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34 to their outbound gate to catch their flights. Although sign process and add to the cost of facility development. travel time information may assuage passenger fears, short Therefore, given the challenge in raising financial support walk distances are most comforting (as well as less exhaust- for airport facility development, it is critically important ing). Passenger walk distances, or alternatively passenger that the value of these matters to passengers be accurately conveyance systems that reduce travel time, must be an quantified. inherent consideration when evaluating airport develop- ment alternatives. Recommended Further Research · Ubiquitous and reliable flight status information: Informa- tion about the current time, the time required to complete More Data Collection? each successive processing step, and flight status are all The study team did not anticipate that the data collection necessary for passengers to feel that the success of their analysis would fail to identify a relationship between quantity journey is not being threatened. This information must be of space and passengers' perception of LOS. However, further provided so that it is available wherever a passenger may be stuck waiting in the airport. It is also necessary for the pas- review of literature regarding the initial development of the senger to feel comfortable that he/she has time to use airport LOS framework indicated that it was based on fairly limited concessions to acquire food, beverage, or retail items. Pro- research. When the test of the data collection approach was vision of systems that provide reliable flight status informa- completed at DFW and the study team learned that the data tion require cooperation with the air carriers or investment collection study might not support the traditional view of in newly developed systems that rely on FAA-based flight passenger LOS, the study team took a number of measures to status information. Additionally, these systems must be ensure that sample sizes for the quantitative data were ade- located in many areas of the terminal, along the passengers' quate to support study conclusions. Therefore, it is not the routes of travel, or delivered to passengers individually via study teams' recommendation that more quantitative data their mobile communications devices. collection be undertaken. Amenities that reflect a respect for passengers' time and More Effective Survey Techniques needs are another important factor in their high perception of LOS. This is validated by their frustration with long wait Should future researchers desire to complete additional times. If they are expected to wait for long periods in a hold- study on passenger perception of service based on density, the room, they want amenities that allow them to use their time study team's suggestion is that new survey techniques be iden- productively. Such items include spaces where they can work, tified to capture and quantify passengers' experiences and per- plug in their electronic devices, and connect to the internet ceptions. The study team has extensive experience in surveying easily. Therefore, it is important that these concerns be taken passengers in ways that are unbiased, minimally intrusive, and into account when designing and planning holdrooms and objective, and these methods were employed in this research. other airside spaces. However, methods that require a harried traveler to interact The data collection highlighted a special subset of passenger with another person during his or her journey require a level needs: a desire for spaces that provide sanctuary. Passengers' of tolerance that may not be representative of the traveling well-documented preference for clean facilities is certainly a public. Therefore, when passengers do choose to participate fundamental aspect of sanctuary. This includes concessions or in data collection efforts, the data come from two sets of passen- other terminal spaces (in the holdroom or elsewhere) where gers: those who are patient and willing to take the time to speak passengers can wait comfortably for their flights. For some pas- with researchers and those who have been angered by some sengers this may be a quiet place; for others this may be a place incident during their journey that motivates them to speak where they can watch the news/sporting events or listen to about their experience. music. In both cases, passengers need reliable flight status in- The ethnographic methods appear to be very successful in formation so that they can relax and enjoy the activity they discerning passenger perceptions. However, the cost of each have chosen to pass the time. This is the space-related quality data point is significantly high, especially compared to the that influences passenger perception of high LOS--the qual- cost of collecting quantitative data. ity of the space and how well it is designed to respond to their Since the completion of this research, the study team has needs--rather than the quantity of the space. The airport design been looking for new survey techniques. Techniques that em- should include these areas of sanctuary regardless of whether ploy mobile technologies such as questionnaires completed they are included in concessionaires' facilities. and delivered via cell phones and text messaging are promis- All of these qualitative factors that influence passenger ing. Additionally, airports and the TSA are collecting passen- perception have a definite impact on the planning and de- ger wait-time data at airport processing points through the use
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35 of passive Bluetooth technology. The study team recommends ceptions. This approach may be the only way to understand that such techniques be explored and tested for their efficacy what truly influences passenger perceptions. When less-biased, in quantifying passengers' actual experience as well as their more cost-effective survey techniques can be identified, it may perceptions of it. be worthwhile to attempt more data collection to determine The study team does advocate wider use of ethnographic the turning point in the minimum amount of space that is sat- methodology in discerning passenger expectations and per- isfactory to a passenger.