Rob’s Not Crying Over Terminal A Tear-down at KCI
The tear-down of KCI's terminal A is almost complete making way for the airport's new single terminal project. I for one can't wait.
As much as I love Kansas City, I can't say that I love the airport. A lot of that stems from a cascading Southwest Airlines meltdown that impacted my flights between Dallas and Indianapolis several years ago. The meltdown put me in Kansas City late in the evening on a delayed flight out of Dallas, waiting for another delayed flight... from guess where? Dallas. That would take me on to Indianapolis.
It was late, I was hungry, and I would have killed for a greasy cheeseburger and fries from McDonald's or Wendy's or a kept on the warmer too long personal pizza from Pizza Hut. I had never been to KCI, and if there was a McDonald's or a Pizza Hut or a Wendy's I couldn't find one on the cramped airfield side of the gate area / terminal I was in.
All I had access to was some stand that had a couple of refrigeration units trying to pass off gas station quality pre-wrapped sandwiches as some kind of gourmet creation with some famous chef's name on the packaging. Since everyone was dealing with Southwest's meltdown, the airline had someone show up with chips and drinks gratis for their delayed passengers. I skipped the over priced gas station sandwich and mowed a couple of bags of Lays chips.
Mainly I felt trapped on the gate side of this terminal without many places to walk and seemingly only one place to get something to eat or drink. I mean that to me screamed mickey mouse and just made waiting for my plane a boring, long, experience. The only other airport I've ever been in with as limited food choice: Quad City International. Even Lubbock's airport offered more food choices.
Ever since that night I've done my best to avoid changing planes in Kansas City. Now, I get it, a start or an end of a journey is a different experience. You want to get in quick, get through security quick, get your luggage quick and move on. KCI may have been great for all that. For changing planes or giving one a positive first impression of Kansas City. Ick.
It's kind of sad too. I was born in Kansas City, but we moved to Philadelphia when I was about nine months old. I didn't get back to Kansas City until the summer I was 7. Before then my reference of Kansas City was a tourist picture book. The kind you might pick up at an airport or museum gift shop. This thing was printed before KCI's current terminals opened. Before the Chiefs and Royals started playing at the Truman Sports Complex. I know this because it proudly talked about the state of the art airport and contained an artists rendering of an ultra modern Jetson's styled airport. It's too bad by the time I saw it several years ago it was an uncomfortable, dated, mess.
I can't wait until 2023 to see the new terminal in action. Here's how it's described on buildkci.com:
Travelers will be impressed by the wide-open spaces the moment they enter the terminal. Light and airy with a Kansas City feel, including our signature fountains, the KCI single terminal will be a very different journey than before.
That sounds much more appealing, doesn't it?