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Kansas City International Airport anticipates heavy holiday traffic

holiday travel
Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 19:45:34-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wednesday is one of the busiest travel days of the year for the Kansas City International Airport.

KCI projects it'll serve nearly 13,000 passengers on Wednesday alone and more than 415,000 passengers between Dec. 17 and Jan. 3, which is up from 53% last year.

Airport officials are asking travelers to arrive at least two hours before their flight.

TSA officials want to remind travelers to double check what they try to bring through security.

Mark Howell, TSA regional spokesperson, said the TSA strongly recommends travelers do not wrap gifts before coming to the airport.

"The reason being, if we have to do a secondary search of those bags or those gifts we will have to unwrap them," Howell said.

Howell said the TSA is seeing an uptick in the number of firearms people try to bring through security checkpoints. Across the U.S., there have been more than 5,700 firearms.

"Here at Kansas City international, we’ve had a total of 63 guns come to checkpoints so far this year and to put that in perspective back in 2019, we had 67," Howell said.

No firearms, or replicas, are allowed through security checkpoints. The TSA has instructions for how to safely pack firearms on its website.

Howell said another common mistake travelers make is bringing blades or knives through security. Those items must be in a checked bag.

One of the most common mistakes continues to be oversized liquids. Remember the 3-1-1 rule, which is one 3.4-ounce liquids in a one-quart sized bag for every passenger.

Howell is asking travelers take a little extra time before coming to the airport to make the process as smooth as possible.

"Take a deep breath during the holiday travel period, think about what you're doing, check your bags become you come, get to the airport with a little bit of extra time, you may sit around a little bit waiting but you're also going to keep yourself out of trouble," Howell said.

The TSA also has a "Can I bring my tool" on its MyTSA app, which allows travelers to find out if they can bring specific items.

For many families, this holiday season means seeing loved ones they haven't seen in quite some time.

Husband and wife Sydnie and Jared Aly, flew in from San Diego, California, to see family for Christmas. It's the first time the couple has seen their family in a year.

"It felt good, I'm about to cry, but I'm really excited," Sydnie Aly said.

They're excited to be back with family and say being vaccinated against COVID-19 gives them an extra level of comfort.

"We're just going to hang out at the house with all the family and stuff, not really going to go out anywhere unless we need to, just definitely going to stay home and enjoy the family," Jared Aly said.

For the Krapf family, traveling in from Houston, they'll work to balance celebrating the holidays and protecting themselves against COVID-19.

"We're mainly just going to my mom's house and we'll hang out with grandma, hang out with our family that's right there, not going out too many places and if we do and it's a bunch of people we don't know, we do got our masks and we're good to go," Deanna Krapf said.