KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After years of anticipation, Kansas City International Airport’s new $1.5 billion terminal is set to open this week.

After voting on the issue in 2017, the city broke ground on the terminal project in March 2019 and stayed on schedule and on budget. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city also exceeded its goals for minority- and women-owned businesses represented at the terminal.

The new terminal has also helped Kansas City land major events like the 2023 NFL Draft and the 2026 World Cup.

Developers and city leaders have stressed the new terminal will bring a new level of convenience, accessibility and efficiency.

But with a new terminal comes new parking, new security, new restaurants and more. It means plenty of changes for Kansas City travelers.

Before you head to the airport for a trip, make sure you’re prepared for the new experience at Kansas City International. Here’s what travelers need to know:

When does the airport terminal open? 

The new KCI terminal will open Feb. 28.

The last flight out of the old terminal heads to Chicago on Feb. 27, and the first flight departing the new terminal will leave early the next morning, also to Chicago.

Feb. 28 is three days ahead of the March 3 date that officials began promoting in 2020 — and that change was strategic.

That date, a Tuesday, typically has 30% less air travel than Friday, when March 3 falls, or the weekend. That means airlines will need to move fewer planes and equipment overnight, making the process cheaper.

Crowds will also be smaller, and airport officials also wanted to be up and running before peak travel for the Big 12 tournaments, which happen the week after.

Getting there

Where is the new airport terminal? 

The new terminal is still located on Kansas City International Airport property. Crews demolished the old Terminal A to build the new terminal in its place.

For navigation purposes, airport officials say you can put “1 Kansas City Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64153” in your GPS or device.

Are there separate areas for departures and arrivals? 

There are two different levels on the new terminal, depending on whether you’re dropping off/departing or picking up/arriving.

Drop off is located on the upper level at the departures curb, and pick up is located on the lower level at the arrivals curb. There are roadway signs for both.

Where can I park?

Parking options will change slightly when the new terminal opens.

Crews built a new parking garage just across the street from the new terminal, making it easier to park and get to your flight. KC airport officials said the new garage has over 6,000 spaces.

The new Kansas City airport terminal has a large parking garage right across from the entrances and exits.

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

Economy parking will see some updates, as well.

The parking lots most know as Economy A and C will be combined when the new terminal opens since they’re already next to each other. The shuttle stops in the newly combined economy lot will be identified as E1 through E17.

The Blue Bus will still serve economy parking, and KCI officials said buses will pick up at shuttle stops every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can use an online coupon for one free day of economy parking after parking two days.

KCI will also offer valet service, a surface parking lot and a free short-term waiting lot.

How much does it cost to use the new garage?

The parking garage will be open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Compared to the current garage parking, the 8-24 hour rate will see a $2 increase.

Here are rates to park:

  • First 30 minutes: $1
  • 30 to 60 minutes: $3
  • 1 to 8 hours: $3 additional per hour
  • 8 to 24 hours: $25 total

Can I still use the other terminal garages? 

If you’re flying out of the old terminal and into the new terminal, Kansas City airport officials will make sure you can get back to your car.

The airport will have Red Bus service from the new terminal on the arrivals level. The Red Bus will take travelers over to the old Terminal B and Terminal C garages and circle parking until these old lots are vacant.

After that, the old parking garages will not be available for the general public.

Checking in

Are there specific entrances for each airline?

KCI will now operate as a single-terminal airport, which means every commercial airline operates out of the same building.

There are multiple entrances to the Check-In Hall, but it doesn’t matter which one you use or what airline you’re flying with.

A view of the Check-In Hall at the new Kansas City International Airport terminal.

Once you’re inside, each airline will have its own check-in desk and luggage check before you head through security. There will be self-service kiosks available for travelers as well.

There are signs on the departures curb for each airline, so you can enter closer to the check-in desk of the airline you’re traveling with.

On the north end of the Check-In Hall, travelers can find Delta, United and American Airlines. All other airlines use the south end of the hall.

How many lines are there at security?

KCI travelers will see a big change with security at the new terminal, but airport officials expect the new process will be very efficient.

The security checkpoint will be consolidated into one area now with 16 lanes available — unlike the old terminals where security was spaced out with several lines across the buildings.

Where are the TSA pre-check/CLEAR security lines? 

There are eight lanes on each side of the security checkpoint, and one side is dedicated to passengers with TSA pre-check.

There are also kiosks for CLEAR travelers to get through security faster.

How many gates are there? 

There are a dozen gates in Concourse A and over two dozen in Concourse B.

A seating area near a gate at the new Kansas City International Airport terminal.

What airlines are located in which concourse?

Concourse B will include flights from Southwest, Spirit, United and Delta airlines. All other airlines will use Concourse A.

Around the airport

What restaurants are there? 

Dozens of new restaurants are coming to the new terminal.

Many are local favorites; in fact, Kansas City airport officials said 80% of vendors are local to the KC area.

Travelers will find restaurants like a City Market Food Hall, Meat Mitch barbecue, Bo Lings, Boulevard Brewing Beer Hall, Parisi Coffee, Soiree Steak and Seafood House and more.

But there are some national chains as well.

Companies like Dunkin’, Smoothie King, Cinnabon and Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken franchise have locations in the new terminal.

What are the bathrooms like?

KCI officials say there are three times as many toilets beyond security in the new terminal, compared to the former terminals.

Each concourse has three restroom areas; two are gender specific with spaces for men and women and one is an all-gender restroom. The all-gender restroom stalls are fully enclosed with floor-to-ceiling separation for privacy.

All restroom areas also come with a family restroom space, nursing room and changing tables. Additionally, all fixtures like faucets, soap and hand dryers are touch-free.

Where are the airport lounges? 

There are two lounges at the new KCI terminal.

The USO airport lounge, located near the baggage claim on the first level, is available to active, reserve and National Guard service members and their dependents. It’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and reservations are not needed.

The new terminal also has Kansas City International Airport’s first-ever Delta Sky Club. The space, located in Concourse B, can hold nearly 200 guests and has a bar, buffet and seating.

For travelers that need to work, the Business Center will soon be available to rent by the hour. It’s located in Concourse A.

What art is there at the airport? 

Dozens of incredible pieces of art will greet travelers at the new terminal.

The budget for artwork at KCI’s new terminal was $5.65 million, making it the largest public art project in Kansas City history.

Out of over 1,900 applicants, the Build KCI team selected 28 artists to create work for the terminal.

Travelers will find impressive sculptures, hanging pieces and ceramics in main terminal areas, the arrivals road and parking garage. Don’t miss works like “The Air Up There” in the Check-In Hall, “Molten Swing” at the escalator to baggage claim, “Fountain” in Concourse A and “Cloud Gazing” in the Connector.

There are also 19 wall-based artworks found at gates in the two concourses. These pieces were all made by Kansas City-area artists or those with significant ties to the region.

Check out pieces like JT Daniels’ mural and Hong Zhang’s charcoal drawings in Concourse B or artist John Hans’ prints and Israel Alejandro Garcia Garcia’s multimedia piece in Concourse A.

What special amenities are at the terminal?

Beyond restaurants, retail and art, the new KCI terminal has several unique features for Kansas City travelers.

The sensory room is an interactive space to help travelers with autism, dementia and other sensory challenges who might be overwhelmed by the terminal. It features calm activity areas, fidget chairs, fully cushioned areas and nonabrasive flooring.

The new Kansas City airport terminal will feature a sensory-friendly activity room and inclusive play area.

The air travel experience room was built for for first-time travelers or those who are neuro-divergent.

The room allows travelers to practice checking in, going through security and boarding a flight — inside an actual Airbus 320 fuselage. It has working storage bins, seat belts and more to get comfortable with traveling.

Airport officials have also partnered with Variety KC to create an inclusive play area where kids of all ages and abilities can unwind.

Travelers will also find family restrooms and nursing rooms, more charging stations and floor-to-ceiling glass windows on jetways. 

Is there a place to take my pet? 

The new terminal has animal relief areas in each concourse for moments when an animal needs to go to the bathroom. These spaces have artificial grass and a water faucet to clean the area, plus plastic bags to pick up waste.

The new KCI airport terminal’s service animal relief area on Sept. 19, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Barry/FOX4)

Leaving KCI

Where is baggage claim? 

Travelers leaving KCI can pick up their bags on the Arrivals level, which is the lower level of the new terminal. You’ll head down a large escalator where you’ll find a sign reading “Welcome to Kansas City.”

There are seven baggage carousels for airlines as well as a section for international flights and oversized luggage.

Where do rideshares pick up?

Rideshares like Uber and Lyft pick up at a designated spot on the Arrivals curb. When you leave KCI, follow the signs down to the Arrivals curb and look for the purple signposts 2K-N. Keep in mind, there are a limited number of spots available.

Where does the city bus pick up?

The RideKC bus picks up at a designated spot on the Arrivals curb. When you leave KCI, follow the signs down to the Arrivals curb and look for signpost 2A. Route 229, known as KCI-Boardwalk, takes passengers from the airport to East Village every day.

Where do taxis pick up?

Taxis pick up at a designated spot on the Arrivals curb. When you leave KCI, follow signs for ground transportation down to the lower level. Then look for columns 3A-D for taxis.

KCI officials say travelers can also call a taxi by dialing 816-243-2345.

Where do I catch a shuttle? 

You can grab a Blue Bus to economy parking on the Arrivals level of KCI’s commercial curb. The pickup location is marked with overhead signs. Buses should arrive every 15-20 minutes.

Several other companies and hotels offer shuttle services to transport travelers to and from the airport. They also drop off and pick up on the Arrivals curb.

How can I get a rental car?

The rental car facility is located in a separate building near the new terminal. Several companies like Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and more operate from here.

KCI’s Gray Bus offers free shuttle service to the rental car facility. Travelers should follow signs for ground transportation, go down to the Arrivals level to get to the rental car bus stop.

What’s next?

What will happen to the old terminals?

Airport leaders tell FOX4 the plan is to tear down the former Terminals B and C this summer. The space will then be used for terminal expansion and aircraft parking.

What about the old garages?

The two parking garages for the old terminals won’t go anywhere. Garage B will be for employee parking and Garage C will be some sort of public parking later down the line.