KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Thanksgiving bringing a holiday rush of travelers, Kansas City International Airport leaders are making some changes and stressing traffic flow at the new terminal.

KCI officials are expecting near-record passenger numbers with over 405,000 travelers arriving and departing from Nov. 17 through Nov. 28. That’s 15% busier than last year’s holiday.

Local airport leaders expect the busiest days will be Nov. 17, Nov. 19, Nov. 22 and Nov. 26.

And don’t forget about Monday Night football throwing even more travelers into the mix.

The city said staff will be working to decrease TSA wait times, performing a more frequent and thorough cleaning routine, and installing better signage to help with traffic.

There will also be live jazz performances on Nov. 22 and Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the baggage claim area.

Picking up and dropping off

With all those people flying, KCI officials are encouraging travelers — and those picking up or dropping off — to brush up on the new terminal before heading to the airport. You can find details on getting to and from the airport, plus how-to videos, online.

At high-traffic times, KCI’s new terminal has struggled with drop-offs and pick-ups.

Even months since opening, KC Aviation Department spokesman Joe McBride said their biggest concern is still pick-ups. You cannot park at the curb or else you risk a ticket — or a tow.

Airport leaders note the terminal has a two-level roadway: one for departures where visitors can drop people off and another for arrivals to pick people up.

Officials stress that drivers picking someone up should time their arrival for when the traveler is at the curb — not for when the plane lands or when they’re at baggage claim.

“The key here is that we have about 770 linear feet of space at the curbs as opposed to 1,400 per terminal before. So there’s a lot less space for us to allow somebody to sit there in advance, waiting for somebody to come out,” McBride said.

With less curb space than the former KCI terminals, the airport has seen long lines develop as drivers park at the arrivals curb.

But KCI officials are emphasizing that the curbs are for active unloading and loading only. Drivers should not park or idle at the curb.

The aviation department has added extra traffic control and KCI Airport police during peak travel periods.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, officers will strictly enforce parking restrictions and ask drivers waiting to move their vehicles. They’ll be handing out more information to drivers to make sure they understand the rules.

Unattended vehicles will be ticketed and towed if necessary, KCI leaders said.

Cell phone lot

Drivers can park at the free “cell phone lot” while waiting to pick up arriving passengers. It’s located at 680 Brasilia Avenue, just a few minutes away from the new terminal, so you can avoid driving in circles.

The aviation department is adding improved signs to and from the cell phone lot to help drivers.

Drivers are allowed to stay in the lot for up to 45 minutes for free, but unattended vehicles are not allowed and can be towed.

There’s also overflow parking near Brasilia Avenue and Paris Street. KCI’s economy parking lots are also free for up to two hours.

KCI leaders aid they’ve also ordered over 30 additional permanent signs to help people navigate the airport property. They’ll be installed in the coming weeks.


With over 22,000 spaces at the airport, KCI says there’s plenty of parking for travelers. However, the new garage and surface lot regularly reach capacity.

You can check KCI’s website before leaving for the airport to see what parking is available.

When you’re at the garage, there are also signs showing how many spots are available on each level. And to make it even easier, once you’re inside the garage, red-light-green-light technology will tell drivers where open spots are located.

For those parking in the economy lots, make sure to allow time to take a shuttle from the lot to the terminal.

The parking lots once known as Economy A and Economy C have been combined into one generic economy lot.

While garage and surface lot prices increased when the new KCI terminal opened, economy parking prices have not changed at $7.50 per 24-hour period.

You can find a coupon for one free day of economy parking here after parking two days.