The main building is bright, has plenty of room, and features an impossibly intricate art instillation hanging from the ceiling.

They say that good things come to those who wait. And it seems in the case of the Kansas City (KC) area getting a much-needed unified MCI airport terminal, it finally came! Plans for a single terminal to correctly accommodate passengers have been in the works since at least the 1990s. But here in the Show-Me state, folks are reluctant to accept change without clear benefits. To be honest, many of us are just stubborn. Alas, this isn’t a story about the past. Nor is it a story about the citizens of a single city in the two-state KC metro area controlling an economic powerhouse and causing decades of delays in what should have been a routine update. No. This is a celebration lap. For me, for my frequently flying friends, and yes, even those who somehow think the existing scheme is “convenient.” (I’ll see YOU in the comments!)

I have been a new terminal-evangelist since the late 2000s. Literally ~15 years of work has finally paid off. No, I don’t work for any governments and I don’t work for the airport. Heck, I didn’t even get to cast a vote of support when the new terminal issue graced a KC, Missouri ballot during a low voter turnout cycle. But it’s still a victory, and I’ll take it.

Tomorrow the doors of the new terminal officially open to the public. And for a second time I will walk its halls. Only this time it will be to board and fly the inaugural departing flight. Despite NOT securing early access like some others in our space, I was fortunate to be selected for a preparedness simulation a full two-weeks before opening day. The gist was simple – make sure everything is up to snuff, allow for a public preview, and even throw some local AvGeeks a bone. It was truly a great day.

An Icelandair Connect De Havilland Canada DHC-8, better knows as a Q400 or Dash 8, taxies to the ramp in Akureyri, Iceland
An Icelandair De Havilland Canada DHC-8, better known as a Q400 or Dash 8, taxies to the ramp in Akureyri, Iceland

Flying domestically in Iceland is like stepping back in time.

Security? Not necessary here. Just check in for your flight at the ticket counter, wait for the boarding call, and get on the plane. No X-ray machines, no body or iris scans, no checks for bottled liquids, etc. Just check your big bags and walk on board with your carryons. A very civilized process in an equally civilized country.

Passengers disembark from an Icelandair 757 (TF-ISV) on the ramp at Akureyri, Iceland

Our flight was from Reykjavik City Airport, RKV, which is right in the center of the capital city, flying to Akureyri in the north of the country, 250km (155 statute miles) by air. The much larger international airport is 50km (30 statute miles) to the southeast, in Keflavik. We were a group of six; five of us from various media outlets, and our very capable and patient Icelandair media wrangler.

Icelandair’s domestic route map is shown via the blue line – Image: Icelandair

Icelandair has two 76-seat DHC-8-400s and three 37-seat DHC-8-200s in its fleet; they acquired them in March of 2021 when the airline purchased Air Iceland Connect to create an integrated domestic/international route system.

The last-ever 747, N863GT, departs from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its delivery flight.
The last-ever 747, N863GT, departs from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its delivery flight

It’s the end of an era, one that revolutionized travel and brought the world closer together. After the Feb. 1, 2023 delivery of the last 747 built – a 747-8F registered as N863GT to Atlas Air – no new 747s will ever again depart from Boeing’s manufacturing plant in Everett, Washington.

Every AvGeek knows the story of the 747. Designed and built by the Incredibles – the group of engineers and mechanics and line workers who, in the late 1960s, created an unusual-looking airplane that would, in its way, change the world.

Thousands of Boeing employees, visitors, and guests fill the enormous manufacturing plant that housed the 747 assembly line.
Thousands of Boeing employees, visitors, and guests fill the enormous manufacturing plant that housed the 747 assembly line

Boeing held a two-day event to commemorate the delivery of the final 747, to Atlas Air. Thousands of people were in attendance for the event, filling a section of the former 747 assembly line, which is being dismantled and the space repurposed.

A few months ago I wrote about a flight in Etihad’s 787 business class. Later in the trip, during a long connection, I got to explore the highlights of the airline’s hub in Abu Dhabi.

Those highlights included a free hotel program for long layovers and a unique US immigration pre-clearance facility. The pièce de résistance was a morning visit to the incredible first class lounge, with a gourmet breakfast, great views of the ramp, and even a cigar bar.

Read on for a walkthrough of Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub, and for tips on how to take advantage if you pass through the airport yourself.

A young kiddo wearing a santa hat and rides an airplane rocking horse and poses next to a christmas tree topped with a captain's hat.
An enthusiastic Jr. AvGeek is ready for the holidays – Photo: JL Johnson

Every year I’m told that folks like me are hard to shop for. This is surprising since a big part of the whole “AvGeek thing” is travel. So if you’re in a rush, or you’ve been sent this article by the plane nerd in your family, it’s quite simple: Travel.

Travel is the best gift you can give an AvGeek. That’s it. But don’t take it just from me. Numerous studies conclude that money spent on experiences has a bigger impact on happiness than money spent on physical things.

“Create memories, not clutter.”

Marie Kondo (probably, sounds like something she’d say)

Before folks run to the comments, travel doesn’t have to be expensive. With a gift card of whatever value to someone’s airline of choice, or a contribution towards an experience (like those below), I am confident your gift would be appreciated by your AvGeek(s). For those who want to dig into the exciting stuff, meet us below the line…