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22 CHAPTER 4 Innovations The innovations developed through this research effort are Self-service baggage check, a combination of existing approaches that have not been Bag-check plaza, widely implemented and of new methods for improving the Supplemental curbsides, passengers' experience and enhancing operational efficiency. Passenger assistance parking area, Many of the innovations are intended to improve the airport Low-profile passenger baggage devices, experience not only for the average passenger, but also for the High-capacity flow-through elevators, aging population, which is becoming an increasingly important Consolidated meeters-and-greeters area, and consideration for airport operators and planners. The innova- Arrivals lounges tions involve approaches that could be implemented imme- diately, as well as some that may require government approval Process-Based Departures Hall of certain activities, such as self-tagging of check baggage. All of the innovations incorporate methods, approaches, or The process-based departures hall layout shown in Fig- activities that are being implemented in some form at various ure 4-1 is based on the realization that common-use terminal airports throughout the world. equipment (CUTE) not only allows for the sharing of equip- The innovations are intended to serve as a "kit of parts" for ment, but could also affect the layout of the departures hall developing new concepts incorporating one or more innova- and corresponding curbside. In a traditional departures hall tions (see Chapters 5 and 6). Through this approach, airport serving multiple airlines (see Figure 4-1: "Multiple Airlines"), stakeholders will be able to evaluate the innovations based on each airline has its own proprietary equipment at the ticket their need to address specific issues and will also be able to con- counters, as well as its own SSDs. The curbside usually reflects sider how multiple innovations could be combined to enhance the location and extent of the ticket counter frontage of the the overall passenger experience rather than addressing a single individual airlines. At airports where CUTE is used in the de- issue. Because each airport terminal landside is unique in its partures hall, each airline is typically assigned a number of operation and physical layout, emphasis is given to the inno- "exclusive-use" ticket counter positions and has the ability vations as methods to address issues passengers commonly to use other "shared" positions as their passenger demand face rather than prescribing specific solutions that may or requires. Many of these airports provide CUSS kiosks where may not be adaptable to a given airport's terminal landside passengers can check-in for multiple airlines. The curbside sig- facilities. The intent is to ensure that the innovations are rel- nage at these airports usually reflects the locations of the in- evant to a wide variety of situations and airport sizes. dividual airlines. Each innovation is examined in detail in this chapter. In contrast, a process-based departures hall could be The assumptions upon which each innovation is based or separated according to passenger check-in processes rather prerequisite conditions that are needed to make the innovation than by airline (see Figure 4-1: "Process-based"). Using CUTE feasible are identified. The advantages and disadvantages, (including CUSS), the departures hall could be arranged from both the passenger and airport operations perspectives, into three sections: (1) self-service devices where passengers are discussed, along with any challenges to implementation. can print boarding passes, change seat assignments, request The innovations identified involve the following: upgrades, etc.; (2) a self-service baggage check area where passengers can use SSDs to obtain bag tags and deposit Process-based departures hall, their check baggage into the baggage handling system; and Passenger-processing facilities, (3) full-service airline-staffed positions for passengers who

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23 Examples The process-based departures hall layout is not currently implemented at airport terminals serving multiple airlines regardless of whether CUTE is being used. However, single airline terminals--commonly airline hubs--are often split into zones based on the type of service (premium/first-class, domestic, international, etc.), but not necessarily on the pas- sengers' check-in processes (boarding pass, baggage check, or full-service). Having only one airline tenant in a terminal promotes this type of separation because differentiation among airlines is not required. The curbside at these termi- nals typically reflects the same zones as the departures hall. Assumptions/Prerequisites Implementation of the process-based departures hall layout requires that one major component be in place. Each terminal must have a single baggage-screening system with a sortation system downstream of the screening matrix that feeds to in- dividual airline outbound baggage makeup devices (or a common baggage makeup room). If a centralized baggage Figure 4-1. Process-based departures hall. screening system is not in place, the departures hall cannot be separated based on passenger check-in processes because each ticket counter baggage take-away belt would feed to individual need (e.g., elderly/disabled or displaced passengers) or desire screening systems and then require sorting or manual trans- (e.g., premium passengers) interaction with an airline agent. portation to the proper airline, defeating the efficiencies of a The terminal curbside would also be arranged and signed to common-use process and equipment. match this layout. The ideal process-based departures hall layout is based on the assumption that passengers will be allowed to tag their own check baggage. This self-tagging would allow for all of Key Drivers the SSDs (boarding pass and baggage check) to be attended While the ability to "share" may indeed reduce the need by roving agents rather than requiring staffed agent positions for additional ticket counter positions, "exclusive-use" posi- for accepting check baggage. Another assumption is that, since tions require the departures hall and corresponding termi- multiple airlines would be sharing SSDs, either the airport nal curbside to be arranged by airline. This arrangement operator or a third-party would provide the roving agents to often results in inefficient use of the entire departures hall as support these SSDs. The cost of these agents could be split can be seen at many airports where a long queue forms in among the participating airlines. front of one airline's counters and nobody is standing in front of adjacent airline counters. The same is true at the Evaluation curbside. The disproportionate length of curbside assigned Passenger Perspective to a particular airline related to the amount of traffic on that airline causes curbside congestion, especially during peak The process-based departures hall addresses a number of periods. However, because of airline-specific signage at the the issues that passengers commonly face. First, waiting and terminal curbside, passengers are often not inclined to travel queuing would be improved because passengers would be farther down the curbside to a less-congested area. The result able to check in and check baggage at a number of locations, is the same inside the terminal where one area has a concen- a common benefit with current common-use facilities, rather tration of passengers and the adjacent areas are practically than at specific airline facilities. By combining the self-service vacant. With the increasing costs of terminal facility expan- processes (boarding pass and bag check) for all airlines in the sion and the complexity of implementing major renovation terminal, passenger traffic would be more constant, particularly or new construction projects in or around an operating during nonpeak periods when some airlines are very busy and terminal, the need for higher utilization of existing facilities others are not. The aggregate passenger demand would require is greater than ever. fewer check-in positions with a process-based departures hall

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24 than with a traditional layout, allowing for the capacity of the check-in processes rather than by airline. The only portion of departures hall to be increased without expanding the facility. the process-based departures hall that would be affected by Improved wayfinding would be another important advan- airline changes would be the full-service area, and a large tage of the process-based departures hall, in both the departures amount of flexibility would even be maintained there because hall and at the terminal curbside. Often, passengers are con- it would be sized based on aggregate demand and not neces- fused by the excessive signage required to direct the passengers sarily by individual airline requirements. This flexibility would of multiple airlines to their respective areas. The process-based greatly reduce the number of signage changes or cosmetic departures hall would only require signage directing passen- changes commonly associated with traditional multiple-airline gers to the three functional areas so that they would not have terminals. to distinguish the airline they want from a vast array of airline- With a traditional terminal, the airline's position within based signage. Another advantage is that the departures hall the departures hall or on the terminal curbside can be an could be organized so that a passenger who only needs to use advantage if the airline is able to provide a more convenient an SSD could be processed near the SSCP, whereas the same route to the SSCP. The process-based departures hall minimizes passenger in a multiple-airline arrangement may have to pass the potential for an individual airline to have an advantage numerous other airline counters on their way to the SSCP. because all of the self-service functions would be located The biggest disadvantage of the process-based departures together and the full-service functions would be located hall layout is that passengers would be required to adapt to a together. new way of thinking about processing in the departures hall. Rather than simply looking for their airline, passengers would Simulation Analyses have to understand their processing needs. However, it is not unrealistic to expect passengers to understand their process- Initial simulation analyses of the process-based departures ing needs because the increasing numbers of passengers using hall showed a significant reduction in the required number of self-service functions is an indication that they know what check-in positions compared with today's requirements where their processing needs are--that is, passengers understand that each airline operates its own check-in equipment. A simulation they need only a boarding pass if they are not checking bag- analysis was conducted at a terminal section with three legacy gage or that they need to stop in the departures hall to deposit carriers serving just fewer than 2 million annual enplaned their check baggage. passengers and approximately 560 peak-hour originating pas- sengers. At this size airport or terminal, from which several airlines operate with similar peak times, little reduction in the Operations Perspective SSD requirements resulted; however, a 45% savings in the One major advantage of the process-based departures number of full-service check-in positions required did result. hall over the traditional multiple-airline departures hall is Another analysis was conducted for an airport terminal the increased operational efficiency during nonpeak periods. serving just fewer than 7 million annual enplaned passengers At most airports, although passenger traffic is lower during by seven airlines, one of which accounted for nearly half of nonpeak periods, the aggregate traffic flow is relatively constant. the enplaned passenger traffic. This facility processed nearly However, the traffic for any given airline might vary dramat- 2,100 originating passengers in the peak hour. As airline ically throughout the day, causing periods of either severe peak hours do not exactly coincide, a process-based depar- congestion or relative inactivity. This effect also affects the tures hall would require fewer positions for each check-in curbside. As the process-based departures hall combines process--40% fewer full-service check-in positions and at passenger traffic for all airlines, operational efficiency in the least 30% fewer self-service check-in devices. Detailed results departures hall and at curbside would increase because the of these analyses are included in the appendix. amount of check-in equipment or curbside frontage required would be based on total traffic rather than on the traffic of Challenges to Implementation an individual airline. The result is that curbside demand can be balanced with departures hall demand, which is not possi- A significant challenge to implementation of a process- ble with the traditional multiple-airline arrangement where based departures hall is the need for a common baggage- the curb frontage for each airline is commonly based on the screening system with a sortation system downstream of the length of ticket counter frontage and not the amount of vehi- screening matrix that directs bags to an individual airline's or cle traffic associated with that airline. multiple airlines' outbound baggage make-up devices. While Another advantage of the process-based departures hall, this type of system is more common post-September 11, 2001, especially for airport operators, is that the terminal flexibility many airports have either zoned baggage-screening systems is enhanced by the separation of functions by passenger or individual screening systems.