The first big change to occur at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport is just days away.
As officials get ready to open the new $160 million terminal on June 3, the first step will come a week earlier. On Wednesday, airport officials will open the $40 million, four-level parking garage and rental car center.
For travelers, that means things will be different when it comes to renting a car as well as parking. The day the 1,200-stall parking garage opens is the same day that rental car agencies in the current terminal will open in their center on the first floor of the new garage. It also means travelers will have to walk farther to order and pick up rental cars, because the garage is across from the new terminal, which is west of the existing terminal.
The Eagle has assembled a list of questions to help travelers – and those who drop them off or fetch them – transition from the 61-year-old terminal to the new facilities.
When the garage opens Wednesday, how will I find where to enter?
The vehicle entrance to the garage will be the same entrance off of Eisenhower Airport Parkway you use today to park in the short- and long-term lots.
Will I pay when I leave the garage at a booth, or how will that work?
Yes, a cashier booth will be open for people who park in the garage.
What are the fees for parking?
The interim rates for parking in the garage are:
▪ Free for the first 30 minutes.
▪ After the first 30 minutes, it’s $2 an hour up to four hours.
▪ Beyond four hours, it’s $10, which also is the maximum daily rate.
What does “interim rates” mean?
It means the parking garage rates are temporary. Airport officials said that once they have finished resurfacing the old short-term and long-term surface lots, they will likely change the parking rates for the garage and introduce new ones for the surface lots, which will be divided into a “close-in” lot and an economy lot. The new parking rates haven’t been determined.
Is the garage going to accommodate both short-term and long-term parking?
When will the old surface lots be closed to new parking?
The entrance to the surface lots will be closed at the same time the garage opens.
What happens if I leave my car in the old lot on Tuesday and don’t plan on coming back for 10 days or so?
Cars remaining in the long-term lot after it’s closed will be able to exit the way they have in the past, and fees can be paid at the current cashier plaza.
What about the cellphone lot? Is it still operating as it has been?
Yes, the 16-space cellphone lot – where drivers can park for free while waiting for an arriving passenger to call – is south of the Park and Ride lot.
Where will the car rental places be?
The new parking garage includes an enclosed center on the first floor of the garage that houses nine car rental agencies.
Where do I go to pick up my rental car? And do I return it at the same place?
Customers will pick up and drop off their cars on the first level of the parking garage.
If I’m picking someone up or dropping off someone, does that change with the parking lot changing?
No. People will still be able to drop off and pick up passengers in front of the terminal.
Is it possible to take public transit to the airport – and what are the luggage restrictions?
According to the map on Wichita Transit’s website, Eisenhower Airport is not on its bus route.
Are the garage rates higher than the current rates in the long-term and short-term parking lots?
Yes and no. The first 30 minutes are free in the parking garage. After that, the rate is $2 per hour, with a maximum daily rate of $10. In the long-term parking lot that’s north of the current terminal, the rates are $3 for the first hour, $5 for two hours and a maximum daily rate of $9. So when you compare the maximum daily rate between the two, the garage is higher by $1.
But factoring in the rates in the short-term lot that’s closest to the current terminal, the garage is cheaper, especially when it comes to the maximum daily rate. The first 30 minutes are free in the short-term lot. Beyond 30 minutes, the charge is $2 for the first hour, $4 for between one and two hours, $6 for two to three hours and $9 for three to four hours. Go beyond four hours in the short-term lot, and you’ll hit the daily maximum of $50 – five times the maximum daily rate of the garage.
A reminder, though, that the rates are temporary. After work is completed on the old surface lots, the airport will divvy up space between long-term and short-term parking, and the fees could change then.
Will the remote, or Park and Ride, lot remain in operation once all of the airport’s parking projects are complete?
Yes, the Park and Ride lot will remain, including the airport shuttle service to and from the lot.
How much does it cost to use the Park and Ride lot?
Park and Ride remains the best value for airport parking when it comes to parking there for a day or longer. The daily rate there is $3 for the first hour, $5 for one to two hours and $6 for the maximum daily rate.