Today’s announcement of the ATAG vote is newsworthy as much for the misreporting as for the announcement itself. The group is officially recommending a single terminal – but subject to cost. 25% of the group felt we could not make any recommendation without these cost numbers. (If you count the members who attended a majority of the meetings and town halls, that percentage might be significantly higher.) We never received solid cost estimates on any of the options nor discussed how the Aviation Department might pay for an additional $60-70 million worth of annual debt out of a $120 million annual operating budget.
It’s also worth clarifying that the “simple renovation” option that is being reported as receiving zero votes, was not a simple renovation. It involved taking the existing terminals and adding a central security area to replace the current multiple screening areas (even though TSA told us that our current set-up offered certain advantages and that a central area would afford no cost savings.) The “simple renovation” option was removed from consideration by the co-chairs before the group had a chance to deliberate.
Today’s recommendation in no way guarantees that there will be a single terminal. Next up, the airlines and Aviation meet over the next 12-24 months and come up with their own recommendation, starting with the information we have gathered to date. It’s safe to conclude now that Aviation will say with even more gusto that they want a single terminal. The airlines will then say, “We’re happy for you but don’t want to pay for it and our customers don’t either.” And thus the game continues. Eventually, they’ll emerge with a plan and we get to vote on it – but likely not before the end of 2016.
i agree with John about the deficiencies of KCI. If there was ever an example of airport terminal blight, it is it. It is also a perfect example of everything that is historically wrong with Kansas City; projects that fail to live up to their conceived hype locally and regionally, much less nationally. This city has for too long believed in the “if we build it, they will come” mantra. Is building a new terminal the answer? Absolutely not. NOTHING will change the way the nation or the world views Kansas City. We are, what we are, for better or (as is often the case) worse. KC began taking its slow, ragged, dying breaths when the Pendergast machine was dismantled. She is no phoenix; there will be no rising from the ashes. This city is dead. It’s not coming back.
I wish I knew where the convenience factor is. Is it convenient to be hanging out in a terminal when there are delays and all the good food places are closed? Do you like long lines at the bathroom, if you can find one that’s open inside security? How about trying to get around a crowded gate when there are teams of young students sitting on the floor or all of the electrical outlets are either being used or not working?
I work at KCI, and I see these and many other issues that a new airport would solve. But our lazy, apparently wheelchair-bound citizens can’t seem to walk more than a few feet wthout wheezing. My doctor seems to think walking is good for a person, but KC flyers don’t.
Just don’t spend the money to build a new terminal now. Wat when we don’t have a choice and our kids and grandkids can foot the higher costs.
I don’t doubt that those inconveniences do exist from time to time – but I’m not at all clear which of them require an entirely new terminal to remedy. and especially what fraction of travelers are so inconvenienced.
I’ve been to Cincinnati before and after the Delta hub went from lots of traffic to an empty terminal with dozens of gates, standing off from its old terminal. Big gamble, big mistake it seems.
I’m confident after what I’ve heard from the airline representatives to the ATAG that they will be more resourceful in coming up with some practical remedies that don’t require the wrecking ball. The Aviation Department consultants had their chance and I’m not impressed with their resourcefulness by comparison.
More places to eat, means more hours when restaurants are open or some novel solutions for unique times are found – but seats per week and direct flights per week are the first two measures of KCI Convenience. It sure looks like too much cost increase means drops in those.
Every terminal in recorded history had its limits as a “fun destination” in which to pass time – if some people are too lazy to exit security when they need a restroom, I don’t favor humoring them with a bigger empty space to mill about in just a few minutes after they’ve finished their personal business.
Okay, how about this…you get off the plane and before you know it you areoutside of security. That’s when you realize you needed to stay inside because you are doing a transfer. Now you have to be rescreened at KCI. All because you were following the group and it was too easy to get off the plane and exit without havng paid attention to our convenient layout.
Or let’s say, you remembered you left something on the plane. Any other airport you would have a bit of a walk before you left security, and in that time realized you were missing something and been able to go back to the jetway and ask an airline agent to get it for you.
But at KCI, once you leave security, you have to go to the baggaqge claim office and let them know about it, then they have to call down to the gate, where someone will get the item. Then you walk all the way back to the exit door you came out of to pick it up.
These things happen more than you know.
Abd I’m sure you didn’t mean that anyone would hang out inside security after using the bathroom. Unless, of course, they were going to be leaving on a plane.
I would like to see more seats and more flights, too, as long as we have the room for people to sit while waiting for them. And right now we don’t. Still, I guess it’s better to do the rehab now when it’s cheap, and when we have no choice but to replace KCI, we won’t be around to have to pay for the more expensive construction in 10 or 15 years. Our kids can handle it then.
i can leave my home in Gladstone 60-70 minutes before scheduled departure, park my car in the economy lot, wait for a shuttle and still make it to my flight on time. Because going through security here is a breeze, the FEW times I go to the airport early, I stay outside security where I can find seating, restrooms and all the $20 hamburgers I might want. No fuss, no inconvenience. When my flight starts boarding, I enter security and easily make it to the gate before they shut the door. Am I the only one? Granted, I NEVER check luggage. That’s another story.
I’d like to respond to your points John. I have flown out of KCI for years and I have yet to have to “hang out in a terminal when there are delays and all the good food places are closed”. (I can do without $12 sandwiches anyway.) I have never seen “long lines at the bathroom”, ever. I have never seen “teams of young students sitting on the floor”, with or without electrical outlets that are not working.
But even if those were all true, you really think we should spend $1,200,000.00 (or probably twice that) so that those inconveniences might never happen again??? That’s what I call a high price for convenience. Also, if you hate KC flyers that much (“our lazy, apparently wheelchair-bound citizens”), maybe you would be happier working somewhere else. And maybe we also would be happier if you did.
Well, sir, then you haven’t veeb to KCI very much. As I said, I work there, and this is what see on a regular basis. Many times passengers come up to me and ask if there is another bathroom around, because the one closest ir either closed or there is a line. And are you saying you have never seen a delay at KCI? The eating places outside security close as soon as they see there are very few flights leavng at night, and enough people have to buy those $12 sandwiches because the good restaurants are closed.
It was just last week that two teams of cheerleaders came through, and yes, they mostly sat on the floor because there is not enough room for all of them to gather together.
I don’t hate KC flyers, but I am surprised that no one seems to like to walk very far. When I got off the plane at Charlotte, NC, I was glad to be walkng after sitting in a cramped seat. Phoenix has a bit of a walk to baggage claim, but I could see it without having to look around a curve.
And are you really ready to kick this can down the road? Labor and material costs always go up, and when we can no longer ignore it in 10 or 15 years, the cost will be borne by our kids. Is that what you want just so now you can have your convenience?
John Skelton wrote several replies in which he repeated his arguments for a new terminal.
John’s concern that a new terminal will cost more in the future is consistently offered as a compelling reason to undertake a particular project. The most expensive Cadillac cost $5,000 in the fifties and families were fortunate to own a car, much less a Cadillac. The cost today far exceeds that for a Ford Focus, but families often own more than one vehicle. The same will apply to construction projects.
John’s insistence that, as a KCI employee, he receives many requests about bathrooms is likely true. It is equally likely that those questions arise from an extremely small percentage of the visitors to KCI. And when “closed bathrooms” are used in arguments for spending billions of dollars in new construction, it begs the question of “why?”
Since one third of the available terminal space has recently been closed, it might be concluded that the current facilities have more than enough bathrooms and electrical outlets. Obviously, merely reactivating the third terminal would increase all facilities by 50%.
I use KCI very, very often, if most frequently to pick up and drop off passengers. 100% of those I convey praise the ease of getting in and getting out of Kansas City. And I am equally thankful for the incomparable ease of picking them up or dropping them off. All airports will find eager detractors for various reasons of inconvenience but, KCI is the only airport where users will voluntarily compliment it for its convenience.
And KCI s also an airport where users will also volunteer critical comments, as well. One passenger told me he thought Dallas-Fort Worth was bad until he came here, and then complained about not seeing the baggage claim area, because of the curve of the terminal. Another passenger followed me around to let me know how crappy it was.
No, we don’t have enough bathrooms or electrical outlets. Come into the Southwest gate sometime and see how many people are sitting on floors because the outlets not being used, or that are working, are the ones near the baseboard. True, this happens mostly when there is a large crowd in the gate, or, if you are going out of Delta gate 50 there are no bathrooms or even food inside. So no, KCI would actually have less facilites with the closing of that one terminal. And you are being facetious when you question the use of more bathrooms in my arguments.
Yes, drop off and pick up your passengers at curbside. Hope there isn’t large crowd waiting inside. Drive off and don’t worry about how long it can take to get through the ticket and security line. I stood in tline at Charlotte for 15 minutes to get through security. Recently it took 2 hours, from the time some passengers got to the ticket counter and then through security, but whoever dropped them off didn’t have to worry about that.
And I oticed you didn’t refute my concern about the cost of paying for a new termnal now being cheaper than waiting until we absolutely need one. In fact you offered a prime example of what I had been saying. Yet you still want to kick that can down the road? I don’t get it.
From an ATAG governance perspective, and in light of the subsequently revealed facts, there was ever only one way the ATAG Chairs could definitively derail the “Keep the Convenience-Legacy Proposition.”
That way was to dismiss Convenience out-of-hand. This, some will recall, they did in the opening presentation of Airport School when Mr. Berkebile declared the present MCI configuration obsolete – against that is, the Design for Convenience criteria of the 1960’s.
The intended effect of this opening stand was – by unspoken extension – to render “expert opinion” as trumping any present day traveler’s evident needs and preferences. In effect, if we travelers are not complaining we should be.
And so the strategy of accumulating many weakening minor cuts progressed over the past year toward the anti-climactic coup-de-gras moment at yesterday’s bungled Rollout Theatrics.
Distracted by the rush of the 6 & 24 hour news cycle deadlines, the assembled Press managed to miss that the “old bull” actually drew some matador blood; and struggled to safety – certain to return on a later day.
Given all the facts on the record, I’m not sure that the More Civic Concrete Boosters realize how many goals they are behind already!