Flight Blog

 

The busy summer travel season is here and we want to encourage everyone flying this summer to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight is scheduled to leave.

We know, that sounds like an awful lot of time. But these days there’s a good chance you’ll need every bit of it. Take a look at the photo. It’s the line at the security check point yesterday afternoon, about 3:30. The folks at the end of the line had at least a 40 minute wait ahead of them. That’s a problem for some because they arrived at the airport less than an hour before departure.
 

 

The airline lobbying organization, Airlines for America, expects more than 257 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines between June 1 and the end of August. It’s part of a continuing trend of robust growth in the airline business — in Springfield, for example, passenger numbers have grown 43% over the past five years. The end result is two-fold:

  1. Airport parking lots are near capacity. It often takes longer to find a parking spot than it used to (the airport will expand the lots in the near future).

  2. Wait times in lines have increased substantially; especially at the security check point and airline ticket counters. The long waits sometimes result in missed flights.

Here are some ways to avoid missing your flight —

  1. First and foremost: arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave.

Speed up the line at the security checkpoint by:

  • Have your ID out and ready to show to screening personnel.

  • Take all food out of your carry-on bags and place in the conveyor bins. All food must be visually inspected by screening personnel.

  • You’re allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item. Put the bag in the conveyor bins for inspection.

  • Take all electronic devices (phones, computers, tablets, etc.) out of carry-on bags and place them in the conveyor bins. They must be visually inspected.

Other ways to speed things up:

  • Avoid the line at the airline ticket counter. Unless you have to check a bag, you can bypass the ticket counter entirely by checking into your flight on your airline’s website, or mobile phone app.

  • Avoid departing during very busy times. Typically, the busiest times of day are in the morning; between 5:30 and 7:00, and between 10:30 and 12:30. The busiest days of the week are Wednesday and Saturday.

  • Apply for TSA PreCheck from the Transportation Security Administration. Flyers that are PreCheck approved do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets when going through the security checkpoint. More information here: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck

Bottom line:  the summer travel season is here and long lines will be common. Don’t miss your flight; arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave!

 


 

Ten years ago today the airport’s current terminal opened for business. To mark the occasion we’ve spent the past few weeks looking back at past terminals. Today we bring this series of posts to a close with the opening of the current terminal on May 6, 2009.

The current terminal's story began in 1967. That’s when the Airport’s Master Plan identified the building site. A master plan looks into the future and tries to predict what will happen at an airport. How many passengers will use it five years from now? In 10 years? In 30 years? What kind of improvements will an airport need to make and when? It is, in essence, a planning document for future growth, project planning and project spending.

The Master Plan was updated in 1977. Of the update's many observations, one stands out: the maximum capacity of the 1964 terminal was 880,000 total passengers a year. The update said when “that level of activity is attained, a new passenger terminal complex will be required.”

That number was reached and exceeded in 2005. Thanks to the Master Plan, the current terminal was already being designed and its finance plan was close to completion. New terminal construction began in 2006. When the building opened, on May 6, 2009, it was the end of a planning process that began 41 years before.

In selecting the photos in today’s post we tried to keep people in mind. Photographs are always better with people!

Hundreds of people had a hand in making the current terminal a reality: planners, architects, finance wizards, ironworkers, skilled workers, artisans, the list goes on and on …

When their work was done they had created more than just a building. They’d created a new front door to the community — the terminal is the first impression visitors have when they step off the plane. It’s a reflection of our spirit, culture, and economy.

 

Our airport's current terminal is ten years old today; it opened May 6, 2009.

 

April 21, 2008. Airport administrative staff tours the
construction site. They're walking through the lobby.

 

April 29, 2008.  Norris Cornell, superintendent of construction, chats
with a subcontractor. The photo was taken on the
west side of the terminal, looking southeast.

 

June 25, 2008. Ironworkers swing a jet bridge into place.

 

June 25, 2008. An ironworker nudges a jet bridge into place.
From this point, the bridge was welded to the terminal's structure.

 

May 12, 2008. Craftsmen begin hanging the terminal's shimmering
curtain wall (glass panels).
This photo is on the west side of the
terminal, looking up at the children's play area. Rove Coffee

is located to the left of the play area.

 

May 12, 2008. The curtain wall was like a
giant jigsaw puzzle — every panel had its place.

 

June 5, 2008. Pouring part of a wall on the west side
of the terminal, near what are now rental car offices; looking west.

 

July 15, 2008. This view is on the north end of
the terminal, taken from what would become the aircraft ramp.

 

April 3, 2019. Taken in the same spot as the
previous photo. Now you know how thick the concrete is.

 

BEFORE AND AFTER
The photo on the left was taken on February 17, 2009
as Artisans created the terrazzo floor.
The floor depicts
the four lakes of the White River Valley with map-like accuracy.
The lakes are outlined with brass — that's what the artisans are putting
down in the photo. Later on, epoxy was poured on the floor, along with real
river gravel. It was then sprinkled with mother of pearl to create a shimmering effect.

The second photo shows the scene today. It's not unusual to
see visitors trying to find their favorite fishing hole in the swirling detail.

 

April 2, 2009. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce holds
it's monthlybreakfast meeting in the almost finished lobby.

 

May 6, 2009. It's opening day. Civic leaders cut the blue ribbon.

 

June 25, 2009 The current terminal
during its first summer of operations.

 


 

Welcome to part five of our continuing posts on our airport’s history. Why the look back? Well, we’ve got a birthday coming up! On May 6 the airport’s current terminal will be ten years old.

But there’s something else as well …

Airport terminals are special places. It doesn’t have anything to do with brick and mortar. It’s about emotion. It’s about our connections to each other, and distant places.

Think about it — an airport terminal is special because …

It’s where family reunions take place …

Where you took your first airplane ride …

The departure point for the journey of a lifetime …

Where you embraced the person you haven’t seen in 15 years …

A place where arriving passengers are sometimes greeted with marriage proposals …

It’s where a journey begins and where it ends …

It’s home.

Our photos this week begin where the last post ended: an aerial view taken August 8, 2006. It’s on the west side of the airport, looking east. The control tower is in the middle of the photo. Below the tower is the dirt turned area where the current terminal will rise. Above the tower you can see the 1964 terminal. The road leading from the top of the 1964 terminal is West Kearney Street. Keep that dirt turned area in mind as you look at the rest of the photos.

Take a good look at the last photo. It's late January 2008. On the west side of the building looking southeast. The dirt turned area is transformed. The terminal is firmly rooted and rising. The outline of the entire complex is now visible: parking lots. Roads. Aircraft taxiways and ramps.

It’s hard to believe that the grand opening will happen in just 16 months.

More next week.

 

Photo 1: August 8, 2006. On the west side ofthe airport,
looking east. The control tower is in the middle of the photo.
Below the tower is the dirt turned area where the current terminal
will rise. Above the tower you can see the 1964 terminal. The
road leading from the top of the 1964 terminal is West
Kearney Street. Keep that dirt turned area in mind
as you look at the rest of the photos.

 

Photo 2: August 21, 2007. It’s a milestone day for the current
terminal because iron workers are swinging steel for the first time.
The building is now rising from the dirt turned area. It's the point

where a foundation starts to look like a building.

 

Photo 3: August 21, 2007

 

Photo 4: August 21, 2007

 

Photo 5: August 21, 2007. Watching the steel rise.

 

Photo 6: September 24, 2007.

 

Photo 7: October 30, 2007

 

Photo 8: November 2, 2007.

 

Photo 9: January 5, 2008

 

Photo 10: Late January 2008.