Holiday travelers flock to Kansas City International Airport

Some of the 580,000 expected to pass through Kansas City International Airport this holiday season lined up Tuesday.
Some of the 580,000 expected to pass through Kansas City International Airport this holiday season lined up Tuesday. The Kansas City Star

It’s a Christmas surprise — that is, if everything goes as planned for Janet and John Roberts of Azle, Texas.

The husband and wife flew into Kansas City International Airport on Tuesday morning. They killed some time while waiting to rent a car before driving about two hours to Fayette, Mo., to spend Christmas with their son.

“He does not know we’re coming — at all,” Janet Roberts said.

Their son, Casey Roberts, is a firefighter in Columbia and will be working on Christmas.

“We are going to surprise him and be there when he gets home from work with his family,” Janet Roberts said.

The Robertses were among more than 580,000 passengers expected to pass through KCI this holiday period. Friday probably was the peak travel day.

“Here at KCI, we think we had 35,000 passengers on the 19th, and our average day is going to be about 30,000 passengers in and out through the holidays,” said Joe McBride, spokesman for the Kansas City Aviation Department. “There probably will be some lulls on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, of course.”

Casey Roberts will find out his parents made the trip about 7 a.m. Christmas Eve when he completes his shift.

And if by chance he reads this story before his shift ends, his parents said they were OK with the secret being leaked.

“He’s pretty busy, so I don’t think he’d be checking online,” Janet Roberts said. “I don’t think this will spoil it, and if it does, ‘Surprise, Casey!’”

This time of year, a lot of people at airports are not seasoned business travelers, so they aren’t prepared when they get to the security checkpoints.

Travelers should educate themselves about what they are allowed to carry onto a flight. For a list of prohibited items and other security information, people can check the Transportation Security Administration’s website at www.tsa.gov.

Although the weather shouldn’t have much of an effect in Kansas City, storms in the East, Northwest and parts of the Midwest could create major travel delays.

McBride suggests that travelers check flykci.com for flight information and plan to arrive at the airport 90 minutes before their flight.

Alana Muller of Overland Park was traveling Tuesday to San Diego with her husband, Marc Hammer, and their son, Ian.

“Every year at this time, we go on a big family vacation somewhere,” she said. “Sometimes they’re domestic, sometimes they’re international and a little more exotic. But what we love most about it is the uninterrupted time together during the holiday season.”

They choose this time of year for the big family vacation because things slow down and the end-of-the-year rush is over.

And they know the Christmas spirit will follow them.

“Santa will certainly find us wherever we are,” she said.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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