Hello and welcome to another trip report! This report will cover a recent trip of mine to the Kansas City area. Naturally, there are nonstop flights available from all three of the DC-area airports to Kansas City, but for a variety of reasons, including price, departure time and just general curiosity, I chose a Delta itinerary connecting in Cincinnati.
Washington, DC to Cincinnati, OH (DCA - CVG) | CRJ-700 [REPORT HERE] Cincinnati, OH to Kansas City, MO (CVG - MCI) | CRJ-200 [THIS REPORT]
The CVG Hub Experience, 2017
After arriving in Cincinnati from Washington, DC, I had a bit over three hours to kill before boarding began for my flight to Kansas City.
Arriving at gate B2 from my inbound flight, I was surprised at how busy the western end of Concourse B was – It really appeared to be just as bustling as any other Delta hub at first. However, I soon reached the middle of the B concourse and saw that the entire eastern end of the concourse was empty. Not simply not as busy, but only a handful of people in sight.
Looking back towards the center of Concourse B.
It soon became clear that I had arrived during the morning bank of flights – about 30 minutes after arriving, the entire concourse was practically empty except for which ever gate had one of the very-frequent Atlanta flights. After getting some lunch at Bruegger's Bagels, I went and sat near gate B2 for a little while….
…only leaving my seat when I saw a Prime Air 767 headed for departure off of runway 27. I headed over to a window to take a closer look. The CRJ-900 in the foreground was boarding for LGA.
I then headed back towards the eastern end of the concourse to get a better view of arriving traffic, stopping along the way to capture the only reference I could find to the now-demolished Concourse C – the escalators that go down to the former shuttle bus holding area. If you look (very) closely, you can see the sign still hanging above the escalator that used to direct passengers downstairs for gates C1 - C79.
Down at the far eastern end of Concourse B. I clearly am not the only one to come here for a bit of spotting.
It was a bit strange to be sitting in a section of airport that had this many seats but was entirely empty except for myself.
Another Prime Air 767, this time with winglets.
After about 45 minutes of spotting the odd American E145 and Delta CRJ arrivals, it was getting near boarding time for my flight to Kansas City.
My three-and-a-half-hour connection had passed seemingly very quickly – I suppose I've grown accustomed to long waits in airports the past few years. Overall, it was a much more relaxed connecting experience than I would have had connecting in Atlanta, for example. I'll leave the hub section by saying that, if my travels once again call for a Delta connecting itinerary and CVG appears as a reasonably-priced option, I'll likely choose it (as long as the connecting time is reasonable … 3.5 hours is a bit much anywhere, if I'm being honest).
I went and sat near gate B22 about 20 minutes before boarding was due to begin. Our CRJ-200 had arrived from Kansas City earlier in the afternoon, and sat at the gate for about 90 minutes before heading right back to Missouri.
Despite the many regional jet flights at CVG, Delta still flies mainline jets to a few non-hub destinations. An MD-88 arriving from Tampa, Florida.
… and a 737-800 arriving from Orlando.
Other non-hub destinations with some mainline flights include SFO, DCA, BOS, DEN, FLL and LAS.
Boarding began right on time 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure. I quickly found my seat in row 10.
Heading for runway 27, with a view of a mostly-empty concourse A.
An MD-88 departing for Atlanta beat us to the runway.
Cruising through a thin cloud layer.
Service on this 90-minute flight was the standard Delta Connection offering of beverages and cookies / pretzels, and legroom was typical CRJ-200 – fairly tight.
Starting the descent into Kansas City.
Mostly cloudy skies over the Kansas City area this afternoon.
Airport in sight.
Turning final for runway 19R.
Taxiing in past the Southwest sections of Terminal B.
The Delta section of Terminal B.
For those unfamiliar with the layout of the airport terminals in Kansas City, there are three almost-circular terminal buildings, A (closed), B (Southwest and Delta), and C (every other carrier). The terminals were designed to position the boarding gates as close a possible to the terminal roadway, meaning short walks from car to plane. The design was great until security check points became standard – the terminal buildings were too narrow to have half dedicated to a secure area like DFW. Fast forwarding to today, the terminal design leads to very limited amenities post security, inadequate restroom facilities (at least in the Delta section) and general cramped feeling in the terminals.
We pulled into gate 58 just as an A319 was departing for MSP from gate 57.
On stand at gate 58. Quite a different sight from the last time I arrived at gate 58 (on a DC-9-50 from Detroit in 2013).
Cincinnati - CVG
Kansas City - MCI
Skywest provided a typical CRJ-200 flight -- good enough cabin service and an on-time flight.
Cincinatti airport was pleasantly surprising -- a very relaxing hub experience.
Kansas City airport leaves quite a bit to be desired -- there is free Wi-Fi throughout, but there are limited amenities.
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