Airports 2.0: Visioning an airport experience that works for travelers, vendors and airport owners
Love to travel but hate airports? If yes, then you?re like most people. The word ?airport? just conjures up so many negative emotions ? lines, delays, unhealthy food, and overpriced merchandise.
But it doesn?t have to be this way. Airports should be a fun part of the travel journey, not a necessary evil ? especially since people often spend just as much time in airports as they do on the plane itself.
NB:?Chandra Jacobs is the co-founder of airport mapping app?TripChi.
After years of frustration in airports, I realized something was missing. This something is Airports 2.0?the age of the ?destination? airport that people enjoy visiting, because it?s built around the customer experience. Food & Beverage, and Retail concepts reflect the local culture as well as global passenger taste. As airports are gradually evolving towards this concept, my company, tripchi, is building the technology to guide you on the journey to the new ?experiential? airport.
In this article, I?ll share with you some of my thoughts on the ideal airport experience from arrival into the airport to stepping on a plane.
First of all, the focus should be on getting the traveler from his home or point of departure to the airport in the fastest amount of time possible with the least amount of hassle through multi-modal optimization.
This actually starts with smart city planning, connecting highways and high-speed rails directly into the airport, and having the city be more of an aerotroplis concept: if you haven?t seen Kasarda?s Aerotropolis video, then you are in for a treat.
Aside from reinventing cities as Aerotropolii, there are many things airports still do optimize the door-to-flight problem.
Parking and ground transport
Imagine arriving in the airport by car and being treated to complimentary valet parking services for airport loyalty members, even with the possibility of drop off right in front of your terminal. And of course, self-service trains between parking garages and terminals are a must, complete with flight boards and other airport information to further reduce the friction in the traveler?s journey.
Arrival in the terminal
Imagine entering your terminal to be greeted by a handler of sorts, set up for VIPs, high-value airport and airline loyalty flyers, TSA Pre-Check holders that whisks you away from the masses and in to a separate area to complete all steps of check-in and security processes. For everyone else, consider a single entry point for check-in.
What if all airlines contributed staff to common pool of resources that can process check-ins for any passengers (not just airline specific)?
Of course this idea assumes an airport level unified flight management and ticketing system. The benefit of this process is that resources can be allocated more efficiently across all passengers. The negative is that airlines would cede control of their brand and welcome experience to the airport, and employees to could be even less than motivated to be helpful. It?s an interesting concept to think about though.
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