KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of volunteers tested the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport on Tuesday.
“They’re going to have to look for a totally different experience in Kansas City. It’s not like anything they’ve seen before here,” John Ross said.
“The other one, you know, it was convenient because it was smaller and all this, but this is really pretty, and I think more people will travel,” Gena Ross said
They were two of the 600 “travelers” going through check-in, security, baggage claim and more to test out effectiveness before the $1.5 billion terminal opens Feb. 28.
“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t just asking frequent flyers who kind of intuitively know where things are, but I want somebody in here that hasn’t flown in 10 years,” Justin Meyer with the KC Aviation Department said.
He said the new terminal is more efficient and accessible for all travelers, like Jay Indurkar and his son who uses a wheelchair to get around.
“They managed to put the parking garage right across the terminal. We park and walk. I think I calculated no more than 150 steps,” Indurkar said. “So we were able to come in, and that means that we get shielded from weather.”
The new terminal has 16 lanes of security, will feature live jazz music, a historical exhibit, and flight simulator for nervous flyers.
Crews are still putting the finishing touches on the terminal, particularly on the dozens of new restaurants and retail options.
The new terminal will also be home to the largest public art program in Kansas City’s history.
“Kansas City is on full display,” one traveler said. “There are tons of vendors that represent us, so it’s something for us to be proud of whether we’re flying out or into KCI.”
The city broke ground on the terminal project in March 2019, and Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city stayed on budget and will actually open a few days earlier than it originally planned.
The mayor also said Kansas City exceeded its goals for minority- and women-owned businesses represented at the terminal.
Once it opens, travelers will also find unique and high-tech features like sensory rooms for those with disabilities, additional changing and nursing rooms, more charging stations and floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the concourse on jetways.
The last flight out of the soon-to-be old terminal at KCI will be Feb. 27, heading for Chicago. Then early Feb. 28, the first flight out of the new terminal will take off for Chicago as well.
“It’s going to be early, but that’s OK. It’s history,” said Katy Schamberger, who will be on that first departing flight. “It’s changing Kansas City.”