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88 6.1 Customer Experience As travelers transition from landside to airside, they may be presented with a larger, more architecturally complex environment through which to navigate. This is especially the case in large airports with more than one level and multiple concourses (Harding et al. 2017). They may also need to decide whether to use an automated people mover, often requiring a change of level. Not knowing the distance to the gate may increase anxiety levels if they are unable to walk very fast, and some may not be able to use the moving walkways installed to help passengers cover longer distances along concourses. For travelers who are sighted, signage and airport maps are the key source of information and wayfinding. However, when signage is cluttered, has low-contrast fonts, or displays uncommon symbols, a typically useful source of information can become an obstacle. Signage may also be blocked when viewed from a seated position in a wheelchair or scooter. Such an impediment can be checked by including people who use mobility devices during a periodic self-evaluation. The Wayfinding Accessibility Audit Checklist from ACRP Research Report 177 can be used to evaluate wayfinding and accessibility in concourse and gate areas (Harding et al. 2017). The second most common method of wayfinding after signage and other visual cues is the use of information desks, staffed by airport employees or volunteers (Mein et al. 2014). Travel- ers with disabilities want to navigate independently through the airport. However, there is still a need to have access to a human for help. Older travelers, in particular, prefer asking older vol- unteers or airport ambassadors for help as they find adults in their age bracket more approach- able (Mein et al. 2014). ACRP Research Report 177 also emphasizes the importance of verbal assistance to this segment of the population (Harding et al. 2017). Some airports provide infor- mation counters airside, as well as landside; others may instead have roving ambassadors. Not knowing how to get help when needed can contribute to stress during this part of the airport journey. User Needs Survey respondents were asked what services are needed in the terminal but are currently unavailable. Among the top responses were: â¢ Staff training for service providers on how to best assist someone with a disability and their service animal; â¢ More accessible restrooms, seating areas, counters, and kiosks; â¢ Enhanced digital signs and maps; and â¢ More SARAs. Individuals who request wheelchair or escort assistance from check-in to their gate may have difficulties at several points of this journey segment, depending on how the assistance is pro- vided. In the United States, travelers receiving wheelchair assistance who are ambulatory may C H A P T E R 6 From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 89 be transferred after Security from a wheelchair to an electric cart. This mode of transportation is preferred by some who dislike using a wheelchair, while others have difficulties getting in and out of the cart and prefer one-on-one wheelchair service. The latter also allows the traveler to stop at a restroom en route. If it is too early and the gate number is not known, these passengers may be taken to a staffed hold room. Amsterdam Schiphol states on its website that passengers receiving wheelchair assis- tance are helped to shop and visit restaurants, but this is not the case in most airports. Although it is discriminatory under Air Carrier Access Act Part 382 regulations to make passengers sit in hold rooms to receive service, it still happens. If the traveler needs to use a restroom, companion restrooms are preferred, since the compact space means there is less distance to walk after getting up from the wheelchair. Individuals who are blind also prefer companion restrooms, since such restrooms are easier to navigate and have more space for guide dogs. They are also quieter for people with autism. Wait time for acces- sible stalls can be long, especially in womenâs restrooms, as everyone prefers the larger stalls and may even use them to change clothes. Some airports put a wheelchair sign on those stall doors, indicating that travelers using mobility devices have priority. Once at the gate, the service provider leaves the passenger in the wheelchair if the flight will board shortly or in a standard seat. If a gate change occurs, the gate agent calls the service provider dispatch to request assistance. But, if the gate is not yet staffed, this can be a stress- ful situation for an individual who is aware of the change but has no way to reach the service provider. Companies who use the passenger assistance software described in Chapter 12 will automatically receive the gate change notification and dispatch a new agent as quickly as staff availability allows, but the traveler may be unaware of how these systems work. Passengers left at the gate may also be stressed if they need to use the restroom but none are nearby or if they cannot walk even a short distance. The Air Carrier Access Act Part 382 requires service providers to check on individuals who are nonambulatory every 30 minutes, but this can seem like a very long time if an urgent need arises. Once again, having a means to contact the company would help. For individuals who are blind or have a cognitive disability and have been escorted to the gate, similar stresses may arise. A best practice is for service providers to point out the locations of nearby restrooms or food outlets so that these travelers can be more independent while waiting. 6.2 Moving from Security to the Gate Once through Security, passengers receiving wheelchair assistance from a service agent may continue in the same chair or choose to transfer to an electric cart. Carts allow quicker and less- costly movement of a number of passengers at once, an advantage that may be unnecessary at small and medium-sized airports. Airport layout and concourse size may also preclude their use or render them unnecessary at some large airports and, therefore, necessitate one-to-one service for all customers who need a wheelchair assist to the gate. As discussed in Section 6.1, transit through the terminal presents a number of challenges. All three Open Doors Organization market studies on adult travelers with disabilities found that travelers with any disability type reported a long distance to and between gates as the most com- mon obstacle. Electric cart transit systems are one solution suggested by ACRP Synthesis 51 and are available at several North American airports (Mein et al. 2014). At MinneapolisâSaint Paul International Airport, two service companiesâone serving Delta Air Lines and Air France and the other serving all remaining airlinesâprovide the electric cart
90 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities service in Terminal 1. The âcart stopâ system provides efficient electric cart service to travelers who did not initially request assistance from the airlines butâafter clearing Securityâdiscover that the distance to the gate is too far to manage. Cart stops also serve passengers who requested wheelchair assistance and are physically able and willing to transfer to carts after Security. Cart stops have blue seats labeled with the ISA and are identified by hanging and free standing signs (Figure 6-1). Carts arrive every 10 to 15 minutes. If the need for assistance is more urgent (e.g., if the traveler is in danger of missing a flight), a sign shows a phone number to call and the number of the cart stop. A similar system is also in place at MontrÃ©alâPierre Trudeau Interna- tional Airport (Figure 2-7). London Heathrow is replacing their electric carts with Multimobby carts by Special Mobility, in use for several years at Brussels Airport. The Multimobby seats seven, plus the driver. This design addresses key safety issues for passengers and concourse space limitations, while increas- ing efficiency for service providers. The Multimobby (Figure 6-2) features scanners in the front Figure 6-1. Electric cart stop and sign at MinneapolisâSaint Paul International Airport. Figure 6-2. Multimobby electric cart at Passenger Terminal Expo 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 91 and back to detect people and objects in its path and can maneuver so precisely that it can go into elevators without hitting walls. It is also capable of adapting its speed to the surrounding crowd. Seatbelts are provided for passenger safety, and the cart will not move unless the doors are closed. If the doors are opened while the cart is moving, it will stop immediately. The luggage rack on the back of the cart also has space to store a manual folding wheelchair, including the Mobby wheelchairs used by the service provider. Therefore, if a wheelchair is needed, one is available when passengers arrive at the gate (Special Mobility). The cart is also lower to the floor than many other types of electric carts, making it easier to board and disembark. Multimobby also has a smaller footprint and turning radius compared with standard electric carts. Therefore, more can be deployed in an airport to increase capacity, and it could be suitable for concourses that are too narrow to accommodate standard electric carts. Multimobby might provide a solution for Amsterdam Schiphol, which has reached capacity for the carts it uses. Special Mobilityâs e-Mobby offers similar advantages. It features a platform that enables an atten- dant to stand on the back of the device and can transport up to three passengers at a time by linking individual Mobby wheelchairs and, if needed, a luggage cart (Figure 6-3). Since e-Mobbys are no wider than a standard wheelchair, they can be used in narrow concourses and will fit into elevators that are too small to accommodate electric carts. This makes e-Mobbys feasible for airports where concourses are too narrow for electric carts, such as the McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, or where a connecting tunnel between concourses presents a bottleneck for cart service, requiring passengers to switch back and forth between carts and wheelchairs. If available, automated people movers are a quick and convenient alternative to walking long distances between terminals and along concourses, although they may present their own share of challenges to travelers with reduced mobility. When the acceleration and deceleration of an automated people mover is too fast, older travelers and others with strength or balance issues can easily fall. Unfortunately, seating is typically limited in order to maximize capacity, espe- cially airside. Airports might consider fold-down seating on automated people movers to save space when the seats are not in use. When automated people movers are crowded, getting out in a timely manner may also be difficult. Usually, stops are announced verbally and visually on LED readouts to accommodate travelers with sight or hearing loss. At some airports, a second or third language may be needed to accommodate foreign travelers or local populations with limited English proficiency. Figure 6-3. e-Mobby linked to a second Mobby wheelchair at Brussels Airport.
92 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities If an airport can provide multiple transit options, then travelers can choose what will work best for them. â¢ McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport has been cited as an example of universal design because it offers travelers a choice of walking, using the moving walkway, or taking an automated people mover. â¢ At CincinnatiâNorthern Kentucky International, travelers have the same options. Transit times for each mode are posted online and on site. â¢ The mile-long Terminal 1, Concourse C at MinneapolisâSaint Paul International offers the same three options, in addition to the electric cart transit system previously mentioned. â¢ At Denver International, travelers can use the automated guideway train system to get from security to any of the three concourses. Those flying out of Concourse A also have the option of walking across the passenger bridge that spans the airplane taxiway and then using the electric cart service from there to the gate. As discussed briefly in Chapter 5, problems due to lack of sufficient elevators occur more frequently landside but can also result in delays for passengers using wheelchairsâassisted or notâas they travel to the gate or from gate to gate. Any delay for service agents means a higher cost to the airline or airport, unless the contract is per push. In either case, delays affect the level of service for other passengers waiting for assistance, unless such bottlenecks are factored into staffing. Such delays also result in delayed flights with broader and more costly repercussions on airline and airport operations. To mitigate such problems, London Heathrow has designated an elevator in Terminal 2 as priority for individuals using wheelchairs. At Vancouver International, bi-lane ramps throughout the terminalâwith one side for elec- tric carts and the other side for passengers of all abilities (whether walking, using mobility devices, pushing luggage carts, or pulling suitcases)âconnect the airport levels. This is a good example of universal design. Note in Figure 6-4 the color contrast at the start of each ramp. The ramps have the added benefit of enabling quick evacuation in case of emergency when elevators are out of service. Although not usually thought of as assistive devices, luggage carts and small duty-free carts (Figure 6-5) can make a big difference for any traveler with physical limitations, chronic pain, or balance issues, especially when they must walk long distances while carrying or pulling bags. Few U.S. airports offer these carts airside, but in Europe and Canada the smaller duty-free carts are readily available and popular for more than shopping. Figure 6-4. Pedestrian and electric cart ramps at Vancouver International Airport.
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 93 The Intelligent Airport Trolley, a cart with wayfinding capabilities, was introduced at Pas- senger Terminal Expo 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. The cart is lightweight, is easy to push, and has a tablet with an airport map mounted on the push handle. Travelers can input their start and end points, then follow the directions to their destination. Additional details are provided in Chapter 12. Strollers are also useful in airport terminals, although not very common (Figure 6-6). They would solve a problem that U.S. service providers have raised: what to do about a young child Figure 6-5. Duty-free carts at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Figure 6-6. Childrenâs strollers with a safety harness at London Gatwick Airport.
94 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities who is too large to be in the lap of a parent who is being pushed in an airport wheelchair. A second agent would still be needed, but at least the child could be pushed more safely in a stroller rather than being carried. 6.3 Access to Assistance Assistance call points or other help points along a route are ideal at any major decision point in a terminal for those who need help with wayfinding. Other travelers, including older adults, may think that they can reach the gate without assistance but discover the distance is farther than they thought or realize that they might miss their flight. At London Gatwick Airport, special assistance help points are located along the concourses (Figure 6-7). MinneapolisâSaint Paul International has a similar system along its concourses but without the bold graphics announcing that this is where a traveler can call for disability-related assistance. The MinneapolisâSaint Paul International phone features a list of numbers, includ- ing one for special needs transportation (Figure 6-7). The airport is in the process of making the print information accessible to persons with vision loss, using guidance from its Travelers with Disabilities Advisory Committee. 6.4 Access to Information FIDs are the main source of information for the airport community as a whole. FIDs are used by everyone looking for flight details, whether a traveler, an airport employee, or a visitor picking up a family member. Similar to FIDs, gate information displays (GIDs) provide flight infor- mation such as boarding time and delay notifications for travelers in a specific gate area. Both systems are highly customizable and can perform a number of functions, including displaying Figure 6-7. Help phones at London Gatwick Airport (left) and Minneapolisâ Saint Paul International Airport (right).
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 95 real-time flight information, visual pages, security information and instructions, and promo- tions of facilities and services throughout the airport (Harding et al. 2017). FIDs and GIDs should provide timely, accurate information that is easy to understand and access. To be most effective, FIDs should be located at frequent intervals, in high-traffic areas, and at a height that allows travelers to easily read the content. The bank of FIDs shown in Figure 6-8 allows for a close approach and can be read from either a seated or standing position. Text displayed on FIDs should be in a large font with high contrast to the background color. ACRP Research Report 177 provides an in-depth discussion of best practices for the design and implementation of FIDs and GIDs (Harding et al. 2017). As mentioned in Chapter 5, the 2017 International Code Council 117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities provides the first design guidelines for variable message signs. GIDs are typically located behind the podium at each gate, so travelers cannot closely approach the screen. To compensate, font size should be as large as possible with high con- trast to the background color. Since many travelers miss announcements in the noisy gate area, GIDs should display the same information as much as possible. In the future, voice-to-text GIDs may become a reality, making all gate announcements visible as well as audible. But, this technology would require a major investment by airlines or airports (where gates are common use). In addition to boarding information and gate and flight changes, GIDs can also display visual pages, information throughout the terminal, and other important airport announce- ments. Some U.S. carriers also use a secondary screen to show a seat map, a list of passengers waiting for upgrades, and other details. Discussed briefly in Chapter 2 and Chapter 5, hearing loops are especially helpful in gate areas, especially where poor zoning causes travelers to hear announcements from nearby gates. At a looped gate, any traveler with a t-coilâequipped hearing aid or a cochlear implant would be able to receive announcements for only their own flight. Hearing loops are finally catching on at U.S. airports. The February 2019 article âAirports Getting in the Loopâ reported that the following airports have recently loopedâor are planning to loopâtheir gates (Frazier 2019): â¢ Greater Rochester International (ROC) in upstate New York has four dozen counter loops spread throughout the terminal, as well as in-floor loops installed in its Security area, con- course, and Departure gates. Figure 6-8. FID bank placed for close approach at Philadelphia International Airport.
96 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities â¢ Phoenix Sky Harbor International has looped 15 gates on the South Concourse in Terminal 3 and plans to loop an additional 10 gates on the North Concourse in 2020. â¢ AustinâBergstrom International has looped 12 gates. â¢ SarasotaâBradenton International has looped all 13 of its gates. â¢ Memphis International is planning to install induction loop systems in its concourse and all gates and hold rooms as part of a major modernization program to be completed by 2021. As part of an airport renovation project, Greater Rochester International Airport worked with the Rochester Institute of Technologyâs National Technical Institute for the Deaf to develop and recently unveil state-of-the-art technologies using lighted visual cues. The lighting system illu- minates a different color to indicate an inactive gate (blue), an active gate (white), and boarding activity (green). In addition, overhead colored ribbons have been added to the airportâs con- courses to guide travelers to and from the A Concourse (green ribbons) and B Concourse (blue ribbons) (Figure 6-9). The ROC Renovation Project has also implemented ROCview, a gate camera that allows trav- elers to see their gate on a smartphone or tablet from wherever they are in the terminal by logging into the airport Wi-Fi system (Figure 6-10). Both of Houstonâs airportsâWilliam P. Hobby and George Bush Intercontinentalâhave new, more accessible kiosks that can send directions and a map to a travelerâs smartphone, either after a boarding pass is scanned into the kiosk or after flight information is input. Installed by JCDecaux, these kiosks feature oversized touch screens that are more responsive to the touch and easy to use and read. The screen display has Spanish and English language capabilities, and the screen can be lowered to ensure that it is ADA-compliant. Figure 6-9. Concourse gate lighting (left) and wayfinding ribbons (right) at Greater Rochester International Airport (Source: Greater Rochester International Airport).
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 97 6.5 New Concourse Concessions, Amenities, and Services According to the ACI North America (NA) 2017 Guest Experience Management and Passen- ger Amenities Survey, the fastest-growing amenities at U.S. airports are nursing mothersâ rooms and pods, post-Security pet relief facilities, childrenâs play areas, adult changing and washroom facilities, and airfield observation areas (Airports Council International North America 2017). U.S. airports are also gradually adding sensory rooms and quiet rooms for travelers with autism and other cognitive disabilities. An ACRP research project led by Alliiance is underway that will provide detailed guidance on the planning and design of these new amenities. The resulting report from ACRP Project 07-16: Airport Terminal Ancillary Service Spaces and Restroom Planning and Design is the follow-up to ACRP Report 130: Guidebook for Airport Terminal Restroom Planning and Design (Rothausen- Vange et al. 2015). 6.5.1 Adult Changing Facilities The Changing Places Consortium, a nonprofit based in the UK, launched a campaign in 2006 to encourage public places to build fully accessible restroom facilities that meet the toileting needs of adults with severe physical and/or cognitive disabilities. Standard bath- rooms cannot accommodate adults who are nonambulatory and require full assistance, so their families and caregivers have had no choice when outside their homes but to use the floor as their changing place. At a minimum, Changing Places advocates for a height-adjustable, adult changing table. Other equipment in their branded facilities includes a hoist system for lifts and transfers from a personâs wheelchair to the changing table, ample space for a large wheelchair and multiple companions or caregivers, a centrally placed toilet with room on both sides for transfers, a sink, and a privacy screen (Figure 6-11). More than 1,200 registered Changing Figure 6-10. Landing page for ROCview (Source: Greater Rochester International Airport).
98 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Places facilities are in the UK. Many are located in airports, including London Heathrow and London Gatwick. As the ACI-NA Survey indicates, this campaign has also had an impact in North America, where airports are beginning to build these facilities both airside and landside. At the latest count, seven U.S. airports have at least one adult changing facility (Morris 2019). â¢ The first airport in the U.S. to install changing tables, Phoenix Sky Harbor has 12 nonadjust- able benches throughout the airport, both landside and airside. One adult changing room also has an accessible shower. â¢ BaltimoreâWashington International Thurgood Marshall has three family restrooms with nonadjustable adult changing tables. â¢ Orlando International has height-adjustable adult changing tables in two companion rest- rooms, one airside and one landside (Figure 6-12). â¢ HartsfieldâJackson Atlanta International, Los Angeles International, Pittsburgh International, and Chicago OâHare International each added either one or two such facilities in 2019. The latter is the most accessible to date, as it includes a height-adjustable table, a hoist, a roll-in shower, and a private dressing area. 6.5.2 Service Animal Relief Areas As of May 2016, any U.S. airport with 10,000 or more annual enplanementsâwith some limited exceptionsâmust install post-Security SARAs. Published in 2017 in an appendix to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5360-14A: Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities, the FAA guidelines for such spaces are summarized in Chapter 11, along with design flaws to avoid and additional best practice examples. One of the earliest indoor SARAs is still among the best. At Washington Dulles International Airport, the room in which the SARA is located is divided by a low wall and gate, with a large Figure 6-11. Changing Places toilet with adjustable table and hoist (left) and adjustable-height sink (right) at London Heathrow Airport.
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 99 Figure 6-12. Companion restrooms with an adjustable-height adult changing table at Orlando International Airport. artificial turf on one side and easy-to-clean flooring on the other (Figure 6-13). The fake fire hydrant is located at the back of the space where it cannot snag the leash or trip someone with vision loss. Under the turf is a drainage system that allows the area to be flushed with the push of a button. The BaltimoreâWashington International airside SARA is a great example of functional, accessible, and simple design. The turf relief area is accessible for wheelchair users (Figure 6-14). Figure 6-13. SARA at Washington Dulles International Airport.
100 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities To avoid having a curb like many SARAs, the entire floor of the room is raised to allow drainage underneath, as at Washington Dulles. The L-shaped design allows handlers to position them- selves near their animal without standing on the turf. BaltimoreâWashington International also provides equipmentâincluding a rake, long-handled dustpan, and enclosed receptacleâto assist travelers in cleaning up after their animal and disposing of waste. A sink is located on the other side of the room. SARAs at San Francisco International Airport feature a tactile map enabling travelers with vision loss to familiarize themselves with the space before entering (Figure 6-15). Several airports have found outdoor space airside to locate SARAs. At JetBlueâs Terminal 5 at New York John F. Kennedy International, the SARAâcalled the Wooftopâis under cover in a lounge area on the roof. Los Angeles International boasts several large outdoor SARAs, also located on rooftops. Figure 6-14. Airside SARA at BaltimoreâWashington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Figure 6-15. Tactile map of SARA at San Francisco International Airport.
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 101 6.5.3 Nursing and Lactation Rooms Many airports have added Mamavasâprivate pods for nursing mothersâto their facilities. However, only some have purchased the accessible model, called the âMamava ADA.â If two Mamavas are located next to each other, one is permitted to be inaccessible. The Mamava ADA has nearly double the floor space, allowing for a 60-inch-diameter turning space and grab bars for easy wheelchair access (Figure 6-16). The accessible model also has a permanent shelf and power outlet on both sides of the pod; the original model has one fold-down table and one power outlet. Other airports are building attractive, comfortable rooms for mothers to nurse their babies and/or pump breast milk. Those designed for both uses have a sink, power outlets, a flat surface to work on, a changing table, soft lighting, and comfortable chairs. The rooms lock for privacy and usually have an intercom through which mothers can get a code to open the door. However, this feature would not be accessible to a mother who is deaf or nonverbal. 6.5.4 Quiet Rooms or Spaces For travelers with autism or anyone needing a break from the noisy airport environment, quiet rooms provide a calm retreat while waiting to board. Myrtle Beach International Airport has a quiet room for children with built-in soft furniture and pillows to climb and relax on. Trav- elers at Phoenix Sky Harbor can use the quiet room inside the airport chapel, where child-size chairs and quiet activities are available for children. Other airportsâsuch as MinneapolisâSaint Paul and Vancouver Internationalâhave designated quiet spaces that are open areas in a less noisy part of the terminal. 6.5.5 Sensory Rooms Similar to a quiet room, sensory rooms can provide a calming retreat for travelers with autism and other sensory disabilities, as well as for any travelers needing a break from the airport terminal. The difference between a sensory room and a quiet room is that the former Figure 6-16. Mamava ADA at Orlando International Airport (left) and a nursing room at Halifax Stanfield International Airport (right).
102 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities features special equipment to provide a stimulating or relaxing sensory experience for the user. The type of experience varies, depending on what users need and how they interact with their environment. Sensory room equipment often has cause-and-effect actions, such as a panel of buttons con- trolling multiple lights in the room. This reactive interaction is both distracting and enjoy- able for the user. Padded walls, floors, and climbing equipment help overexcited children avoid injury and provide a soft surface for relaxing. London Gatwick Airportâs well-designed sensory room features some of the soft furnish- ings and interactive elements previously mentioned (Figure 6-17). Additional details on sensory rooms are provided in Chapter 11. Airports such as Vancouver International have begun addressing the needs of travelers with fragrance sensitivities by designating fragrance-free zones and paths through their duty-free zones. Kikori Airport in Papua, New Guinea, part of the Swedavia Swedish Airports Group, offers escort assistance through the airport so travelers can avoid shops that sell perfume. 6.5.6 Pharmacies and Medical Clinics Pharmacies and medical clinics are standard at large airports in Europe, but not in the United States. Both types of facilities contribute to the greater good of the airport community, providing treatment for airport employees and travelers alike. These services are especially useful for travel- ers during connections, flight cancellations, and irregular operations, particularly if travelers did not plan for a long delay and need a certain medication. Both offer a variety of over-the-counter medications, but pharmacies are able to fill prescriptions on site. When the medication is for something critical such as diabetes or heart disease, an on-site pharmacy can provide the traveler with a small emergency supply to get the passenger safely through the flight and to the destination. The following airports in North America now have medical clinics: â¢ Las Vegas McCarran International, â¢ San Francisco International, â¢ Chicago OâHare International, and â¢ Vancouver International. Figure 6-17. Sensory room at London Gatwick Airport.
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 103 Phoenix Sky Harbor and Portland International in Oregon recently opened virtual care clinics, where travelers and employees can have a video visit with board-certified providers. Vancouver International and Calgary International have full-service pharmacies. 6.5.7 Sleeping Suites and Pods Travelers on a long layover, delay, or otherwise spending an extended amount of time in the airport can rent private suites to relax, to nap, or to work. Minute Suites offer spaces equipped with a daybed, pillows, and blankets for travelers need- ing to sleep or to relax. Each suite has a television with complimentary DirecTV and Netflix. Business travelers have access to Wi-Fi and a computer, in addition to a desk and office chair. Depending on the suite type, up to four people can comfortably sleep in each space. In a few locations, travelers can rent a suite with a private restroom or connecting room. Minute Suites are currently available at HartsfieldâJackson Atlanta International, Charlotte Douglas Interna- tional, DallasâFort Worth International, and Philadelphia International. Sleepbox is a self-described microhotel with private pods available to rent when travelers need a space to sleep, relax, or work. In June 2018, Washington Dulles International became the first U.S. airport to offer the Sleepbox Nap Lounge to its customers. Some of the rooms are accessible to travelers using wheelchairs. 6.5.8 Charging Stations Most travelers, regardless of disability, have come to rely on airport-supplied power outlets. Charging stations are now available throughout terminal concourses. In many hold rooms, air- lines are placing these stations among rows of seats for quick access to power. While this is a great convenience for travelers, the design and placement of charging stations often inhibits travelers with wheelchairs from using them. The basic charging station design consists of stand-alone power polesâsome of which have a small table for added convenienceâand power outlets placed at waist level or higher. Travelers with power wheelchairs or scooters may need to charge their device before takeoff, but the outlet placement may be too high for their power cord to reach. To avoid these challenges, charging stations should be located in an area without spatial obstructions (e.g., seating and walls) and with clear surrounding floor space to allow for close approach by any user. According to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, if power outlets are at waist level or higher, another set of outlets should be placed on the lower half of the station at 15 inches from the floor or higher. The unobstructed forward and side reach range to provide access for people in wheelchairs is between 15 and 48 inches in accordance with DOJ 2010 ADA standards, although many individuals may not be able to reach that low or do so safely (Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access 2010). Arconas, a Canada-based seating manufacturer, offers a variety of workspace and seating products and configurations, many of which are customizable and designed specifically for air- ports. Some of these products have a built-in power source; for those without, the inPower Flex unit can be added. The locations of in-seat power outlets vary, but outlets are usually placed on the bottom front and between seats in the row. While this placement does allow for close approach, it can be difficult to maneuver around other travelers occupying these seats. To avoid this problem, power units should also be placed at each end of the row where someone in a wheelchair can easily approach. Additional seating types and configurations are discussed later in this chapter.
104 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities In addition to seating, charging stations can also be built into tables and workstations. The Arconas inPower Bar is a functional workspace with built-in power outlets (Figure 6-18). A wheelchair-accessible model with a slightly lower counter height than the standard model is also available. 6.5.9 Delivery Services Under Air Carrier Access Act regulations, service providers are not required to make stops en route to the gate for passengers to purchase food or beverages. The only mandated stops are at a restroom or a SARA. The ability to order food and drink directly from the gate is an attractive option for people with all types of disabilities. At Your Gate allows travelers to make purchases from anywhere in the airport and have them delivered to their location. Using a mobile application, travelers can browse the menu, place orders, and pay for their purchase at participating restaurants, coffee shops, news and gift shops, and retail stores. At Your Gate is available at Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Terminal 7 and Terminal 8, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, MinneapolisâSaint Paul International, San Diego International, and, most recently, Portland International. Another delivery service, Airport Sherpa, is available at BaltimoreâWashington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Grab allows airport travelers to order food or make a retail purchase and pay for it through a mobile app, then pick up their items at the store. There are 19 airports in the United States and three in the UK with this service. While not a delivery service, Grab addresses the growing issue of inaccessible iPads and other touch screen ordering devices at airport restaurants and fast food eateries. Individuals with vision loss can read a menu or inventory on their phone, pay for their order, and then pick it up without needing assistance in using an inaccessible device. 6.6 Separate Hold Rooms for Assisted Customers Separate hold rooms are sometimes a necessity at an airport but generally are not a place where anyone would want to spend time. If poorly designed, these areas can appear and feel more like a holding pen than a waiting area. After the initial wait for assistance at check-in, there is generally no need in the U.S. for a hold room after Security. Travelers receiving assistance are brought directly to their gate, where they wait until boarding time. However, in Europe, hold rooms in the secure zone are common because gate assignments are only announced a short time before boarding, effectively keeping the general population in the airportâs shopping and dining district. People with disabilities receiving assistance are brought to separate lounges to wait until their gates are announced. At London Heathrow Terminal 5, Figure 6-18. Arconas inPower Bar (Source: Arconas).
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 105 one such loungeâwith a television and comfortable chairsâis located in a quiet area next to an adult changing room. At London Gatwickâs North Terminal, travelers receiving wheelchair or other assistance from the service provider have the option of spending their time in the lounge for travelers with disabilities (Figure 6-19). One of the largest in Europe, the space has been designed like a premium lounge, with a variety of seating options such as raised chairs and chairs with one, two, or no armrests. The space is also equipped with a hearing loop system and lighting that can be dimmed or brightened, depending on the needs and preferences of those in the lounge. The space features numerous power outlets placed at varying heights to accommodate all travelersâ charging needsâincluding those using power wheelchairs and scootersâand acces- sible restroom facilities are nearby. The reception area and check-in desk are staffed at all hours of operation, providing travelers with a consistent help point during their time in the lounge. Those who want to go out to shop or eat are given pagers so that they can be notified when it is time for them to be assisted to the gate. Food can be ordered for delivery to the lounge, which has tables for eating and drinking. 6.7 Hold Room and Furniture Design Although hold rooms have historically been thought of as simply a place to wait for a flight, recent studies have shown that the design of a hold room can have a significant impact on a trav- elerâs pre-flight experience. According to the Passenger Terminal Today article, Comfort Zones, travelers spend an average of 44 minutes at the gate or hold room before boarding (Wordsworth 2015). Customer experience has become a top priority for airports and, as a result, hold rooms are transitioning from a waiting area to a lounge-like environment, designed with the travelerâs experience in mind. This will also benefit individuals with disabilities. HOK, a world leader in airport architecture, focuses on creating a sense of place when working on hold room projects. According to Robert Chicas, global director of aviation and transporta- tion for HOK: Our planning and design approach focuses on the size and proportion of the gate and hold rooms; the placement of podiums; the flow of enplaning and deplaning passengers; the placement and type of seating Figure 6-19. Lounge for assisted passengers at London Gatwick Airport North Terminal.
106 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities and other amenities; the quality of directional signage and public address systems, which is often over- looked; floor/wall/ceiling materials; and the proximity and integration of passenger services and revenue- generating amenities (Wordsworth 2015). United Airlines has redesigned many of their ticket and gate counters to include height- adjustable computer monitors (Figure 6-20). These monitors allow agents to look ahead, rather than down at the monitor, which then allows travelers with hearing loss to read lips or to hear the agent better. The design process took into account input from the United Airlines Disability Advisory Council, which includes members with hearing loss. This design also has ergonomic benefits for the agents themselves. The design of a hold room plays a role in how effective communication is between an airline and a traveler. If the placement of the podium in relation to accessible seating does not allow for clear channels of communication, the traveler is adversely affected. Reserved seating should be located near and facing the counter or podium where announce- ments are made. This placement provides travelers with a clear line of sight to the gate agent making the announcement, while also keeping these travelers visible to airline personnel. There should also be no queueing area between the podium and reserved seating. The crowd of people standing in front of such seats not only is overwhelming but also blocks the travelerâs view of the gate agent and results in missed announcements. There is no requirement in the ADA, Section 504, or the Air Carrier Access Act for reserved seating in the gate area, but domestic airlines at U.S. airports commonly provide reserved seat- ing. However, the Canadian Transportation Agency does have such a requirement in their Code of Practice. They explain that accessible seating placed within viewing distance of podiums and communication boards allows travelers to monitor changes to their travel and have quick access to agents, while enabling gate agents to more easily identify travelers who may need direct com- munication or other accommodations (Canadian Transportation Agency 2007). Reserved seating for travelers with disabilities usually has the ISA symbol on display, but this has been known to deter travelers with other disabilities from using these seats. More inclusive symbols have been created and can now be added to backrests to encourage travelers with any disability to use reserved seating. Among these new symbols are an eye to show vision loss, an ear to show hearing loss, and a person with a cane to show reduced mobility or older adults. London Figure 6-20. United Airlinesâ newly designed podiums.
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 107 Gatwick Airport has all four symbols posted wherever services or amenities for travelers with disabilities are available (Figure 6-21). Arconas offers a number of accessible seating options, all of which may be labeled with the clientâs preferred accessibility symbols. The available symbols are the original universal symbol of accessibility and a new version to depict an active wheelchair user; the symbol for hearing loss; and an image of two people sitting together, one pregnant and the other with a cane. European seating manufacturer Zoeftig offers two additional symbols: a person using a cane and a pregnant woman. Seating configuration can also have an impact on how effective communication is between traveling companions. Reserved seating is typically a straight row of seats as it is easy to place against a wall and does not require much space. However, when planning seating options throughout the rest of the hold room, configurations that position people facing toward each other make it easier for travelers with hearing loss to hear what is being said, to read lips, and to communicate in sign language (Figure 6-22). Chapter 11 includes a section on DeafSpace design, with more information on this topic. Figure 6-21. Special assistance symbols at London Gatwick Airport (Source: London Gatwick Airport). Figure 6-22. Communication-friendly seating at Los Angeles International Airport.
108 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Findings from the 2015 Open Doors Organization market study on adult travelers with dis- abilities indicated a lack of seating as one of the most commonly encountered obstacles in the airport. Seating should be available throughout the airport at all functional areas and at regular intervals along concourses and other walkways (Open Doors Organization 2015). Some seating manufacturers, such as Arconas, have a catalog of customizable furniture designed specifically for travelers with disabilities. The Universal Design Public Furniture series includes the Accessible seating model with optional armrests for lateral transfers and the Reduced Mobility seating model with a raised seat position for those who have trouble sitting or standing. In termi- nals where the Bernu Aero series seating is already installed, Arconas can modify the current model by refitting and raising the seats to create reduced mobility seating (Figure 6-23). Zoeftig has a number of seating models that can be customized for accessibility. The inFINITE, Zona, Zenky, and Zineare models can all be modified into reduced mobility seating, with features including raised-height seating, foldaway armrests, and increased-height armrests. 6.8 Concourse Design for Travelers Who Are Blind or Who Have Low Vision Travelers with vision loss benefit greatly from consistent design when navigating through a facility. When lighting, acoustics, flooring, and layout change significantly throughout the air- port journey, those with vision loss are forced to reorient themselves to each space in order to continue to be independent. In cases where consistency is not possible, every effort should be made to maintain at least some continuity in tactile information. For example, Pittsburgh International Airport concourses were designed with carpeted inte- rior flooring and a tiled exterior border along the full length of each concourse. The hold rooms are also carpeted, but the tiled border extends to create a path from the concourse to each gateâs counter. This design is detectable by a cane so that travelers can use the tile to navigate the con- course and more easily locate their gate. Because the flooring design in each concourse is the same, travelers with vision loss can identify when they are leaving the central Airmall and enter- ing a concourse as opposed to a restaurant or store. Another example of floor texture and color used to create a navigable edge comes from Miami International Airport (Figure 6-24). The airport designed its concourses with dark carpeting Figure 6-23. Arconas Bernu Aero retrofitted seating (Source: Arconas).
From Security Checkpoint to Gate and from Gate to Gate 109 for seating areas against a terrazzo concourse for traffic areas (Harding et al. 2017). For more information, a section on designing for low vision is included in Chapter 11. 6.9 Emergencies and Irregular Operations In an emergency when elevators are out of service in multilevel terminals, providing evacua- tion chairs at each staircase can greatly improve the speed and safety of the evacuation process. These chairs, which can be hung on the wall, are lightweight and foldable and can roll down stairs with minimal effort from the person assisting. A second assistant may be needed to transfer the individual into and out of the evacuation chair. Few airports in the U.S. currently have such devices. Videos of the main types of evacuation chairs are available online. An area of rescue assistance (ARA) is a designated fire-resistant location within a facility where people can go in an emergency. These spaces serve as assembly areas where travelers unable to use stairs without assistance can safely wait for help or instructions from first responders. In facilities without automated sprinkler systems, ARAs are required on each floor above and below the ground level, must be clearly marked, and must have a two-way communication system to a central control point in the building. â¢ Portland International provides ARAs for travelers with reduced mobility, with the location of each listed on their websiteâs Accessibility page. â¢ GreenvilleâSpartanburg International added two ARAs in 2017 (Schechter 2017). Educating travelers with disabilities in advance about what to do and how to help them- selves when emergencies occur is a best practice at Los Angeles International Airport, but it has yet to be replicated at other airports (or it is not publicized outside of their communities). The Los Angeles World Airports brochure, Would You Know What to Do in an Emergency?, is a good model in follow. A set of pictogramsâalso created by the ADA coordinator at Los Angeles Internationalâis used to communicate with people with hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, or who do not speak English (Figure 6-25). The reverse side has a blank space to write a message and basic questions and directions, such as âAre you alone?â and âFollow that person.â Figure 6-24. Floor texture and color used to create a navigable edge at Miami International Airport.
110 Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities Figure 6-25. Los Angeles World Airportsâ emergency brochure (left) and communication aid (right) (Source: Los Angeles World Airports). While irregular operations are not emergencies, they can adversely affect people with dis- abilities and older adults if airports and other stakeholders are not prepared to meet their needs during extended service delays and cancellations. While airlines are primarily in charge of accommodating the needs of their passengers (including those with disabilities during irregular operations), airports also may have important roles to play. A brief discussion on this topic is included in Chapter 10.