In just eight days the new face of the Tulsa International Airport will be revealed. After more than two years spent on the multi-million dollar project, TIA is joining the ranks of major hubs across the country, offering streamlined services for the passenger in a rush and a row of restaurants and shops for the traveler with some time to kill.
The News on 6's Heather Lewin gives us a sneak preview. Tulsa International Airport is about to become a much more pleasant destination. Airport spokesperson Mary Smith: "As you can see it's already so much brighter, it's exciting you can see airplanes moving around and now you're going to travel."
Say good-bye to dark, drab corridors, the new center of the airport is a window to the world. Also gone are the days of one concourse backed up at a time the other end is virtually unused. Now all ticketed passengers will flow through security at the center of the airport with 5 rows of gates behind bulletproof glass. â€œPassengers will share, the people the machines, I think we'll be able to screen people much faster."
The main gate opens to a 600 foot walkway featuring 17 new food/beverage/retail outlets. No matter which concourse you're headed for, you'll find a shop or a snack along the way. It's a stroll Smith takes with pride, pointing out TGI Friday's, the Explore Tulsa Museum and a new bookstore and coffee shop.
The idea is for travelers' first impression of Tulsa to be bustling and bright. The changes aren't just for ticket holders, if you're stuck on the other side of security waiting on a visitor, a whole new set of shops and snack places will cater to you as well. Some of the waiting area improvements are farther down the road, including new arrival lounges with wireless Internet.
Smith says the changes are fitting for a terminal with 5-million visitors per year. "First of all, it makes us aware of what we have right here in Tulsa, before a lot of people had little feeling about the airport, it was just the airport, this is something to be proud of. As far as customer service, this is what our customers have been wanting."
The security gates and several businesses are set to open next week. The food court and arrival areas will be completed this summer.