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What do you like/dislike about MCI/Kansas City Airport

What do you like/dislike about MCI/Kansas City Airport

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Old Jun 17, 05, 1:21 pm
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What do you like/dislike about MCI/Kansas City Airport

I would love to hear from other folks regarding their Kansas City Airport/MCI likes and dislikes.

I am writing a paper on airport design.

Many thanks.....


- DBC
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Old Jun 17, 05, 1:39 pm
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MCI is my home airport.

Pros:

Great for in-and-out flyers. No matter the airline or the flight, when dropped off at the curb, if I picked up a rock and lobbed it over the building, I could hit my aircraft (with good aim). I usually arrive 30 minutes before departure with no problems.

Baggage claim is directly beside the arrival gates, so quick exit also.

Fairly attractive interior. Short lines. Easy to get to in a car, especially for pick up and drop off. Plenty of good airport parking.


Cons:

As you probably know, we are not a hub for any airline. That's a chicken and egg problem with the cons of the airport. The most common complaint is that the airport is divided into 3 terminals that are connected only by bus transport (although no airline has gates/flights in more than one terminal). And, very few to no good restaurants (who needs them if no one is connecting?) Security is individualized to 3-4 gates per checkpoint. While this makes for short lines (see above), it also means that once through security, there are no restrooms, stores, restaurants, drink machines -- nothing, nada. Just seats, telephones, and gates. The restroom situation is allegedly being remedied.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 1:56 pm
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We traveled most recently to MCI a year ago and I enjoyed the experience, despite it being fairly cold in November. I had gotten in on an earlier flight and my SO was on a later flight. The thing I loved about MCI is that you can "meet" your arriving party at the "gate"--of course you're separated by a glass partition, it's nice to be able to see them arrive.

The bad is what's been mentioned above and that's the lacking facilities once through security. Plus, there's no freedom to roam the airport once in the holding area and the lounges are outside security.

The largest plus is the prices flying in/out of MCI. Always been cheap for me.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Delta Hog
Security is individualized to 3-4 gates per checkpoint. While this makes for short lines (see above), it also means that once through security, there are no restrooms, stores, restaurants, drink machines -- nothing, nada. Just seats, telephones, and gates. The restroom situation is allegedly being remedied.
Definately my biggest complaint about that airport. Only been in and out of MCI a few times, but quickly realized that having to go through security every time you leave the gate is a real pain!
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Old Jun 17, 05, 3:48 pm
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Agree with the others above on both pros and cons.

BTW, like the FT handle
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Old Jun 17, 05, 3:54 pm
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I agree with everybody above, although some of the gates do have restrooms and even mini-snack bar kiosks past the security checkpoints. Most, obviously, don't.

Actually, while less than one minute from gate/curb is nice, the best thing about MCI is that you can get Gates BBQ sauce at the gift shops. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 4:12 pm
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Only been thru as a connecting passenger, but the cons already mentioned stand out big time - even with the supposed improvements (restrooms), I will go out of my way to pick a WN connection in another city (STL, MDW) if I have to change planes and have a choice of routings.

I can see how the design is great for quick drop-offs, but really looks dated given how they've had to remake the place to fit evolving security needs. That's what I take out of it in terms of design - while you don't want a bland box of an airport, you don't want to rely on a design that may later have to be compromised. Dulles also fits this model - I love the soaring main terminal, but it frustrates me everytime I go there and have to rush through an uplifting public space to have to endure the 'mobile lounge' that has been turned into a glorified bus and the dank midfield holding bin of a terminal.

I also hate how the code is MCI, but they make this big deal about calling it "KCI" - but that's more a matter of marketing than design.

oh - by the way - welcome to FT!
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Old Jun 17, 05, 5:45 pm
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Having lived in KC for almost two years and having flown regularly out of that airport, I feel more negatively about MCI than positive.

Pros first: It is a relatively small airport and they revamped the parking situation for long term which is a huge improvement, but they need more frequent shuttles. There are nice waiting areas for the shuttles that are warm in the winter.

The convenience of baggage proximity to the gate is nice.

If you are running late for a flight the security checkpoint is so close to the gate they will hold up the flight because they are still checking your baggage for illicite items.

Decent restrooms.


Cons: There are three to four gates per security line. If you want food/restroom/newspaper there is no other choice but to leave the gate area, do what you need to do, and go through security again. It's a challenge to grab a latte and bring it through the line.

Delays suck. Again...having to leave the gate area, just to get out...unaware of updates on the flight, having to re-enter if the need to speak to a gate agent if the need about connecting flights arises.

Personally, I find MCI poorly designed. If arriving early, and wanting to grab something to eat while relaxing and preparing for an inevitably uncomfortable flight, you are forced to eat in a seat outside the gates, as well as the above mentioned issues.

Chris
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Old Jun 17, 05, 5:54 pm
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I really dislike that airport. I have ended up arriving way too early more than once (as you have to allow plenty of time to return a car), or had a substantial delay, and really, it is not only boring as all can be, but there is nowhere you'd want to eat. Well, maybe you (generically speaking), but not me. It has been awhile since I've been (and I've only been in/out on UA), but it really seems like one of those places where the same hotdogs have been turning on those same greasy wheels for months, uneaten ... where the vat of bubbling "fresh hot" nacho sauce comes from a cauldron owned by the Wicked Witch of (pick your favorite direction). I do recall having to leave security for the can, but maybe that has improved since the last visit.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 6:26 pm
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Pretty much what has been said above.

Additional pros: I like the pretty mosaics on the floor! Love the wireless, even though they charge for it.

Hate the Shoe Carnival, although that's not a function of the design. Gate structure mentioned above makes it nearly impossible to use Airline A's club if you're flying Airline B. You'd have to go out through Security again and the line gets pretty long close to flight time.

There are plans (finally) to add bathrooms and concessions in gate areas. The airlines resisted because it would take up seating area. This will probably worsen since more people will pile into the secure area earlier when there's more to do there.

I've still never found a security line as bad as the ones I encountered regularly at EWR before we moved here. For that I'm profoundly grateful.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 6:36 pm
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I believe MCI was built in the early 1970s, just before security checkpoints were first introduced at most US airports.

I've only flown out once, as an O&D passenger, and it was quite convenient aside from the shoe carnival at security (MCI was one of the first to "require" shoe removal, even when few other airports cared about the 1" sole thickness rule).
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Old Jun 17, 05, 6:47 pm
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Yeah, the 3-semicircle-terminal thing is a bit of an albatross, and if your flight leaves from C and you're in a hurry the rental car shuttles could take forever to get you there.

OTOH, the non-hub status at least minimizes interline connections that'd involve a second trip through security. All the multi-terminal designs (LAX, DFW) can be a real pain these days if you have to connect between terminals.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 7:51 pm
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I like arriving at MCI, hate departing, especially if I get there too early.

Arrival is great because when you get to the top of the jetway you can be outside on the street in fifteen seconds. I always want to get out of the airport as quickly as possible.

Departure is poor because, as has been noted above, it can take forever to get to Terminal C on the rental-car shuttle... the airport is an unfriendly, dark, concretey place, where I always feel like I'm walking around in the the bottom of a sewer... there's nothing to eat and noplace to go and the gate areas are traps. It'd be a terrible hub.

One slight positive is, MCI can be a good place to catch a plane if you're late. I was stuck in traffic a few months ago and pulled into the Avis lot at 5:20, trying to make a 5:50 flight... I made it OK, even with the grand tour of Terminals A and B... I couldn't have done that at most other airports.

No new airport would or should be designed like that today. Private cars can get within 100 feet of aircraft, they must have five or six times as many TSA checkpoints as like-sized chokepoint-style airports, and connections should always be possible within terminals without leaving security.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 8:35 pm
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Slight tangent here, but I am curious. Was MCI ever a hub for any airline? I know WN has some connecting flights in and out of there, but not enough to be considered a hub.
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Old Jun 17, 05, 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidDTW
Slight tangent here, but I am curious. Was MCI ever a hub for any airline? I know WN has some connecting flights in and out of there, but not enough to be considered a hub.
Braniff, no?
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