KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During the end-of-year holiday period, AAA predicts 6 million people will travel by air.
Passengers flying through the Kansas City International Airport on Wednesday said the airport hasn’t been overly crowded, but it’s definitely busy.
Homecomings and hugs are happening a whole lot more this holiday season.
“It was not that bad,” Alexis Dawson said. “I think doing it on the 22nd versus 2 or 3 days ago was a smart move because I had friends who traveled a couple days ago, and they were like, ‘I could barely move. I had to get there 3 hours early, and it was insane.'”
From Dec. 17 to Jan. 3, the Kansas City Aviation Department predicts 415,000 passengers will fly through KCI. That’s up 53% from last year.
“Definitely a lot more people,” traveler Dior Johnson said. “Airplanes are definitely more crowded before you had your space in the seats, but now it’s not.”
With foot traffic up at airports across the country, Mark Howell with TSA has a few reminders for those who maybe haven’t traveled in a while.
“One thing we’re seeing an uptick in is the number of firearms coming in,” Howell said.
TSA is stressing: Do not bring items like firearms and pocketknives to the security checkpoint. They’re not allowed.
“Those more dangerous things like firearms are going to require a secondary search, and sometimes law enforcement will get called in, and that’s going to slow the process down for everybody going through the security checkpoint,” Howell said.
It’s also important to arrive early, about two hours before departure time or three hours before international flights.
Make sure you also pack smart. Any liquid more than 3.4 ounces can’t go in your carry-on. Howell also urges people not to wrap gifts before getting to the airport.
“Reason being is if we have to do a secondary search of those bags, or those gifts, then we’re going to have to unwrap them to do so,” Howell said. “So we ask that you use gift bags or just wait ’til you get to your destinations to avoid having us have to unwrap it, if it alarms.”
Just let Santa take care of the toys. We caught him getting off a plane in Kansas City on Wednesday while the reindeer rest before Christmas.
“I’ve got to pick up a few other things, check the list and make sure everything’s good in Kansas City before I head north,” Kris Kringle said, “and root for my favorite team, obviously the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Another thing to keep in mind: airport rush hours. They’re from 5-7 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.
Howell suggests booking flights outside of those time frames or getting here extra early if your flight falls during that time.