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Employees at Kansas City International Airport are gearing up for the annual Thanksgiving holiday travel rush that could reach approximately 356,000 travelers over the peak travel period, estimates airport officials. Because of this, airport officials suggest travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to departure time.

Employees at Kansas City International Airport are gearing up for the annual Thanksgiving holiday travel rush that could reach approximately 356,000 travelers over the peak travel period, estimates airport officials.

Because of this, airport officials suggest travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to departure time.

“To keep things at the terminal curbs running smoothly, KCI Airport Police Traffic Control Officers will strictly enforce parking restrictions, which include no parking or idling on the curb,” states an airport release.

Customers are urged to check FlyKCI.com before leaving for the airport for parking availability. The site also includes details on flight statuses and allows customers to check in and print out itineraries and boarding passes in advance.

“Travelers are advised to register with their carrier for electronic flight updates, providing mobile numbers in case of delays or cancellations and allow adequate time for security screening and checking bags,” states the release.

Passenger volume

The Thanksgiving travel period is defined as Friday, Nov. 18 through Monday, Nov. 28. This is 97% of pre-COVID levels and 14% busier than Thanksgiving 2021. The aviation department expects the busiest days to be Tuesday (34,300), Wednesday (34,500), Saturday (31,842) and Sunday (36,300).

“A lot has changed at Kansas City International Airport since last Thanksgiving, so travelers should be aware of new roadway patterns to and from the terminals that include roundabouts, and federal requirements to wear masks inside terminals, buses and aircraft,” states the release.

Airport terminal access traffic pattern

To make way for construction of the $1.5 billion terminal, all terminal vehicular traffic now utilizes a new roadway into and out of the terminals. Vehicles enter and exit each terminal using roundabouts. Motorists first encounter the Terminal C roundabout and then the Terminal B roundabout.

“Vehicles in the roundabouts have the right of way so traffic and vehicles exiting the terminal must yield to traffic in the roundabouts. Signage directs motorists to their airline in terminals B or C. Motorists are urged to drive slowly, be alert, read signs, and use patience and courtesy,” states the release.

Economy parking lot reconfiguration

To make way for the single New Terminal under construction, Economy Parking for airlines in terminals B and C are now contiguous. The old B lot was closed and parking for that terminal was relocated. Motorists should follow the signs for their airline and disregard colors and letters on signage.

“As always, the Blue Bus operates between the lots and terminals,” states the release.

Mask mandate lifted

The federal mask mandate was lifted, but health officials recommend that masks be worn in close quarters indoors. Security screeners at the airport will ask passengers to lower their masks when showing identification.

REAL ID deadline extended

The requirement to present REAL ID-compliant identification in order to travel was extended to May 3, 2023. Information is available on the Department of Homeland Security website and the Kansas and Missouri department of motor vehicles websites.

Security screening

TSA urges travelers to “pack smart.”

“Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in baggage. Know which foods should go into a checked bag. Gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam and preserves should all go into a checked bag because they are not solids,” reads the airport release. “If you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, then it is not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag. As always, passengers can bring solid foods such as cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints.”

TSA is currently allowing travelers to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags.

Passengers can expect all containers larger than 3.4 ounces will need to be screened separately. Alcohol wipes or anti-bacterial wipes are permitted in carry-on and checked luggage.