Flying KC Forward

The new Kansas City International Airport has finished construction, offering travelers a better look at what KC means


Andrew Sharber, Staff Writer

With the small and outdated layout of the Kansas City International Airport being a problem, renovation started in March 2019 and is now officially open to the public nearly four years later. 

For junior Miles Gelman, the airport is something that he saw over spring break. 

“I liked how spaced out everything was instead of it being in multiple different buildings,” he said. 

With guests walking through the redesigned airport, the layout and style were not only made for efficiency but for them to feel warm and joyful as they enter. Because truthfully, the mosaics on the floor just weren’t cutting it. 

 With large glass windows and white tiled flooring, the atmosphere is certainly something that the designers kept in mind. From, the airport has an expansive area with “40 gates” and “150 daily departures.” 

Additionally, “There are separate levels for curbside departures and arrivals” with “Clear kiosks and designated TSA PreCheck lines.” While the airport itself is new, the parking on the outside still needs some work. 

“I had to park at the very top of the parking lot,” Gelman said. “It was terrible.” 

Of course, maybe now there will be an excuse to arrive at the airport an hour early for your flight. As for the main terminal of the airport, it holds “10 nursing rooms, service animal relief areas, all-inclusive play areas for children and a sensory room — a calming space for neurodivergent travelers.” 

On top of that, “Throughout the entire design process, the Kansas City Aviation Department worked closely with local organizations like The Whole Person, Variety KC and Dementia Friendly KC to ensure the terminal was as absolutely inclusive as possible.” 

While transportation is a must for guests, the food options certainly don’t hurt. With the airport holding a City Market Food Hall that consists of various restaurants, guests can pick and choose instead of being limited to a Starbucks that opens ten minutes after your flight departs. 

“There were some good restaurants that showed off KC and what our specialty is,” Gelman said. “It’s a cool concept — I just feel like they could have used it a little better.”

The new airport also chose to keep artwork and the history of KC as the main style of the airport with nearly, “$5.6 million of the new terminal’s budget set aside for artwork, with impressive sculptures from international artists scattered throughout the main entrance and paintings from local artists positioned in the concourses” from a total budget of $1.5 billion. 

“I didn’t realize it at first but the more I thought about it, the more impressed I was with the artwork,” Gelman said. 

Not only is the amount of things in the airport impressive, but the overall design choice and improvements that have been made. Because even though you’re traveling, at least you can see a glimpse at what makes Kansas City unique.