KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Going into Memorial Day weekend, more people are traveling in and out of Kansas City International Airport than in the last two months. KCI officials expect to see those numbers climb heading into the summer season.
Normal KCI traffic on a spring or summer day is about 30,000 people, totaling around 1 million people per month. In April, passenger traffic was down to 1,400 people a day, a 95.5% decrease from April 2019.
"It's the lowest number we've ever had in a month at KCI, but we're thankful for the passengers who did not make discretionary travel and chose to stay home," said Justin Meyer, deputy director of aviation at KCI.
Meyer said the April numbers were even lower than September 2001, when planes were grounded for three days.
On a normal day, KCI would have about 160 scheduled departures. It has been down to 50, but will increase to 60 soon.
"We had seen that number grow to 4,000 passengers a day; we'll see that number up to 7,000 passengers today," Meyer said on Friday.
Friday was the busiest day at KCI since mid-March.
Many people will be traveling for Memorial Day weekend, with some saying they finally feel like they can safely fly again.
"My family, my two sisters and my nephew live here and my parents kind of travel all over the United States so they're going to be here. I haven't seen them in a year so I'm looking forward to it," said Faith Thompson, who arrived home in Kansas City.
Allison Moynihan said there were few people on her flight and people were spaced out. She is also coming home to see family.
"I got homesick. The flights are cheap, so I got a flight," Moynihan said.
Katherine Lewis flew on Southwest Airlines and had a positive experience.
"It was one person, empty seat, one person. So it was pretty decent, I have no complaints," Lewis said.
Gayle Lohmeyer and her husband arrived home from Florida and said their flight was more full than they'd hoped.
"We didn't know it was Memorial Day when we booked this. We didn't even think about it, otherwise we might have said, oh maybe we better not go this weekend. But it wasn't bad," Lohmeyer said.
Two flights to Florida had more than 100 passengers on board, while others still had few passengers. The safety guidelines, however, are still the same.
"I will say on some of these busier flights, I don't believe there is the ability to block middle seats," Meyer said. "So just encourage passengers to wear a facial covering, wash their hands and just be really careful about the space they are in."
Passengers should check their airline's safety guidelines before flying.
KCI has decals on the floor at the airport marking six-feet distances that encourage people where to stand.
Meyer said some of the gift shops are selling face masks and sanitation wipes.