I was in El Paso for business recently and thought I’d post a few photos. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites West hotel in the Northwest suburbs of town. Good hotel with good staff. I would recommend it if in the area. It’s a little ways from the airport, like say 20 minutes but not bad.
The ELP airport wasn’t bad but I was a bit disappointed in the AA gate employee. Super laid back and in no big hurry to board passengers. Not good about communications, boarded late, etc. It really didn’t effect the flight as it was on time and a small plane but in an IROP situation I can see where things could get ugly here.
I recently moved back to my home town Kansas City. I grew up in the area. My family is from here so that is sweet. We had been living in St. Louis for the past 16 years so I got used to STL and saw that airport move from TWA to AA and then de-hubbed which is sad.
My memories of MCI (or known locally as KCI) are of the many trips that I or family members took. I remember my Dad filling out an old paper Mutual of Omaha travel insurance application at the airport as my Sister flew off to Europe in High School. I remember picking up my Sister and her Husband at Midnight one New Year’s Eve maybe 20 year ago there. I mostly remember how open the airport was. It was designed to be a TWA hub airport where you could drop off at the door and be just steps away from the gates. Great idea (at the time). Unfortunately 9-11 happened and now the small gates aren’t so open anymore. They have added security checkpoints and you can’t just walk in and out of the gate areas down the long hallways. They took out the AA lounge and many other features.
I will still love “KCI” but it’s a pain now. The gates are jammed packed:
There’s not enough seating, the restrooms are tiny and it’s just no fun. Like this photo above where you can see into the bar through the big windows but you can’t actually go into the bar. Everyone looks so happy.
Arrival isn’t much better. Although the planes unload the luggage near the gates into the TINY luggage carousels it always seems to take forever. To make it worse they always seem to want to load multiple planes onto the same carousel like most other airports do.
It’s not all bad though and you get used to any airport I guess. Besides now we have Spirit Airlines ! Which ain’t half bad for a short haul domestic airline with a 35 pound bag limit on checked luggage !
I’m sure Kansas City will spend a ton of money to remodel it one day. I can only hope they would rebuild it further South since it’s so far North out of the city.
Another little known triva fact about KCI is that it’s near where a famous Bonnie & Clyde shootout took place at the Red Crown Tavern and Tourist Cabins back in the day.
The first time I gained access to an airport lounge was the Delta lounge at Miami years ago on a long layover. It’s a nice little lounge with a great view of the airfield. It was special. I was scared to eat the free food and couldn’t believe how clean the restrooms could be in an airport.
Many like airport lounges for the free wifi, free drinks, access to expert airline staff, free food, etc. There are many ways to gain access. You can be an elite member of an airline or buy your way in with expensive day passes. You can also be a member of a third party lounge network like Priority Pass or you can have a high annual fee airline branded credit card. The cheapest is to be the guest of a person with access that can get you into this “secret” world.
So why do I like airport lounges? I like them for the ability to relax with mostly normal humans in an area with comfortable seats, usually somewhat quiet and with restrooms that aren’t crowded and/or gross.
As much as I like all that one of the best parts of airports and airport lounges is people watching. I won’t include photos here but think Walmart with mass transit. At the gate or on the plane you’ll find all kinds of people from folks with $2,000 business suits to middle aged men in cartoon character pajama pants. It’s an interesting cross section. When you get into the lounge you tend to lose the cartoon pants (mostly) but you have a cross section of business travelers, elite jet setters and what I see as older semi or totally retired frequent travelers with disposable income. It’s interesting to talk with people to see where they are going, where they have been or why they are there. It’s just fun. Sure some of them are picky or some may act like snobs but most aren’t bad. Even if they don’t like the wine selection or the coffee machine. It’s still light years away from the terminal gate areas in my experience.
Next time you find yourself in a lounge or even stuck outside the doors and can’t get in. Take a minute to look around you and study the people. It’s fun to watch.
During overnight IROP delays due to weather, etc. it’s best to avoid sleeping on the floors in airports or train stations. I know this is easier said than done but here are a few news items to help remind you of this: