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At the old Kansas City International Airport, travelers must pass through security which is set up for every three gates. Lines and waits can be long. Photo: Dwight Widaman, Metro Voice News

KCI’s 50 year-old design struggles with weight of holiday travelers

Long lines abound at Kansas City’s International Airport this week as travelers battle increased traffic and a TSA security process that struggles with the airports 50-year-old design.

The airport, designed in the mid 1960s, is packed with fliers and those picking them up or seeing them off–all of them launching a long weekend of holiday celebrations.

This is the second busiest, if the the busiest, travel weekend for Kansas City’s aging airport.

Friday, the U.S. airline industry enters its heaviest travel period of the year with 45.7 million passengers are expected to take their travel to the skies.

At KCI airport officials are projecting nearly 585,000 passengers will come through the terminal over an 18-day stretch. That stretch began yesterday and will go through Saturday, Jan. 6th.

The lightest days will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Jan. 5th. Airport officials say if you’re traveling on those days,  you’ll be able to skip all these crazy long lines outside each grouping of gates.

Kansas City’s airport is unique among those across the nation. While beloved for many years, travelers have become increasingly frustrated with a security process that puts a security screening outside each grouping of 3-4 gates. That means once inside your boarding area, you are stuck  with hundreds of travelers in a small space. If a plane is late in arriving the areas can become annoyingly congested. Take into account they usually only have one bathroom with just a few stalls for each sex, you can see the problems.

You can avoid the congestion by checking  on things early, making sure you follow TSA guidelines for what can and cannot be taken on carryon and dress accordingly–slip on shoes, no belt, and be prepared to run your gifts through screening.

another thing officials at KCI are encouraging people to do is check your flight status.

The area expects unseasonably warm weather through Christmas which will mean travel to the airport should not be a problem for either vehicles or jets arriving.

But, though the weather may be okay where you are, there will be storms in other parts of the country.