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1st impressions: Travelers review experience at new KCI terminal on opening day

Posted at 12:49 PM, Feb 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-28 14:06:22-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport is the first impression many visitors will get of Kansas City.

The first batch of passengers already traveled to and from the terminal on opening day Tuesday morning. KSHB 41 News spoke with some travelers at the airport to hear their first-impression reviews of different aspects of the new terminal.

Parking & Navigation

The first task travelers face when departing from the terminal is finding a place to park, and getting to where they need to go.

The new terminal comes with a new parking garage and surface lot, but the economy lot is still in service.

Travelers told KSHB 41 News they had no issues when arriving to the terminal.

"It's nice when you're coming in," traveler Tracy Smith said. "You knew exactly where to go, everything was lit up real nice."

Becky, who was dropped off by her husband, said she also had no issues when navigating the terminal.

"It's really easy," Becky said. "Just follow the signs, you know, 'Drop off to the right.'"

RELATED | What to know about parking at new KCI terminal

One passenger said parking in the economy lot was a similar experience to when she used it to depart from Terminals B and C.

John, who was heading to Fort Meyers on a business trip, said while he used to park in the lot, he is now considering parking in the garage instead.


One of the most stark differences between the old terminals and the new one is the atmosphere.

The new terminal is covered in terrazzo and is home to a number of art installments.

"It's beautiful, I love it here," said Justine, who was bound for Dallas.

Justine says she hasn't been able to stop filming since her travel day began.

"I have a whole bunch of content for all my friends and my husband right now," she said, while calling her husband on Facetime so he could also catch a glimpse of the terminal for himself.

One traveler also commented on the bright feel the new terminal has to it.

"It's so much brighter," Liam Dai said. "The garage is brighter walking in and outside is so much brighter...obviously really modern."

Dominique from Kansas City, Kansas, said Kansas City finally has an airport she can brag about.

Don't want to take these passengers' word for it? Take a 360 tour of the new terminal yourself by clicking here.


One of the most stressful parts of travel is getting through security and getting to your gate on time.

Travelers Jennifer and Kirk said there was no turbulence while passing through security at the new terminal on Tuesday.

"Security was a breeze today," Kirk said. "(We) walked right through. There was no waiting at all."

He says his trip from the parking lot through security was 20 minutes.

As for Justine, she says it took her around two-and-a-half minutes to pass through security.

"I was able to get in and out real quickly," she said.

The terminal also offers CLEAR, an airport identity verification process that has passengers scan their eyes or fingerprints rather than show identification.

One traveler, John, said having both CLEAR and TSA Pre-Check should speed along his travel day.

"I think it's going to be fantastic, John said. "I'm real happy that they have CLEAR here now."

Craig, a Kansas City resident of the past 35 years says he travels five to eight times per year.

He says he had no issues with the old terminal, and was concerned about getting in and out of the terminal, but was relieved it only took him around 12 minutes to get from his car to the gate.

Despite the quick process, he still advises future travelers to be cautious.

"I would say still get here early so you're not stressed, but right now it was simple, so no problems at all," he said.

Food & Drink

Passengers waiting for their flight in the new terminal won't need to order a pizza to get through their next meal, with around 22 standalone restaurants past security.

There is also a Dunkin' Donuts located outside of security.

RELATED | Concessions, shops at new terminal

Courtney, who arrived to the terminal on the first flight in from Chicago, said the local restaurants at the terminal will leave a strong first impression on visitors.

"What a beautiful way to represent who we are as a community with so many local venders represented," she said. "This is incredible because they are going to see the best of Kansas City the moment they get off the plane, and then we get to invite them in once they arrive."

Travelers also said the terminal had the sweet scent of Kansas City.

"There was a smell of barbecue," said Cliff, who was also on the Chicago flight.