New KCI airport’s $1.5 billion terminal takes flight in historic event

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City International Airport’s new $1.5 billion terminal opened Tuesday at 5 a.m., featuring 1.1 million square feet of space for travelers.

The airport will never be the same again, as the brand new facility is equipped with one large terminal rather than the three 1972 horseshoe-shaped terminals. Every commercial airline will operate from the same building. Additionally, KCI is now the largest all-glass airport worldwide. 

The check-in hall has multiple entrances where each airline will have ticketing desks and clerks on hand for luggage checks. Self-service kiosks also will be available. Each airline has departure signs on the curb so travelers can enter closer to their designated check-in desk. 

American Airlines, Delta and United can be found on the north end of the check-in hall, while all other airlines will use the south side.

Passengers will enter through a more efficient single security checkpoint with 16 lanes. Eight lanes are on each side of the security checkpoint, with one side being designated for passengers with TSA pre-check. Previously, multiple TSA checkpoints were spaced out across the three terminals.

Kiosks also are on-hand for CLEAR travelers to enter the security checkpoint using their fingerprints or eyes for identity verification, rather than a TSA agent checking your photo ID.

The new terminal has two different levels for departures and arrivals: Drop-off is on the upper level, while pick-up is on the lower level at the arrivals curb. 

There’s a new 6,000-space parking garage near the terminal. As drivers approach the parking garage, electronic signs will show how many spots are left. Additionally, green lights will alert drivers to the empty spaces. 

The new KCI, four years in the building, also offers valet parking service, a free short-term waiting lot and surface-level parking.

The single-terminal KCI features a dozen gates at Concourse A and over two dozen at Concourse B. Southwest, Delta, United and Spirit flyers will head to Concourse B, while all other airlines will use Concourse A. 

Approximately 80% of the new terminal’s restaurant vendors are from the Kansas City area. Soiree Steak, Bo Lings, Parisi Coffee, Seafood House, City Market Food Hall and Meat Mitch Barbecue are names local travelers might recognize. Chain restaurants in the new terminal include Smoothie King, Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken franchise, Dunkin’ and Cinnabon.

Travelers near Concourse B will notice a bar, buffet and seating area called Delta Sky Club. 

Concourses have three restroom areas each, complete with changing tables, a nursing room and family restroom space. Soap, hand dryer fixtures and faucets are all touch-free. The new terminal features two lounges, with a USO lounge located near a baggage claim area that will be available to military reserves, active and National Guard members and their dependents. 

Those with autism or other sensory issues may find the sensory room helpful. The room features calming activity areas, non-abrasive flooring and fully cushioned furniture including fidget chairs.

Four-legged travelers have their own creature comforts in animal relief zones in each concourse. They feature cleaning capabilities, plastic bags for waste, a replica fire hydrant and artificial grass.

Working travelers can rent the Business Center by the hour once it becomes available in Concourse A.

Passengers also will be treated to the largest public art project in Kansas City history. The airport project included $5.65 million for art; 28 of 1,900 artists who applied had their work selected for the terminal. 

Launching the terminal project helped Kansas City land the 2023 NFL Draft – at Union Station April 27-29 – as well as the 2026 World Cup, of which KC will be one of 16 host cities in North America, 11 of which are in the United States.

For the latest updates and developments at the new terminal, click here.

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