The brainwashing attempt continues regarding the need for a $1.2 billion makeover of the terminal system at the Kansas City International Airport. City officials have awarded a $117,000 contract to Global Prairie, a communications and marketing firm. Its job is to convince enough key people that tearing down most of the current beloved three-terminal system and replacing it with a single gigantic terminal will be a good thing.
Fog machines have been turned on. Let’s start with the words global and prairie. Those words sound cute together. But there is no such thing in real life. But pronounce the words just right and implant an idea that what might be is, and you’ve made perception seem like reality. Altering perceptions is often more important than reality when you’re making a sales call.
The challenge for spin masters is twofold. Kansas Citians have long enjoyed their airport as it is, its convenience and beauty. We never tire of hearing how much nicer it is than those in other cities from travelers passing through from other towns. Secondly, many people who fly loathe the type of terminals other cities already have that KCI wants to copy.
During my latest flight, I parked in economy and caught the bus to my terminal. After exiting the bus, it was a relatively short walk to my ticket counter and gate. At other airports I could have been in store for a major hike. My layover in Denver was bearable. The small airport in Missoula, Mont., was easy to negotiate upon arrival.
On the return, however, it was a fairly long walk at Missoula to catch my departing flight at their one-terminal system. Then I had a connection in Minneapolis. Now there is a huge, multi-winged airport chocked full of stores and things people really don’t need, as if all of America bases life around shopping malls. My main trouble there was, however, an incredibly long walk from where I got off my first flight to reach the gate for my second. In fact I almost missed that flight due to the distance. Another person who left Missoula with me and was bound for Maine had the same narrow escape.
Huge airport terminals are oppressive rather than welcoming. Feeling welcome has always been one of KCI’s blessings.