I happened to see a fairly typical letter to the editor in the KC Star regarding KCI. I’m reprinting a couple of excerpts here because it involves a random exchange with an out of town passenger, similar to comments I hear myself when travelling.
As usual, our airport experience was just fine: easy passage through security, gates right at hand, adequate seating and so on.
As we went to the upstairs restaurant, an out-of-towner stopped and asked us for info, and then volunteered how handy our airport is compared with many others he’d used.
I related to him the ongoing desires of some to turn the place into a low-level theme park. He thought this was really ridiculous.
What I see now at KCI is an apparent concerted effort by management to dial back some very basic things, such as cleaning walls, repainting, installing new carpet and other maintenance items. This amounts to demolition by neglect and is an unforgivable way to push for a remake.
My biggest complaint about the SaveKCI crowd is there seems to be no concept whatsoever about how small KCI is relative to the airports Kansas Citians hate. How many letters to the editor have been written saying how wonderful KCI is compared to Denver, LaGuardia, Atlanta, LAX, etc.? The large majority of them. There has yet to be a letter to the editor that compared KCI to one of our peer airports like Indianapolis, which does very similar passenger traffic to KCI and has been rated the #1 airport in the country 5 years running. I’ve never had more than 5 minutes wait going through security at an airport that’s KCI size (i.e. Indy, Austin, etc.). I would certainly be more receptive to the arguments for saving KCI if the comparisons for saving it weren’t to airports flying 50 million passengers more than KCI.
A single terminal will work just fine for an airport of KCI’s size. Security lines will move quickly just like they do in similar sized airports. Is it really going to financially break flyers if they have to pay an extra $5 every time they fly? Most residents don’t fly even once a year. And let’s just assume the city is lying about the cost of a renovation. It’s still going to cost something so let’s say the cost is going to go up $3 every time you fly. Even if you think the city is lying it’s rear off, you’re literally arguing over a $2 and only 12% of KCMO residents fly even once a year. It’s not like they can run the airport at a profit and use it to subsidize the city so they can lower our taxes.
In general, I really don’t understand why some are so against a new KCI? I get it if you think KCI is going to be become LaGuardia or Denver, but we know that’s not true. We know our taxes aren’t going up. It’ll likely cost a little more to fly (but ticket pricing is more sophisticated than that). Legitimately, I’d really like to hear what’s so awful about a single terminal KCI and examples of why comparable size airports to KCI are awful.
Everyone who is for a new airport seems concerned about how we appear to the visitors. Well, one thing we can do for our visitors is stop making them stand on an island in the middle of two lanes of traffic, waiting for their transportation. They have to cross busy traffic, dragging their luggage in order to reach the pickup location. There is no shelter from the sun, wind, rain, snow, ice. How unfriendly is that?
What about the people who keep speaking about needing change? I don’t see you referencing those letters to the editor.
Fair criticism. But I don’t showcase all of the letters speaking against it either. I only happened on this one by accident and it struck me as particularly well thought out and touched on many issues, in particular the maintenance issue that I brought up a couple of weeks ago, so it seemed timely to me. Thanks for the perspective as always and I will be more sensitive to that.
The KC Star is so bent on spending $1B+ on a single terminal plan that few people want, it published this opinion piece that says KC should push it through without a vote.
Upgrades will cost close to $1 billion as well. More than a few people want a new terminal, and the cost will be picked up almost entirely by entities other than the people of KC.
It appears that our leaders intend to let the other terminals go down the tubes as they did terminal “A”. Where were our air port managers while terminal “A” sank into the swamp? I thought we had folks out there to repair and maintain these buildings. They were asleep at the wheel. Or perhaps our city fathers just decided we needed to put our money other places (street cars, sewers for new housing additions for rich developers). cant’ we afford to spend cash to maintain our terminal buildings.
Please add my name to the list of those who think our airport is the most user-friendly in the country (maybe the world). Why anyone would consider changing it into a big mall is beyond me. While KCI has amble opportunity for those who wish to buy a magazine or a snack, people don’t go to the airport to shop. Let’s keep it the wonderful travel facility it is.
A few rating websites that may disagree with your perspective:
Exactly. And when I talk to people who fly in from out of town, I’ve never heard of anyone having a good impression. One guest asked if KCI is “our main airport.” Good luck recruiting businesses here when their first impression of our city is not only landing amongst the pastures and cows but also entering a time warp when they de-plane into the 1970s.
Sign me up too Mr. Markley. 😉