MISSOULA - A few might still be asking for directions but for the most part travelers appear to be thrilled, and enjoying, the new Missoula Montana Airport terminal.
There was anticipation, but not much confusion Wednesday, as the new terminal began full operations, with thousands departing and arriving in Missoula.
In fact, the airport looked like it had been operating for a year, not just a day, with passengers effortlessly moving through new features like self-check-in, expanded ticketing, and expanded security checks. And if they had to wait, what a place to do it! Local restaurants are offering a variety of fare, or snacks on the way through.
Even David Letterman will be able to get a "lovely beverage" if he flies through the Garden City.
"As far as layovers go, this is the nicest one I've had. It's very relaxing. It's nice to just sit out here, enjoy the view, have a beer, I'm going to be honest, and just relax. There's a fireplace right behind me," said David Highlender from Houston. "And it says what? It's 59° right now so it's just perfect. Absolutely perfect."
"It's pretty interesting. Exciting. Because I've been coming here for what? 50-years? And I like the old simple airport too but times have changed," observed Frances Abbey of Ronan. "And this is a good readiness for what's coming with the population and everything. It's very nice."
Outside of the stunning design of the new terminal, perhaps the best feature is the amount of space which has plenty of room for people on the move.
And with all the details complete, people can now appreciate all the finishing touches ranging from the river "wall" behind ticketing, to the aviation map in the public observation lounge. The elevator is large enough for a forklift of luggage if needed and the new terminal has special facilities for pets.
"I looked at the schematics, online and everything. So, little by little they kept building it up and it looked to be pretty cool," said Gabriel Shaffer who is a fan of aviation. "So, when we came here I was very excited to see, after three years of waiting, it's kind of a big thing to finally have this project done."
"He has been following the whole process of building the airport, right? So he told us, check on Facebook because they opening it tomorrow. So here we came, and family, we went around, check all the levels. And then we visit the old one. Sad. It was sad, but you know, it's time for change too," Missoula mom Juanita Shaffer told MTN News.
When asked if he was hoping to maybe someday work at a place like the Missoula airp[ort, Gabriel said, "we'll see. I just like airplanes. And just everything related to them."
It is something we'll all feel using this terminal for years to come.