Kansas City Airport’s new terminal is a mess to pick up passengers. Can it be repaired? | KCUR 89.3

Two weeks after the opening of the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport, passenger handling continues to be an issue. Drivers picking up people at the terminal have complained about queues that stretch all the way to the freeway, due to people parking in the pick-up lanes.

The new terminal has four lanes in the arrivals area – the two closest to the curb serve as pick-up lines. Queues can be worse at the end of the day, with more arrivals and fewer departures.

Patty Barstow described it as “a total nightmare” on Friday. She came from Grandview to pick up a passenger from Phoenix.

“The old airport had a lot more room, I waited about 15, 20 minutes,” she said.

She said her wait in the pickup line was due to the lack of cellphone reception at the terminal.

But officials say people need to start changing their habits – gone are the days when drivers could park in the pick-up lane to wait for their passengers, which often happened at older terminals.

Deputy Director of Aviation Justin Meyer said the new terminal’s system broke down when people started to park in the queue. To help alleviate the problem, authorities have beefed up enforcement on the curb lane and added signage directing people to the cellphone lot.

But Meyer says drivers can do a few things to streamline the process. First: don’t arrive too early.

“So if a driver is on the curb and says, ‘Oh, but he just landed, he’s driving now or he’s walking towards baggage claim,’ that driver can’t sit there, we don’t. don’t have enough space for drivers to just sit and wait,” he says. “That faceplate is for active charging only.”

A large blue sign sits near a paved entrance to a parking lot.  Some cars are parked, some cars drive in and out of the lot.  The sign reads

Carlos Moreno


KCUR 89.3

Traffic enters and exits the Kanas City International Airport cell phone parking lot on Wednesday, March 10, 2023.

For passengers who arrive too early, Meyer recommends parking at the cell phone parking lot at 680 Brasilia Avenue.

“There are a hundred parking spaces there where drivers who arrived before their passenger was ready for pickup can wait for a phone call to say, ‘Hey, I’ve got my bag and I’m on the road. sidewalk, standing by the column a G.’”

Authorities added larger digital signage directing people to the cellphone lot after hard-to-find complaints.

Lowell Mayone drove from Liberty on Friday to pick up his granddaughter and parked in the cellphone parking lot. He said the lot could use a better location and maintenance.

“I mean, it’s a little out of the way. You start to doubt that you are heading in the right direction and when you get here it looks like a dump,” he laughed.

Another option, Meyer says, is to park in the garage across from the new terminal. It costs a dollar for the first 30 minutes.

While the pickup process has been a headache for some Kansas City-area residents, passengers arriving at KCI from out of town have received positive reviews.

John Morawiec is from Houston and was waiting to be picked up at the terminal. He said it was a “pretty smooth” experience.

“These positions are very well marked,” he said. “So you tell a person you’re at a K and they come around the corner and pick you up.

Morawiec found Kansas City airport officials friendlier than those in Houston.

“At both Houston airports, this curbside experience is miserable with people with whistles and high visibility vests that won’t let you stop your car for that long,” he said. “They don’t know the Midwest well. Let me tell you, they have to learn this.

On the driver side, Meyer says he expects conditions to improve over time.

“Granted, we’re all learning together with this new facility, but it’s something we hope to see improve,” he said. “I think we’re already a week into operation.”

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