We have the best airport. If you've ever been to any other airport, you know this. And yet we're throwing it all away. We love the dang airport so much we made this commemorative t-shirt. A Wonder Fair exclusive.
WORLD’S SHORTEST WALK TO FLIGHT
Will the destruction of Kansas City’s multi-terminal airport become another example of the sacrifices of the many for the enrichment of the few? Will quality-of-life in our community ever be given the same public hearing and consideration as economic development?
The design of Kansas City’s multi-terminal airport emphasized direct access to the gate (marketed as "World's Shortest Walk to Flight"), which, in a post-9/11 world, made it one of the simplest airports to navigate for departing passengers (average security wait time was 3.63 minutes at MCI, a small fraction of the national average of over 12 minutes). The fortuitous nature of this design did not go unnoticed as two-thirds of all passengers through the airport rate it as “above average or well above average” with regard to Overall Convenience. Perhaps more importantly, 3/4 of all residential customers gave the airport “above average or well above average” for Ease of Getting Around, Security Screening Wait Times, and Overall Convenience.
Nevertheless, a new single-terminal airport has been approved after a campaign featuring promises of economic development, service to new markets, and improved concessions. The fact that residents love the functional pragmatism of the existing airport – ease-of-use that is clearly derived from the airport’s unique design – was rarely acknowledged during the push for new and better.
Historically, we believe it’s worth posting out that, when lobbying for a new airport in 1966, Harding Lawrence, then President of Braniff International, one of MCI’s two major carriers at the time, said, "There is no doubt that Kansas City will become a new international gateway to the world's major cities.” Yet this has not come to pass. Maybe in 2022 we will find ourselves on the other side, but it’s worth remembering what we sacrificed to achieve those ends.