Leisure travel high, business travel getting off the ground at Kansas City International Airport

KCI travel
Posted at 5:35 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 19:35:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and the vaccine is more available to those who want it, travel is getting a boost at Kansas City International Airport.

Travel for Memorial Day weekend in 2020 dropped more than 90 percent from 2019. That weekend, only about 4,000 to 7,000 passengers traveled through KCI each day.

One year later, travel has taken off. Spokesperson for KCI Justin Meyer said Friday was the third busiest day for travel so far in May.

"I think there's a lot of factors that are driving people to return to travel. Snow in KC back in April is really a high booking factor, people getting shots in their arms is really significant and people being cooped up at home for a year I think is really motivating people to travel," Meyer said.

The reason for each person's travel is different. For some, it's just another flight they have to catch.

"It is not my first time getting out. My 40th brithday was last July, so I roughed it and went to the coast. I have had my vaccine though so I have been traveling since early March," Erin Tohl said.

For others, nerves are a bit high, especially traveling during a pandemic.

"I'm a little nervous. It's the first time I've been on a plane. Me and my family usually go in a car to where we're traveling," Samuel Ledbetter said.

Most travel through KCI is for vacations. Meyer said business travel has remained low, but expects those numbers to get off the ground in the coming months.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Aviation Department reports more than 495,000 passengers traveled through KCI in April. That's an increase of more than 1,000% compared to 2020, but still down from April 2019.

"It's absolutely reaffirming to see how quickly travel is recovering," Meyer said.

KCI will see about 30,000 people arriving and departing on Friday and again on Monday.