS NOT AS MUCH OF A PROBLEM AT KCI WITH THE CONNECTING BUS SERVICE

 
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