I was afraid it would to come this, and I’m sorry, but you can’t get a ton of emails (some in all caps) that call you an idiot and not respond.
Last week, I wrote about being mystified why anyone in the Kansas City metro area would be anti new airport. Well, cue the ill-tempered emails flush with outrage and some spirited name-calling. None of it, by the way, surprised me.
What did surprise me though is that 99.9 percent all of the emails were solely focused on the convenience aspect of KCI. If I had a dime for every email I got sharing that you can get from your gate to your car in only five minutes then I could buy myself a jumbo value meal, with a large shake, at McDonald’s.
Here’s the deal. I’m worried because I think the people writing me are living in an alternate universe. This convenience thing has to be a legend or fairytale?
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A story we’ve passed down through generations thus ensuring that this myth stays alive.
I fly a lot, and this means I’m parking in the cheap lot. Here’s the timetable for that. You exit the plane and walk outside to wait for a bus. Sometimes that wait can be 15 minutes.
Once on the bus you settle in for a multi-minute ride to the parking lot, stop at least six kiosks before you’re finally off the shuttle and hike to your vehicle. In the time space continuum I live in, this is not gate to car in five minutes.
Now, if you’re talking gate to someone waiting for at the curb in five minutes, that I understand. I also understand that when I fly Southwest into LAX I can also get from my gate to the pickup curb in that short amount of time.
Another thing that had me doing the trifecta of rolling my eyes, scratching my head and sighing was that many of the emails I received mentioned the Denver airport over and over again as being a “zoo,” “so confusing,” and “not user friendly” and that a new KCI “would be just like Denver.”
Let’s break this down. Denver is the 18th busiest airport in the world and the sixth busiest in the United States. It has yearly passenger traffic of more than 58 million. KCI is not Denver. KCI last year had 11 million passengers. Do the math and realize that KCI will never become Denver because, we, well, are not Denver.
I also received a couple of emails detailing “big airport” horror stories. One woman shared with me what happened to her at LaGuardia. I think we can all agree that LaGuardia is gross, but an airport that flies 30 million people and is adjacent to the most populated city in America has zero bearing on what a new airport in Kansas City will be like. That’s not even apples to oranges. It’s apples to the 1,000 pound pumpkin holding court at the State Fair.
My takeaway after reading all the angry emails is that people fear the unknown. They know what to expect at KCI and nothing, not even an airport that actually functions adequately, is worth upsetting their routine.
This disappoints me. Oh, and this may just be the mother in me, it’s selfish. As humans and as a city we should be thinking of the greater good. Two, its not forward thinking. Kansas City is on the cusp of greatness. We haven’t come this far to now decide to be OK with dated mediocrity because it’s what we’re used to.
So, go ahead and send me more emails, repeat the gate to car in five minutes fable, and share your scary big airport tales. It will have no impact on me because I choose to believe that our city is greater than your fears.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.