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23Â Â C H A P T E R 3 This chapter presents a summary of the travelerâs perspective of the airport departure jour- ney along with suggestions for addressing key issues and challenges. The traveler comments presented in this chapter are intended to be illustrative of the kinds of experiences travelers may encounter during their airport departure journey. The departure journey includes activities that precede departure for the airport, arrival at the terminal for departure, pre-security activities, the security experience, and post-security activi- ties. FigureÂ 18 represents the departure journey and summarizes some of the desired outcomes Departure Journey Figure 18. Summary of outcomes desired by travelers for the departure journey.
24 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience expressed by travelers at each journey point. More detail on each journey point will be provided in this chapter. An example of how airports may assess traveler emotions is provided in the chapter and is one source of information that can help airports gain a deeper understanding of their traveler segments. However, each airport needs to analyze their travelersâ perspectives and emotions to identify the needs/issues specific to it. 3.1 Navigating the Chapter In this chapter, five journey points for the departure journey are discussed: activities prior to departing for the airport, arrival at the airport for departure, pre-security activities, the security experience, and post-security activities. For each journey point, travelersâ perspec- tives are presented in a graphic (see an example of this graphic following this paragraph) that first shows the perspectives of the general traveler population (composed of similar feedback shared by four or more traveler segments). Individual traveler segments that shared unique concerns or feedback are presented next. The graphic shows the results of an emotional risk analysis to identify which segments might be at greater risk of experiencing negative emo- tions at the various journey points. By analyzing the potential for a traveler to experience a negative emotion, airports may identify the root cause of the negative emotion and thereby be able to correct the circumstances and create a better experience. For each journey point, the graphic is followed by a discussion of actions that airports can take to address the issues at that journey point.
Departure Journey 25Â Â 3.2 Activities Prior to Departing for the Airportâ Travelersâ Perspectives Activities prior to departing for the airport include research to obtain information related to travel (using the airport website and/or airport app or contacting the airport) and also participation in special programs/tours of the airport, etc. Travelers may also conduct research to determine alternative modes of travel to the airport. I. Perspective shared by the general traveler population â¢ There should be more information that is easily accessible on whom to contact at the airport and how to contact them to get an expeditious response on the information needed or assistance required. â¢ Information on airport services/amenities, wait times, flight information, gate locations, directory/map, special assistance, etc., should be available. â¢ Flight arrival time/baggage claim information not always accurate on the website. â¢ The airport app needs to be promoted since travelers are not always aware it exists and/or aware of the benefits it provides. â¢ Travelers prefer to download the airline app over the airport app since it provides them with more information; however, airport information is not always accurate/up-to-date on the airline app. Business travelers â¢ Availability of advance information that may delay the journey. â¢ Ease of access to information on security wait times, flight times, delays, etc. â¢ Accuracy of information on website/mobile app. â¢ Ability to determine the fastest mode of transport to the airport. â¢ App where travelers can provide feedback; also promote app so that people know itâs available and how to access it. â¢ Text messages to alert travelers to high traffic volumes at the airport, flight times, delays, last boarding calls. Families with children â¢ Ease of access to information related to childrenâs play areas, family restrooms, nursing facilities, restaurants with family- friendly seating, food options for children, etc. â¢ Ease of access to airport customer service. â¢ Ease of access to pre-arranged meet and assist services. â¢ Would benefit from a pop-up/easily accessible information on the website noting family restrooms and amenities on the maps on airport websites. Military travelers â¢ Accuracy of information on website/mobile app. â¢ Ease of access to information on amenities available to military personnel. â¢ Doubt/frustration with the accuracy of information on the website/airport mobile app. Business travelers Families with children Infrequent travelers Military travelers Non-native English speakers Travelers with disabilities Senior travelers Solo/couple travelers Student travelers High risk Medium risk High risk II. Perspectives unique to individual traveler segments Emotional Risk Level Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments
26 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience Travelers with disabilities â¢ Ease of access to information related to wheelchair services, clarity on entity responsible for providing wheelchair services. â¢ Ease of access to airport customer service. â¢ Ease of access to airport directory/map. â¢ Ease of access to pre-arranged meet and assist services. â¢ Most likely traveler segment to use app/website. â¢ Airport directory indicating where things are located, whom to contact to get assistance at various points in the journey, and information on how to get from point A to B. â¢ Advance information on who is responsible for providing assistance Medium risk â¢ Availability of airport tours/programs for travelers with disabilities. â¢ Accessibility of airport website and airport app for blind/low-vision travelers. to the gate and identification of the level most suitable for drop-off/pick- up. â¢ Easy-to-find information on the contact, availability, and accessibility of wheelchair services. â¢ Service allowing a traveler to request additional services when booking tickets and sharing this with airports. â¢ Offer tryouts or âdry runsâ of the airport. â¢ Blind/low-vision travelers: information on the website/app to be accessible through the use of text tags on pictures/maps to know what information they contain. Voice notification on apps indicating which level of the airport the traveler is on. Senior travelers â¢ Ease of access to a live customer representative. â¢ Level of airportâs reliance on technology. â¢ While many travelers rely on phones/technology, seniors donât always know how to use these tools and end up getting lost. Medium risk Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments 3.3 Activities Prior to Departing for the Airportâ Actions for Airports The activities prior to airport arrival are often overlooked because airports tend to focus on the experience at the airport itself. However, addressing travelersâ expectations before they get to the airport can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety experienced by travelers at this journey point and set the mood for the rest of the journey. The following provides guidelines on ways that the airport might address some of the needs expressed by travelers. 3.3.1 Improve Access to Information by Providing Various Means Through Which to Contact Customer Service Travelers need better access to information and services. This can be accomplished through some of the following actions: â¢ Making it possible to reach the customer call center or call center staff through a phone call, chat, email, or text. All of these options should be available in multiple languages, and staff should be adequately trained to assist unique traveler segments. â¢ Using various mobile applications to communicate with travelers such as WhatsApp. For example, Spirit Airlines now allows customers to purchase tickets and make changes to their flights via WhatsApp. Airports need to conduct an analysis to determine the value in offering this service for their respective airport based on the demographics of their travelers.
Departure Journey 27Â Â 3.3.2 Improve Access to Information via the Airport Website A user-friendly airport website needs to include information pertinent to the traveler. Traditionally, airport websites have focused on the things that are interesting to the airport, not to the people who access it, i.e., travelers. Shifting the focus of the website to provide information valuable to the traveler can help change/build a relationship with the customer. Based on the needs expressed by travelers, providing pertinent information with quick or easy access can help enhance the travelerâs experience prior to arrival at the airport (see TableÂ 5). The website home page should contain information on the airportâs COVID-19 safety measures and requirements together with a link to the CDC website and TSA Cares program for the latest guidelines. In addition, information on the availability of rapid testing should be provided. For example, as of SeptemberÂ 29, 2020, United Airlines offers rapid testing at a number of airports; alternatively, passengers can request a mail-in test several days before boarding to avoid a possible 14-day quarantine requirement at their destination. (Image source: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport )
28 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience (Image source: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport website) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport website: Easily navigable website Provides key information desired by travelers up front including security wait times, TSA PreCheck hours, parking reservation, services for travelers requiring extra assistance, and directions getting to/from the airport Pull-down menus offer further information in an easily accessible one-click format General Traveler specific â¢ Flight status. â¢ Security wait times at each checkpoint and/or terminal. â¢ Immigration wait times at each terminal. â¢ Traffic information, including directions and time from current location to a specific drop- off point at the airport via different modes of transportation. â¢ Parking availability, cost, and reservation (if applicable). â¢ Meet and assist service booking. â¢ Customer service contact and languages (call, chat, text, email). â¢ Use of chatbotsâanswers related to questions travelers may ask are pre- programmed and included in the website. â¢ Alerts/important information. â¢ Link to directories and maps of restaurants, services, facilities, etc.: â Interactive maps (For example, the Houston Airport Systems website). â Visual 3D maps. â Virtual experience (For example, Munich Airport website). â Directional map (For example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is developing a map directing users to suitable options based on which traveler segment they belong to). â¢ Accessibility is a crucial element of the user experience. Websites should be accessible regardless of hardware, software, language, location, or user ability (Bates, 2019b) to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) has created a user-friendly, ADA-compliant website to provide an optimal and self-service experience for all its travelers. â¢ Include contact and other information on wheelchair services. â¢ Multilingual options for airports with a large number of travelers from a specific region. â¢ Include information on airport layout, childrenâs play areas, family restrooms, nursing facilities, stroller availability, etc. â¢ Include reliable and up-to-date information on amenities available to military personnel such as United Service Organizations (USO), along with contact information. â¢ Include information on wheelchair services and family-sized restrooms. â¢ Airline lounge location, mail drops, and/or business centers. Table 5. Key information for a user-friendly website.
Departure Journey 29Â Â 3.3.3 Improve Access to Information Through a Mobile Application Although in the research travelers indicated a preference for using the airport website over the airport app, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2019 Global Passenger Survey, the use of smartphone apps is on the rise. FigureÂ 19 displays passengersâ preferred options for receiving notifications. However, according to the 2017 ACI-NA Guest Experience Management and Passenger Amenities Survey, less than half of the responding airports in North America had an airport app. The number was small even among the large airports. Travelers tend to gravitate more toward airline apps than they do to airport mobile apps, but travelers using an airline app may have limited and/or outdated information on the airport. Therefore, the following practices are important. Provide Easily Accessible Information If the airport has its own app, the information should be easily accessible and be provided from the travelerâs perspective. Determine what travelers are searching for and build the applica- tion around what they need to know. Provide an Integrated App Solution Work in closer collaboration with the airlines, the TSA, and other business partners to have a platform with complete information that creates a seamless digital experience. The challenge is coordinating with multiple business partners that provide information in different formats and quantities and the ownership of the data. One way to facilitate this is for airports to allow internal and external developers to access their application programming interfaces (APIs) and open data. SITAâs Air Transport IT Insights 2018 reveals that by 2021, API platforms facilitating access for development and open data sharing are projected to be commonplace. Around 70% of airports expect to have an API platform for internal use and/or a platform for both internal and external use (SITA, 2018). Whether an airport chooses to provide its own app or work with a partner to provide the information, the information needs to be consistent, complete, reliable, and up-to-date no (Image source: IATA 2019 Global Passenger Survey ) Figure 19. Preferred options for receiving notifications.
30 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience matter which platform the user chooses. Also, additional marketing is required to educate the public that the airport app is available, is free, and has valuable information. Some airports have opted not to have an app. In this case, the airport can consider partnering with independent app providers such as iFly Pro, GateGuru, MiFlight, Airport Transit Guide, and FlySmart while ensuring reliability and accuracy of the information being provided. Integrate Airport Apps with Airport Signage In the research, travelers indicated that they were not even aware that an airport had a mobile app, in many cases, and those that used the service indicated that oftentimes the appâs location- based services were not fully synchronized with physical signage. Airport apps should be a part of the airportâs marketing program to its constituency, and apps should be seamlessly integrated with airport signage. Use Scannable Bar Codes The use of signage with scannable bar codes throughout the terminal can significantly improve the customer experience. Using the camera feature on a mobile phone, the traveler can scan the bar code to download the airportâs mobile application, which should contain information per- tinent to the travelerâs journey, including location-based services. Travelers have expressed a need to have assistance when they need it. An app can be a great tool to provide assistance at the âpush of a buttonâ and provides the traveler with the desired control over their experience if the app is developed and disseminated correctly. Provide Apps That Are Downloadable in Different Languages World-class airports offer the ability to download airport apps in the languages of the key regions they service. Where feasible, this feature can be considered by airports that have a large portion of travelers who speak different languages. Provide Apps with Location Information Airport apps should contain information on the location/directions to restaurants, retail out- lets, and other services/amenities. The app can provide online menus and the ability to order online for gate delivery, as well as share concession offerings as the traveler moves along their journey. Through the use of global positioning system (GPS) technology, the app can be used to help passengers navigate to key locations (such as the nearest restroom or terminal exit) fol- lowing step-by-step directions. In addition, the ability to adjust language, font size, image size, volume, and other sensory elements can assist travelers with disabilities. The airport may also The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is currently in the process of exploring the use of a âPlatform Agnosticâ concept, which allows the information it provides to run equally well across more than one platform (for example, mobile, text, print, etc.). This integrated solution will allow the airports to provide real-time, reliable, and end-to-end information through a variety of media at the travelerâs fingertips, which ultimately reduces stress. PLATFORM AGNOSTIC CONCEPT
Departure Journey 31Â Â consider partnering with app providers that offer visual interpretation of the space through a smartphone to aid blind/low-vision travelers. 3.3.4 Provide Ability to Pre-Book Parking Spaces Travelers would like to have more control over their experience arriving at the airport, particularly with parking. Providing an opportunity to reserve parking spaces eases the arrival at the airport. An airport can offer this feature on its website and mobile application or via a third-party service. Providing this service also allows the airport to collect valu- able customer data that can be utilized for tailored commercial services such as promoting amenities at the airport or offering discounts at concessions based on the travelerâs route to their gate. Airports may also consider a reward program for frequent users, which provides the airport more information about their customers. 3.3.5 Provide Personalized Options to Travelers for Their Journey Addressing the travelerâs desire to have greater control over their journey early on may be accomplished by providing personalized options to travelers, including the best mode of trans- portation to the airport given current traffic/parking conditions, as well as directions from their home to a specific part of the airport. An easily accessible map of the airport layout or information on restaurants, shops, services, and amenities available at the airport, including directions on locations and distances from gates, would benefit travelers. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has partnered with AIRA (a software solution for people who are blind/low-vision) to provide free access to AIRA subscribers. The software uses smart glasses fitted with a camera to stream live video and the userâs location to a remote agent, who provides the user with step by step directions through the airport. (Image source: HartsfieldâJackson Atlanta International Airport )
32 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience The Singapore Changi Airport website has a section dedicated to key promotions and zoomable maps allowing the user to determine how close their desired stores/amenities are to their gate. In addition, it provides an itinerary of things to do at the airport depending on the length of the layover. (Image source: Singapore Changi Airport ) The London Luton Airport website provides a customized user experience by providing help getting to and from the airport using a wayfinding decision tree which gives travelers guidance on the best mode of transportation to the airport given origin, visit purpose, traffic, etc. (Image source: London Luton Airport website)
Departure Journey 33Â Â 3.3.6 Offer Complimentary or Pre-Paid Meet and Assist Service A number of airports worldwide offer a pre-paid meet and assist service. Some U.S. airports provide this service at no cost. For a fee, an enhanced version of this service can be offered to provide personalized assistance to the gate or from the gate to departure point. Some airports are piloting this service to determine whether people are willing to pay for it. There are various concierge and VIP programs offered through cardholder programs and other service providers with which the airport can partner. The key is making this information available to the traveler. 3.3.7 Offer Specific Programs/Extra Assistance to Help Alleviate Stress Airport Familiarization Tours A number of airports provide opportunities for the community to learn more about the airport prior to traveling by offering airport tours. One example is a program for infrequent travelers or families who want to take their children to the airport to learn more about the airport and travel experience. Airports also use tours as an opportunity to solicit feedback for improvements/address traveler needs or inform the community about upcoming construction or changes in travel movements through the terminal. Airport tours may also be offered via an online video experience. (Image source: CVG website) Sensory Rooms/Pods Providing sensory rooms/pods may help to alleviate some of the stress from the journey for certain travelers by providing them with the ability to regulate the amount of sensory input. Since the rooms are only effective when being used by one person/family at a time, an airport may offer an advance registration service on its website to help manage the usage. Portable sensory kits can also be made available, which can be used during the journey to extend the calming effects.
34 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience Rehearsal Programs There are currently at least 15 airports nationwide that offer ârehearsal programsâ that are designed to help ease the anxiety of travelers with special needs. These programs are typically scheduled and are offered anywhere from monthly to biannually by the various airports implementing them. 3.3.8 Assist in Easing Stress Related to Pre-Trip Activities According to a recent survey conducted by airport lounge access provider, Priority Pass, packing for the holidays ranked among the five most stressful stages of traveling through an airport, even though it has little to do with airports themselves (Berti, 2019). To alleviate some of the stress prior to arrival at the airport, the airport may provide a link to apps or websites (such as PackPoint, the Vane, or Packing Pro) that have several features for trip preparation including checklists of trip essentials to keep track of packing. 3.4 Arrival at the Airport for Departureâ Travelersâ Perspectives The arrival at the terminal for departure begins with the entry to the airport through various modes of transport and includes parking, transit to the terminal by tram/shuttle, drop-off, and curbside service. (Image source: Miami International Airport website)
Departure Journey 35Â Â I. Perspective shared by the general traveler population Wayfinding â¢ Limited notice on when to change lanes in advance of needing to do so. â¢ Airport arrival signage confusing; improve quantity, size, and clarity of airport arrival signage. â¢ Signage to promote airport apps. â¢ Construction signage. â¢ Notice on airline entry point best for access. â¢ Ability to get in and out of the airport quickly. Parking â¢ Advance alerts when parking is full; difficulty finding parking. â¢ Ability to park closer to the actual terminal/closer long-term parking. â¢ System indicating how many parking spots are available on a particular level. Transport and connectivity â¢ Improved transport and connectivity to the airport and within the terminal. â¢ Easier access to terminal from ride-share and public transit. â¢ Improved access to terminal from parking lots to avoid having to cross busy roadways. â¢ Automatic trolley service from parking to the terminals; more shuttle buses. â¢ Assistance transporting luggage from public transportation to the terminal. â¢ Rental car facility in close proximity to the airport instead of boarding a bus. â¢ More public transportation options. Curbside â¢ Less overcrowding at curb; improved traffic enforcement at drop-off. â¢ Larger/wider/more space at drop-off zones. â¢ Drop-off zones based on flight times and priorities. â¢ Preference for curbside check-in (business, senior travelers). â¢ Free luggage carts. â¢ Offer valet parking. â¢ Knowing in advance which drop-off point is best according to the departure gate. Customer service â¢ Someone directing travelers to check-in/next stage of the journey. â¢ A human available to respond as required to customer needs. II. Perspectives unique to individual traveler segments Emotional Risk Level Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Business travelers â¢ Clarity and placement of road signage and ease of navigation to the terminal, rental car return, or parking. â¢ Ease of rental car return. â¢ Frequency and reliability of shuttle service. â¢ Strong need for improved signage to rental car return, as well as more frequent/reliable airport shuttles. â¢ Indication on the availability of parking spots, pricing of various parking Business travelers Families with children Infrequent travelers Military travelers Non-native English speakers Travelers with disabilities Senior travelers Solo/couple travelers Student travelers Medium risk â¢ Availability and ease of parking. â¢ Amount of time it takes from airport arrival to next journey stage. â¢ Availability of gas stations in close proximity to the airport. options in one place, closer parking to the terminal, and curbside check-in. â¢ More gas station options when returning rental cars to reduce the likelihood of price gouging and better signage indicating where these facilities are located. Families with children â¢ Availability of human help at curbside. â¢ Availability of assistance with bags when boarding shuttles. â¢ Accessibility to luggage carts. â¢ Extra assistance with luggage upon arrival, a designated parking/waiting area where assistance is available to those that need it, and an additional person to assist with boarding and unloading from buses and shuttles. â¢ Given the challenges families with children may experience carrying extra baggage, they are more likely to want the option to park closer or have closer access to the terminal. High risk
36 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience Military travelers â¢ Clarity and placement of road signage to the terminal. â¢ Availability of parking. â¢ Amount of time it takes from airport arrival to next journey stage. â¢ Availability of gas stations in close proximity to the airport. â¢ Level of perceived security at the airport. â¢ Expressed concern with the seemingly low level of security near drop-off and check-in areas. â¢ Frustration with poor signage or lack of signage on arrival and difficulty with finding parking. â¢ Need access to more gas stations to provide more competition and incentivize lower prices. Travelers with disabilities â¢ Availability of human help at curbside. â¢ Availability of assistance with bags when boarding shuttles. â¢ Availability of parking close to the terminal. â¢ Level of staff empathy for and awareness of needs of travelers with disabilities. â¢ Availability of audio guidance technology. â¢ Would benefit from staff available or third-party services for a fee (or available on request) to provide guidance from parking/curbside to the check-in counter. â¢ Stressed importance of training staff to have more empathy and awareness of the needs of people with disabilities and conversant English language skills. â¢ Frustration with being neglected by those assigned to take care of them at various points in the airport journey. â¢ A large number of blind/low-vision travelers expressed frustration with staff providing assistance always assuming and insisting that they required a wheelchair; they would prefer to be asked first if they required one. This group would also benefit from the use of audio technology/auditory signals for wayfinding. High risk High risk Senior travelers â¢ Airportâs management of traffic, construction, and/or lane closures. â¢ Availability and ease of parking. â¢ Frequency and reliability of shuttle service. â¢ Availability of âshort-legâ transportation to the terminal. â¢ Availability of human help at curbside. â¢ Golf carts or other types of vehicles and/or trains or shuttles in parking lots for transportation to the terminal, as well as service to handle luggage from public transportation when there are long distances. â¢ More assistance on arrival (parking and curbside) with baggage and directing passengers. â¢ Restrict ride-share Uber/Lyft and shuttles to specific lanes. Student travelers â¢ Clarity and placement of road signage. â¢ Airportâs management of traffic, construction, and/or lane closures. â¢ Ease of access to and navigation of terminal. â¢ Frequency and reliability of shuttle service. â¢ Access to free luggage carts. â¢ Expressed challenges navigating the amount of traffic entering the airport. â¢ More and clearer signage. â¢ Better regulation on how long a car can wait at pick-up/drop-off. â¢ Better information on construction, and/or lane closures via signage and the airport app. â¢ Someone to assist with directing traffic when it is congested. â¢ Free carts for luggage and closer drop-off points to the terminal. Medium risk High risk Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments
Departure Journey 37Â Â 3.5 Arrival at the Airport for Departureâ Actions for Airports The arrival at the airport is the travelerâs first impression of the airport and can set the tone for the rest of the journey. The following are actions the airport can take to improve travelersâ experience upon arrival at the airport. 3.5.1 Improve Wayfinding on Arrival at the Airport and in the Terminal One of the key issues described by travelers is signage upon entry to the airport and to the terminals from parking and ground transportation. â¢ Advance signage. Providing digital signage further in advance will help give drivers enough time to make lane changes. In addition, markings on the road itself far enough in advance allow people to know which lane to be in to get to where they need to be. Advance information on construction, traffic, lane closures, and availability of parking spaces (including informa- tion on the website and app) is also helpful to travelers so that they are not caught off guard when they arrive at the airport complex. An audit of all signage relating to traffic flow through the airport can guide the airport in understanding existing traffic flow and signage issues and identifying blind spots. â¢ âBreadcrumb approach.â Providing people with only the information they need at a particu- lar point will reduce the likelihood that they will be overwhelmed with signage. â¢ Floor graphics. Providing graphics on the ground in the parking garage and other transit facilities to show where to walk to get to the terminal reduces the need for overhead signage, which can sometimes overwhelm travelers. â¢ Clear recovery signage. In the event of a missed turn, clear recovery signage is important to direct travelers back to the desired point. â¢ Improved design features. Various design aspects can be used to influence passenger flow and highlight decision points along the way. â¢ Use of more digital and dynamic signage. Wayfinding at airport entry, parking, rental cars, employee parking lots, cell lots, and throughout the airport journey requires more dynamic digital signage, which can be updated at a momentâs notice to respond to changing conditions. â¢ Use of a passenger app. An interactive airport GPS mapping system can help guide travelers along their journey to the gate or desired location in the airport with an indication of the time to get there. Since apps are dynamic, airports can make quick changes to better direct travelers around new construction and key decision points. The app can include recommendations for the traveler about whether the airport shuttle or tram or walking would be the fastest option once the traveler inserts a destination. â¢ Partnership with navigational apps. Airports may consider partnering with navigational apps. For example, Google Maps has a walkable map of the entire terminal complex at Denver International Airport, which could be incorporated into the airportâs website link. â¢ Standard wayfinding language. For standard wayfinding language, industry-wide collabora- tion and agreement would be required so that passengers would see the same words, symbols, or directions at all airports nationwide. All traveler segments expressed a desire for more signage; however, more signage is not always a solution. Too much signage may overwhelm the traveler even more. Airports could conduct an audit of wayfinding/signage from the travelerâs perspective to ensure adequacy, strategic place- ment, and effectiveness at decision points.
38 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience 3.5.2 Address Existing Parking Challenges While Preparing for the Future of Self-Driving Cars Airports are working to resolve issues with parking availability at the same time they are responding to the growing trend of using transportation network companies (TNCs) and the future trend of self-driving cars. Even though the trend suggests fewer travelers will be parking at the airport in the future, airports still need to accommodate current parking needs. Passenger services such as advance parking reservations, valet parking, and drop points for a meet and greet service are a growing trend. Some approaches to addressing parking challenges are the following: â¢ Reservations for parking. Refer to Section 3.3.4. â¢ Assurance that parking is still available. Provide advance digital signage indicating available parking and the location of the next closest options. This information can also be offered on the airport app or website. Smart signage can be used to communicate dynamic content such as wayfinding guidance, maintenance alerts, and product/service branding (see FigureÂ 20 for an example). â¢ Parking guidance system. Travelers have indicated that a parking guidance system using a light to indicate which individual spaces are available in a particular row is very helpful. How- ever, it is a costly solution to implement and maintain, and therefore it may not be a suitable option for all airports. 3.5.3 Improve Experience with Alternative Means of Getting to and Transiting Within the Airport â¢ Offer various transit options within the airport complex: â Travelers have indicated a desire for closer long-term parking. This is challenging due to infrastructure already in place for many U.S. airports. However, improved transit options (Image source: Park Assist ) Figure 20. Smart signage.
Departure Journey 39Â Â (including availability and reliability) can alleviate some of the pressure on parking spaces and provide a viable option for travelers going to and coming from the airport. A number of airports (mainly outside the United States) have resolved this challenge through the creation of multimodal transportation hubs. Los Angeles International Airport is the most recent U.S. airport to have created a multimodal hub facility. If transfer from an external facility is quick and efficient, and this is communicated adequately, then travelers may not feel the need for parking to be closer to the terminal. â Seniors have expressed a desire for golf carts or other modes of transport to be available to transfer them from parking lots to the terminal, especially when it is too short a distance for a shuttle but too far for some to walk. Autonomous pods, self-driving vehicles, automated sidewalks, shuttles, and trams may be viable options to address this need. â¢ Explore the future trend of self-driving vehicles. Self-driving vehicles may also be a transit option in the future. McCarran International Airport is conducting a trial to provide self- driving vehicles for pick-up and drop-off of passengers at the airport. â¢ Improve ground and public transportation options. Most world-class airports (such as Changi Airport, Schiphol, and Munich) have direct rail connections to the airport, which have resulted in the growth of adjoining âairport cities.â U.S. airports would benefit from such interconnectivity. Airports such as Orlando International Airport and Newark Liberty are creating dual air and rail hubs. Newark Libertyâs vision is to create a new airport city with inter-rail connections. â¢ Improve shuttle service: â Enhance the reliability of shuttle service and optimize frequency based on demand and traffic. â Provide wait time information for shuttles and buses using digital signage and/or the air- port app. Providing digital signs indicating shuttle arrival times and the names of stops, as well as a digital map on shuttles (similar to subway trains) showing all upcoming stops, can help with easing traveler uncertainty. A number of travelers have also suggested providing music in the shuttle to reduce anxiety, reduce the perception of long transfer time, and cre- ate a more calming experience. (Image source: Salt Lake City International Airport )
40 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience â Provide adequate shelter at shuttle stops and other waiting areas. Travelers have expressed a concern that waiting areas for ground transportation and taxis are often outside without adequate shelter. Boston Logan Airportâs new ride-share space provides shelter from the elements, including localized heaters in the winter. â¢ Provide customer assistance telephones in parking lots and/or a phone number linked to customer service. Travelers have indicated that when they call the phone numbers provided by airports they are sometimes directed to an answering machine. If a customer assistance line is provided, it must be staffed at all times because the traveler expects that they will get help when they need it. â¢ Provide signage to the nearest restroom facility at the terminal. Several traveler segments indi- cated a desire for restrooms in the parking lot of airports. However, due to infrastructure, main- tenance, and security challenges, this is not an option for most airports. Instead, the airport can utilize signage at strategic points in the parking lot (such as next to elevators or at access points to walkways) directing travelers to the closest restroom facility, with an indication of the walk time. 3.5.4 Improve the Curbside Experience A recent J.D. Power study indicates that the ideal airport arrival experience is being dropped off as quickly as possible at the terminal. A slow drop-off occurrence alters the whole experience. For less traffic congestion and less crowded curbside drop-off, the following elements are important: â¢ Trained traffic enforcement. Personnel trained in traffic enforcement and customer service could improve traffic flow and enhance the customer experience with traffic enforcement officers providing directional aid when possible. â¢ Multimodal transport hubs. For airports with constrained curbside space due to older designs, the creation of a multimodal transport hub could greatly alleviate curbside conges- tion. Some airports are choosing to completely renovate their curbsides. However, both solu- tions require significant investment. â¢ Innovations in managing ground transportation. Integrate the intermodal transport infor- mation system with the flight information display system (FIDS) so that travelers can have access to information about arrival and departure of trains and buses, or provide additional display signage indicating locations and arrival and departure times. â¢ Simplified access to TNCs (i.e., ride-sharing services). A review of Californiaâs airport bud- gets revealed that charging ride-share fees more than made up for the decline in revenue from rental car companies and parking (see FigureÂ 21). Simplifying access to TNC services can positively impact the customer experience (see FigureÂ 22). Figure 21. Los Angeles International Airport revenue from cars.
Departure Journey 41Â Â â¢ Designated waiting area for vehicles. Provide adequate and clear signage for waiting areas. â¢ Valet parking service. Offering or expanding valet parking service provides an added layer of comfort to travelers who are in a hurry or prefer to leave the vehicle in a more convenient location. â¢ Commercial vehicles separated from private vehicles wherever possible. Assigning differ- ent lanes to commercial vehicles and private vehicles will help ease curbside congestion. â¢ Advance information on best drop-off points. By providing advance information on the best drop-off points through signage, the airport website, the airport app, and/or other third- party apps, the airport can help travelers better prepare for their journey. 3.5.5 Offer Different Levels of Customer Assistance Certain traveler segments, such as families traveling with children, travelers with disabilities, and older travelers may expect full service upon arrival at the airport. In some cases, such as provision of wheelchairs, the airline or a third-party provider is responsible for providing the service. However, research indicates that the traveler still assumes it is the airportâs responsibil- ity; therefore, better collaboration among the airport, the airline, and the ground handlers on handling special service requests is essential to ensuring that traveler needs and standards for services are being met. Some of these services are the following: â¢ Pre-paid concierge service. This service may be made available at no cost to travelers with disabilities or to VIP customers and others who are willing to pay for the service. â¢ Volunteer or paid customer experience staff or program. Extend or implement a program to assist passengers throughout the journey including curbside. A number of airports utilize volunteer or paid staff programs that have been very successful. â¢ Multilingual customer experience representatives who can provide in-person assistance where required. This department or representative can serve the dual function of logging and monitoring all complaints and requests in order to help develop and/or improve their customer feedback database, as well as assist the airport planners in developing more intuitive design solutions to address recurring issues. â¢ Staff trained to respond to the needs of unique traveler segments. Provide staff with training on empathy and how to address the needs of the airportâs unique traveler segments. Staff, such as shuttle drivers, may also be trained to assist travelers with luggage or special needs when possible. â¢ Promotion of airport mobile app (if available) through signage or use of the FIDS, as well as other screens displaying non-aviation-related information (e.g., airport app, visual paging, directional signage, etc.). An interactive app San Francisco International Airport has a patented ride-share tracking app that allows for better roadside planning and management of ride-sharing operations. Several other airports have created a designated ride sharing drop-off and pick-up area. (Image source: SFO) Boston Logan Airportâs new ride-share space offers checked baggage service for domestic flights and wheelchair assistance. A ârematchâ service allows for drop-off and subsequent pick-up of another passenger. In compliance with ADA, there is an option where travelers with disabilities can opt to be dropped off curbside. (Image source: Boston Globe) Figure 22. Examples of airports that are simplifying TNC services.
42 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience can provide easy access to customer assistance by linking travelers to the airportâs customer service department or desk (directly through the airport app or through the use of scannable bar codes) with an option to communicate via live chat, voice, or in person. â¢ Installation of virtual desks. The use of virtual desks can reduce the need for a human inter- face while still offering a personalized experience by allowing travelers access to a real person remotely. (Image source: John Wayne Airport ) (Image source: Bates, 2020)
Departure Journey 43Â Â â¢ Customer service staff with tablets and/or mobile devices. The tablet can be used to translate, request and log wheelchairs, or provide other assistance. Pop-up customer ser- vice desks or mobile, roaming ambassadors can be particularly helpful during peak travel periods. â¢ Provision of lanyards to travelers with hidden disabilities. The use of dedicated lanyards to identify passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, or hearing loss acts as a discrete sign for staff that additional support or help may be required by the individual wearing it. The use of a sunflower lanyard has been implemented in several airports. An airport may choose to use the sunflower as an easily identifiable symbol or choose another image as a symbol (see FigureÂ 23). To assist with funding this program, the airport can approach various non-profit organizations for travelers with disabilities. â¢ Use of robots or holographs. Some airports have robots or holograph assistants available at various points throughout the airport to assist travelers with information. 3.5.6 Provide Additional Luggage Assistance Additional luggage assistance could include the following: â¢ Free luggage carts. Travelers in this and other research studies have consistently expressed annoyance with having to pay for luggage carts. In this research effort, non-Native English speakers, in particular, expressed a desire to have free luggage carts available upon depar- ture and arrival. This is likely because most international airports offer this as a free service. U.S. airports can consider a business model similar to that used by other international airports of providing free luggage carts through offering advertisement on the carts to inter- ested parties. â¢ Provision of luggage carts in convenient locations. Seniors, travelers with disabilities, and families with children may benefit from having access to luggage carts in more convenient (Image source: hiddendisabilitiesshop.com.au/ ) Figure 23. Example of a sunflower lanyard.
44 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience locations such as the perimeter of parking garages and lots because it can be challenging for travelers to navigate baggage when they have physical limitations or children. Airports need to review liability issues if they are providing luggage carts in these areas, as well as consider costs versus increased customer satisfaction. â¢ Baggage assistance. Several airports have partnered with third-party services to provide bag- gage assistance using staff in highly visible uniforms. â¢ Remote baggage pick-up or drop-off. Refer to Section 5.10.4. 3.5.7 Enhance Collaboration with Service Providers on Airport Property Enhance collaboration with service providers such as the following: â¢ Gas stations close to the airport. Some travelers expressed a desire for more gas station options nearer to the airport rental car returns. While this is a valid concern, and some airports are addressing it, it is a challenge to implement at most airports given the capital investment, availability of land for that purpose, and local business ownership issues. Partnerships in which gas station providers provide infrastructure and management while an airport provides the land can result in an acceptable resolution to this issue. Memphis International Airport has indicated plans to build a food and gas plaza near its cell phone lot. â¢ Car services. As a convenience for passengers, some airports also provide additional services on the parking deck such as tire rotation, car wash and detailing, and so forth, which may be reserved in advance through collaboration with service providers. â¢ Pet boarding facilities. As an additional convenience for travelers, several airports are offer- ing pet boarding facilities on or near the airport through collaborative efforts with service providers. 3.5.8 Create an Inviting Airport Entrance Through Landscape and Architectural Features The design of a terminal and the surrounding landscaping and environment can help create an inviting ambiance for travelers arriving at the airport, making them feel welcome (see FigureÂ 24). (Image source: Grundhauser, 2019) Figure 24. âBamboo Tunnelsâ at Deputado LuÃs Eduardo MagalhÃ£es International Airport (SSA) in Brazil.
Departure Journey 45Â Â 3.6 Pre-Security ActivitiesâTravelersâ Perspectives Pre-security activities include check-in; pre-security services; and amenities including concessions, restrooms, and experience with customer service counters. I. Perspective shared by the general traveler population Food/beverage, retail, and amenities â¢ More food options pre-security, including sit- down restaurants in which to spend time with loved ones. â¢ Check-in luggage at ticket counter instead of going to a different area. â¢ Locate baggage drop-off line further from the kiosks to avoid overcrowding. â¢ Better and more reasonably priced food options, prices comparable to vendors outside the airport. â¢ Amenities/attributes that help passengers relax before security: welcome center, nourishment station, holiday events, trees, plants, fountains, airy spaces, less noise and music. Check-in facilities â¢ More self-check-in kiosks. â¢ More engaging and spacious (wider) check- in lines, organized lobbies that donât look hectic. Customer interface â¢ Friendlier and more helpful staff at check-in and pre-security in general, have more staff available to help move things along faster and make lines shorter. â¢ Improved wheelchair services. â¢ Reduced language barriers. Signage â¢ Better and more dynamic signage on where to check-in and drop off bags and where to find mail drop, amenities, restrooms, and points of interest pre- and post-security. II. Perspectives unique to individual traveler segments Emotional Risk Level Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Business travelers â¢ Effectiveness of queue management. â¢ Availability of special advantages for frequent fliers such as priority lanes, priority check-in, etc. â¢ Level of customer service training and empathy of staff. â¢ Inexperienced, rude, and/or poor customer service; disorganized lobbies; and long lines checking bags. â¢ Some had a smooth and easy process and were impressed with the visibility and efficiency of gate and flight monitors. â¢ Greater focus on frequent fliers. Military travelers â¢ Availability of food and beverage in general. â¢ Availability of healthy food options. â¢ Availability and accessibility of USO lounge. â¢ Expressed frustration with the lack of food options prior to security, especially when flights are late and the USO is closed. When military travelers are on official travel, boarding passes are typically not issued until 1â2 hours before boarding and, therefore, military travelers have to remain pre-security until they receive their boarding passes, leaving little or no time to get food and/or use amenities post-security. â¢ Several indicated they were not aware that the USO lounge was available until they heard it on an announcement or a staff member Business travelers Families with children Infrequent travelers Military travelers Non-native English speakers Travelers with disabilities Senior travelers Solo/couple travelers Student travelers Medium risk High risk approached them; signage would also help create more awareness.
46 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Travelers with disabilities â¢ Availability of accessible kiosks for travelers with disabilities. â¢ Availability of human assistance. â¢ Level of training, empathy, and sensitivity of staff in assisting travelers with disabilities. â¢ Size and availability of signage. â¢ Availability of audio guidance technology. â¢ Frustration with staff not being adequately trained in understanding the needs of persons with various disabilities. â¢ More efficient meet and assist services, simplification of the baggage check process, and training of airport and airline personnel on the needs of people with disabilities. â¢ Accessible check-in kiosks for travelers with disabilities and a simplified bag check process would also enhance the experience. â¢ Expressed annoyance with staff insisting they sit in a wheelchair even though they didnât want and/or need to and at being left waiting on a bench for someone to come and assist them (feeling of abandonment). â¢ Blind/low-vision travelers expressed a desire for bigger signs and auditory signs and AIRA access (mobile application for blind/low-vision travelers). Desire that staff be able to anticipate needs of this group of travelers (i.e., watching for travelers who might need extra assistance). Senior travelers â¢ Availability of sit-down restaurants pre- security. â¢ Availability and ease of access of information booths. â¢ Accessibility, efficiency, and friendliness of wheelchair services. â¢ Availability of human assistance. â¢ Availability of restaurants and food outlets in which to spend time with loved ones pre-security before departure. â¢ Improved wheelchair services and interaction with travelers. â¢ Better cooperation between the airline and the airport with regard to wheelchair and customer assistance. â¢ May also require additional assistance with loading baggage onto the scale. â¢ Perception that there are insufficient information booths. Student travelers â¢ Level of optimization of check-in facilities. â¢ Ability to print bag tags at home. â¢ Availability of remote bag drop. â¢ Ability of airport to create a sense of place. â¢ Optimize check-in facilities and provide ability to print bag tags at home. â¢ More seating pre-security, create more holiday events, and have a festive ambiance during holidays. Medium risk Medium risk Medium risk 3.7 Pre-Security ActivitiesâActions for Airports An airport can take the following actions to address the needs expressed by travelers at the pre-security journey point and improve their experience on the landside area. 3.7.1 Include More Food Options and Sit-Down Restaurants in the Departure Hall Pre-Security Most travelers, particularly seniors, non-native English speakers, and families with children expressed a desire for more food options and sit-down restaurants pre-security. People who have PreCheck designations are also making more time to eat pre-security, as well as employees and meeters/greeters. However, it is a challenge for pre-security concessions to be profitable, given the current travel environment, where travelers want to get past security as quickly as possible. In most cases, pre-security concessions at airports are not profitable unless there is a
Departure Journey 47Â Â culture of families and friends being part of the arrival and departure experience. Nonetheless, options for addressing this need include the following: â¢ Review the cultural demographics of the airportâs local community to determine whether pre-security restaurants are desired. The results will vary by airport location and will depend on cultural community demographics. â¢ Identify the potential customer base and analyze the potential revenue stream from pre-security concessions. This can help determine the optimal number of customers and concessions needed to be profitable in collaboration with concession business partners. â¢ Rotate food trucks and/or temporary mobile food carts at certain times of the day pre- security. This option is low cost, provides local food and beverage operators an opportunity to test a new concept, offers flexibility, and can be tailored to provide local/unique food options on a rotating basis. 3.7.2 Provide More Affordable Food Options Efforts to provide more affordable food options could include the following: â¢ Discounts and loyalty programs. Offer discounts and customer loyalty programs to help lower the cost of food and drinks through the airport app or by partnering with airlines to send pre-flight emails. Push notifications on the mobile app as the traveler moves through the terminal can deliver the most relevant offers. These programs have the added benefit of promoting use of the app. â¢ Provide vending machines with fresh food options. This may be used at other journey points throughout the airport. For example, âSally the Robotâ at Buffalo Niagara International Airport serves vibrant, forward-thinking meals via a touchscreen interface 24Â hours a day, 7Â days a week. Customers can create their own salad with ingredients and flavors from a variety of cuisines (see FigureÂ 25). HMSHost introduced a mobile food cart at Chicago OâHare Airport that delivers food and beverages to travelers at their gate. Airports may consider introducing a similar concept pre-security. (Image source: Baskas, 2016)
48 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience 3.7.3 Create a Better-Organized Departure Hall The following elements can contribute to a better-organized departure hall: â¢ Self-service kiosks and automated bag drop. Self-service kiosks (to print boarding passes, scan passports, and print bag tags), as well as an automated bag drop, can significantly improve the speed of processing travelers. Some airlines provide their own departure control system, a feature allowing passengers to print their bag tags at home. â¢ Accessible kiosks. The U.S. DOT mandates that 25% of kiosks must be accessible by DecemberÂ 12, 2023 (U.S. DOT, 2017). While some airlines have expanded the avail- ability of accessible airport kiosks, available information suggests that no airline has yet achieved the 25% mandate set by the U.S. DOT. Improving collaboration with air- lines to ensure the availability of accessible kiosks and adequate signage and wayfinding directing travelers to them would help alleviate some concerns raised by travelers with disabilities. â¢ Remote check-in and baggage processing. Many airports and airlines are beginning to offer remote check-in and baggage drop-off, baggage pick-up services, and/or baggage delivery services to the destination. Refer to SectionÂ 5.10.4. â¢ Design aspects. Provide quiet spaces, workstations, childrenâs play centers, and so forth that incorporate natural elements as part of the overall design. â¢ Improved communication with travelers on available check-in and baggage-drop options. Improve marketing to reach travelers and direct them to use self-service check-in and baggage-drop kiosks or remote locations. â¢ Providing a seamless journey through collaboration among airports, airlines, and third parties. Collaboration with the airlines to offer document-free processes such as biometric recognition, at-home printable baggage tags, and automated baggage drop can contribute to improving the customer experience. (Image source: Shafer, 2018) Figure 25. âSally the Robot.â
Departure Journey 49Â Â 3.7.4 Improve Customer Assistance Provide training to increase empathy for and understanding of the needs of unique traveler segments by â¢ Providing training to wheelchair operators and all those with a direct customer interface to understand the needs and preferences of the diverse travelers being served. â¢ Developing a coordination plan between the airportâs customer experience department and the airlines or third-party providers to ensure the wheelchair experience is seamless and meets customer expectations. 3.7.5 Communicate Availability of Services â¢ Improve access to information. To address needs expressed by military trav- elers regarding the USO, make periodic announcements and provide more prominent signage on the availability of USO lounges. In addition, staff could be more proactive in directing military personnel in uniform to the USO. â¢ Use information kiosks and directories. The use of 2D or 3D information kiosks and direc- tories with dynamic wayfinding capabilities can direct travelers on where to go based on their current location. However, information on where the kiosks are located and how to use them should be explicit; research shows that travelers often donât know where to find them and how to easily use them. Directories should include information on where less-commonly used services, such as postal services and dog relief stations, are located. â¢ Use video walls. Use video walls behind check-in counters to relay information. Allow flex- ibility to tailor the information to indicate the counter is in use or to provide the time of the next flight for that counter. (Image source: LG Digital Signage Displays Welcome InforComm 2019 Attendees) Orlando International Airport has installed large videowalls behind the check-in counters, which function as a dynamic digital canvas that displays airline branding, flight information, and checkpoint wait times. The videowalls help mitigate the resistance towards common-use counters by providing airlines with an adequate space for branding. When certain sections are not in use by airlines, the videowalls provide information such as wayfinding, videos, entertainment, and are also used for branding the airportâs âOrlando Experienceâ.
50 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience 3.7.6 Collaborate with Airlines to Enhance the Experience for Frequent Travelers Creating a seamless experience requires the airport to collaborate with its business part- ners. Several sources of research indicate that many business travelers avoid the check-in counters and prefer to get through security as fast as possible. However, the research con- ducted in this study suggests that a number of business travelers still want and expect a human touch and exclusive customer service, given their loyalty and frequency of travel. In collaboration with the airlines, airports can address the needs of these travelers by providing adequate priority check-in counters, kiosks, or baggage drop-off locations in more acces- sible and convenient areas. By embracing a hospitality concept and operating like a âlink in the chain of a hospitality ecosystem,â airports can distinguish themselves as world-class (interview with Agatha Kessler, Fentress Architects, January 2020). Examples include concierge- style ticketing, casual furniture, and upgraded amenities at check-in (âWhat Makes a World- Class Airport?â 2015). 3.7.7 Create an Advocacy Committee for Travelers with Disabilities To adequately address the needs of travelers with disabilities, airports need to instill the values of accessibility and inclusion into the culture of the organization. An internal or exter- nal ADA committee allows the airport to secure regular input from community members with disabilities and other interested parties on issues or initiatives that impact travelers with disabilities. 3.7.8 Create a Sense of Place and Provide Entertainment Create a sense of place and provide entertainment with the following: â¢ Holiday events, local culture, and arts. Holiday events and promotion of local culture and arts create a sense of place and have been well received at airports around the country. â¢ Schedule of events. Offer a schedule of events taking place in the local community on the airport website and mobile app and at information counters using visual displays. 3.8 The Security ExperienceâTravelersâ Perspectives The uncertainty of how long it will take to get through security can significantly increase a travelerâs stress level. While the TSA is a separate entity from the airport and operates accord- ing to its own rules and regulations, there are aspects of the security process the airport can influence. According to research conducted by ICLP (since rebranded as Collinson) in 2016, efficient security has the power to positively influence 77% of travelers (Neuser, 2019) (see FigureÂ 26). In one airport case study (McKinsey Quarterly, 2016), customer satisfaction had more to do with the behavior of security personnel than with time spent in line (see FigureÂ 27). Further research has revealed that attitudes toward the security checkpoint are not neces- sarily influenced by the technology, but by the human element. Many travelers experience a lack of emotional intelligence (EI) and friendliness on the part of the checkpoint staff. Ultimately, travelers desire a personal experience versus a feeling of being âprocessed.â (Note that participants in the research were instructed not to comment on the actual security clearance process itself; but rather on their experience waiting in line and customer service.)
Departure Journey 51Â Â (Source: Neuser, 2019) Retail Choice & Concept Food & Beverage Parking / Transportation Security Figure 26. Airport influencing factors. (Source: McKinsey Quarterly, 2016. Image credit: McKinsey & Company) Figure 27. Airport security issues make up four of the top 10 consumer complaints about airports.
52 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience I. Perspective shared by the general traveler population Signage/instructions â¢ Provision of signage indicating wait times for processing through security lines. â¢ Better advance instructions to travelers on what to do so that they are prepared when they get to the front of the line. â¢ Signage with terminals and gate information after security. â¢ Play a recording of TSA instructions rather than having a TSA agent delivering the instructions. Customer service/personnel â¢ Train TSA agents to be more understanding and empathetic, helpful, friendly, and happy. â¢ Avoid yelling out instructions as it increases stress levels. â¢ Train TSA agents to avoid cultural biases. â¢ Improve wait times with adequate staffing and equipment to manage the line. â¢ Require TSA to pass customer service tests and offer a complaint line for travelers to call. â¢ Provide more staff to direct travelers. General â¢ More lines and checkpoints, better-organized lines, expanded area so it is not as crowded, and a longer conveyer belt to provide a head start on getting items ready instead of rushing at the very end. â¢ Better management of stanchions at security lines so that people donât zig-zag around lines when there isnât anyone in line and so that travelers donât perceive âunfairnessâ when reshuffling lines. â¢ Most travelers indicated that having entertainment in line would be too distracting and would slow the line down further. â¢ More information on why bags or containers are selected for additional screening. â¢ Greater transparency in the process. â¢ More liquid dumping stations. â¢ Adequate space to ârecover.â II. Perspectives unique to individual traveler segments Emotional Risk Level Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Business travelers â¢ Available information on closed checkpoints and wait times. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Available lanes to accommodate different traveler needs. â¢ Ability to redirect travelers to other security checkpoints with shorter lines. â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Number of lanes and staff members manning the lines. â¢ Appearance of fairness when reshuffling lines. â¢ Consistency of security process. â¢ Described security process as long and painful; expressed desire for the process to be streamlined and TSA staff to be trained on customer service issues. â¢ Signage should be posted on which checkpoints are closed (include on website and airport app) and whether travelers can access only certain checkpoints or all (depending on gate number); information should be explicit so that travelers donât waste time trying to find a shorter line. â¢ Private screening firm instead of TSA as the perception was that a private firm would more efficiently and effectively screen all travelers. â¢ Shared the perception that having entertainment while in line would slow down the process. Business travelers Families with children Infrequent travelers Military travelers Non-native English speakers Travelers with disabilities Senior travelers Solo/couple travelers Student travelers High risk
Departure Journey 53Â Â Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Families with children â¢ Number of lanes and staff members manning the lines. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff, volunteers, and airport staff. â¢ Adequacy of staff training to deal with unique traveler segment needs. â¢ Availability of verbal and visual instructions on the security process. â¢ Appearance of fairness in screening travelers from all cultures/backgrounds. â¢ Availability of lanes to accommodate different traveler needs. â¢ Engagement of children in the queue. â¢ Adequate ârecoveryâ space after screening. â¢ Desire more entertainment in lines to keep their children distracted. â¢ Recommend training staff on the needs of family travelers (specifically for those carrying baby formula and/or milk, car seats, and strollers). â¢ Better accommodations and/or expedited lines for families with small children. High risk Infrequent travelers â¢ Verbal and visual instructions available on screening process; availability of advance instructions. â¢ Clarity and speed of screening instructions. â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Signage indicating appropriate lanes to stand in. â¢ Information available on wait times. â¢ Clearer instructions on the screening process and for staff to speak more slowly and not yell. Military travelers â¢ Respectfulness and friendliness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Consistency of security process. â¢ Adequacy of staff training and ability of staff to deal with the unique needs of military travelers. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Adequacy of ârecoveryâ space after screening. â¢ Expedited lanes for military travelers. â¢ Line for people without baggage. â¢ More adequate space after security to ârecover.â â¢ TSA staff needs to be more empathetic and better trained to handle travelers with metal in their bodies. â¢ Several travelers indicated that they have presented their Wounded Veterans card, which alleviates the need for them to go through extra security, and it isnât always accepted by TSA staff. â¢ A number of travelers commented that security staff were rude or disrespectful to them when they were in their military uniform. Non-native English speakers â¢ Appearance of fairness in screening travelers from all cultures/backgrounds. â¢ Consistency of security process. â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Adequacy of staff training to deal with unique traveler segment needs. â¢ Verbal and visual instructions on screening process available; availability of advance instructions. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Signage indicating appropriate lanes to stand in. â¢ Availability of information on wait times. â¢ Balance between human touch and technology. â¢ Better organization of lines and a designated family lane. â¢ In favor of having some kind of distraction to make the time go faster. â¢ May be at a greater risk of experiencing profiling at the security checkpoint. Travelers with disabilities â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Adequacy of staff training and ability of staff to deal with unique traveler segment needs (e.g., how to handle service animals). â¢ Number of lanes and staff members manning the lines. â¢ Security screening was a stressful process in general and indicated the need for more staff available to direct people, particularly those that canât read the signage, and more consistency in the process to better know what to expect. High risk High risk High risk High risk
54 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments â¢ Availability of verbal and visual instructions on screening process; availability of advance instructions. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Availability of expedited lanes for travelers with disabilities. â¢ Signage indicating appropriate lanes to stand in. â¢ Information available on wait times. â¢ Seating available near the gate area. â¢ Balance between human touch and technology. â¢ Gate passes available for family members. â¢ Consistency of security process. â¢ Adequacy of ârecoveryâ space after screening. â¢ Would benefit from guides that are proficient in English since they are not always able to rely on visual cues. â¢ Blind/low-vision travelers, in particular, indicated they felt vulnerable being passed between different people during the process; more engagement with airport staff would help to ease anxiety. Senior travelers â¢ Information available on wait times. â¢ Signage indicating appropriate lanes to stand in. â¢ Number of lanes and staff members manning the lines. â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Adequacy of staff training to deal with unique traveler segment needs. â¢ Verbal and visual instructions available on screening process; availability of advance instructions. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Expedited lanes for seniors. â¢ Seating available near the gate area. â¢ Balance between human touch and technology. â¢ Gate passes available for family members. â¢ Adequacy of ârecoveryâ space after screening. â¢ Security wait times were overwhelming and indicated preference for a seating or a waiting area near the security line with digital wait time or benches in line. â¢ Entertainment may increase the noise factor while others felt live music while waiting in line would help to ease anxiety. â¢ Prefer to have access to expedited lines. â¢ Access to gate passes for family to drop off loved ones; not aware these were offered. â¢ Ability to keep an eye on luggage as it goes through screening would help ease anxiety. â¢ Improved signage indicating the appropriate lines can help avoid lost time looking for the correct lines. â¢ Use of virtual technology and/or robots in line is not helpful as it slows the process down. Solo/couple travelers â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Number of lanes and staff members manning the lines. â¢ Verbal and visual instructions available on security process. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Appearance of fairness in screening travelers from all cultures/backgrounds. â¢ Lanes available to accommodate different traveler needs. â¢ Information available on closed checkpoints and wait times. â¢ Waiting in long, crowded lines resulted in feeling stressed, pressured, crowded, and frustrated. â¢ Allow special consideration for travelers who are about to miss their flight. â¢ Creating TSA PreCheck sign-up opportunities at the airport or providing an option to pay at the airport to access faster security for single or multiple passes such as CLEAR would be beneficial for this traveler segment. High risk High risk Student travelers â¢ Friendliness, empathy, and politeness of security staff and ambassadors. â¢ Number of lanes and staff manning the lines. â¢ Verbal and visual instructions available on screening process; availability of advance instructions. â¢ Efficiency and organization of queues. â¢ Appearance of fairness in screening travelers from all cultures/backgrounds. â¢ Availability of and ease of identification of lanes to accommodate different traveler needs. â¢ Information available on closed checkpoints and wait times. â¢ Experienced heightened stress and anxiety at the security checkpoint. â¢ More consistency in the security process, clarity in what is expected, organized and efficient lines, dedicated PreCheck lanes at crowded airports, and appropriately staffed lines. â¢ Better signage on lines and direction of gates upon exiting security is desired. High risk Travelers with disabilities (continued) High risk
Departure Journey 55Â Â 3.9 The Security ExperienceâActions for Airports An airport can take the following actions to address the needs expressed by travelers and improve the travelersâ experience at the security checkpoint. 3.9.1 Reduce Wait Time and/or Perception of Wait Time at the Security Checkpoint Travelers feel more stressed where they face unpredictability. With the ever-increasing num- ber of travelers, security lines are larger and have longer wait times. Airports are exploring different options to reduce the wait time and enhance the traveler experience. Some of these include the following: â¢ Fast-pass. Airports with busy security checkpoints are exploring the use of a âfast-passâ option where travelers are assigned a specific time period to be processed through security based on flight departure. This could help manage the traveler flow and also provide travelers who are seniors or travelers with disabilities, who may not be able to stand for long periods, an opportunity to remain seated until their ânumberâ is called. Other airports are not allow- ing passengers to enter the security checkpoint until a certain time prior to flight departure to lessen the stress of passenger flow through security. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Orlando International Airport, for example, required that passengers wait until 2Â hours prior to their departure before being allowed to enter the security checkpoint. â¢ Delayed display of gate information. To flatten the arrival curves at the checkpoint, display of gate information may be available only 2Â hours in advance so that people have to wait before going through security (see FigureÂ 28). This provides an opportunity for travelers to access pre-security options, but it may create a certain level of stress for travelers who need more time post-security, such as families with children, travelers with disabilities, and senior travelers. If there are no pre-security concessions, this option may reduce potential opportu- nities for travelers to enjoy food and beverages or buy needed and/or desired retail items. This can reduce revenue to the airport. â¢ Indication of wait times. Travelers often have the perception that the line is longer than it actually is. Providing information on wait times at the security checkpoint and on a mobile (Image source: Heathrow Airport ) Figure 28. Delayed display of gate information.
56 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience app and website can help manage expectations and help the traveler feel like they are more in control of their journey. Receiving notifications about wait time at immigration and security was indicated as the top need by North Americans in the 2018 IATA Global Passenger Survey. Providing this information at more than one point in the line may be helpful. â¢ Queue management. Analyze wait time data and observe queuing and staff queue positions in advance of the peaks. For example, the queuing model at Heathrow Airport reviews queues and dispatches staff when the model reaches a certain point, before the first queue becomes overloaded. Airports could benefit from modeling the queuing to determine the optimal staff- ing to process people through the checkpoint expeditiously. Integrate queuing time infor- mation with the FIDS to provide travelers with real-time data on wait times and manage expectations. Where possible, adequate lanes with enough flexibility should be created so that when a boarding pass is scanned, the TSA agent can assign a lane that is appropriate for the particular traveler. However, this option requires more human decision making and may require dedicated staff. Airports such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and San Diego International Airport have established systems whereby staff monitor queues remotely and dispatch personnel, as needed, to help manage queuing. â¢ Use of screens or signage demonstrating the divesting procedure. Use of video screens or signage demonstrating the divesting process may help speed up the process and reduce the need for staff to call out instructions (see Figure 29). However, depending on the airport and the number of travelers passing through, the use of videos rather than static signage may serve as a distraction. â¢ Sharing of data with airlines. Share queuing data with airlines and the TSA. Several airports have suggested that opening the check-in ticket counters 30Â minutes earlier has helped with the passenger flow through security. â¢ Enhancement of checkpoint ambiance. The use of ambient lighting, improved acoustics, live or silk plants, as well as the use of softer colors in surrounding interiors and equipment can help reduce the sterility of the security screening area. â¢ Passenger self-check solution. Department of Homeland Security officials envision a pas- senger self-check solution to transform the TSA Pre concept of operations (Keller, 2020). This process is similar to that used to qualify passengers for TSA PreCheck. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the TSA is advancing this concept to provide travelers with more control over what they touch, with pilot tests commencing at several airports. â¢ The use of âblended lanes.â Allowing travelers to receive the benefits of TSA PreCheck, even when the PreCheck lanes are closed as a result of lower passenger volume, can ensure travelers receive consistent service, which is a key part of the customer experience. Figure 29. Example of signage demonstrating requirements for standard vs. TSA PreCheck screening. (Image source: TSA)
Departure Journey 57Â Â â¢ Option for passengers to purchase one-time fast-track passes. Airports may consider providing the option to purchase a one-time fast-track pass, especially if passengers are running late, rather than having to sign up for a membership. This could be offered via the airportâs or the airlineâs mobile app, but it may compete with other memberships such as CLEAR (although the airport might negotiate this option with any private security provider). 3.9.2 Improve Customer Service Through Collaboration with TSA and Other Business Partners TSA conducted a survey of five airports in spring 2019, and the overall satisfaction score was 86.59. TSA is focusing more on professionalism and communications. The airport can contribute to improving customer service through the following: â¢ Enhance collaboration on training. Collaborate with TSA to offer training workshops to TSA airport staff, including training on cultural biases and profiling to address concerns expressed by travelers who are non-native English speakers. â¢ Revise hiring practices. Hire people more predisposed to work in a higher stress environment. Appleton International Airport has enhanced the security checkpoint by constructing a visually appealing living wall. According to Patrick Tracey, Marketing Manager, Appleton International Airport, the design opened up a cramped and bottlenecked security space by providing dedicated lanes using glazed partitions to allow light to brighten the area. The living wall calmed and de-stressed travelers; created a natural, biophilic calming effect; delighted passengers; and also had a positive effect on the TSA agents by providing a more enjoyable place to perform their duties (Velasquez, 2019). (Image source: greenroofs.com)
58 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience â¢ Provide incentives to TSA. Offering incentives to TSA staff such as an employee breakroom that is easily accessible and provides an environment for employees to unwind away from the public eye can help create good relations between the airport and the TSA staff. In addition, airports should include TSA and other business partnersâ staff in the airportâs rewards and recognition programs. â¢ Encourage adequate staffing. Airports can enhance collaboration with the TSA by providing information on expected passenger flow and peaks and valleys so that TSA can better plan staffing. The TSA can be encouraged to provide staffing based on expected passenger flow to help reduce queuing issues. â¢ Link travelers to the TSA Cares program. This could involve the following: â Coordinate with the TSA to display information within the airport and link special needs passengers with the TSA Cares program. â Train staff and volunteers to be knowledgeable about the TSA Cares program. â Provide a link to TSA Cares on the airport website and app. â Collaborate with airlines to provide a link to TSA Cares on their airline apps. â¢ Collaborate with other partners. On its website, an airport can provide informational videos and other sources of information to navigate the security checkpoint. For example, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons developed a video on how to navi- gate security checkpoints after joint replacement in response to learning about the anxi- ety airport security caused patients (see https://www.healio.com/orthopedics/hip/news/ online/%7B1c660742-b87d-4c86-84c3-416bed7ca3cf%7D/video-helps-travelers-navigate- airport-security-after-joint-replacement). â¢ Long-term partnering strategies. Collaboratively working with TSA to innovate and improve processes can enhance processing speed. For example, the introduction of cutting-edge, 3D baggage screening can reduce queuing times significantly because it eliminates the need to remove items such as electronics and liquids from hand luggage. 3.9.3 Improve Organization of Lines The following practices can result in better-organized lines: â¢ Adequate staffing of the line. Supplementing TSA staff with volunteers or airport staff to guide travelers, clarify expectations, and provide instructions on what to do can help expedite the lines, help create a more orderly divesting process, and may help relieve traveler anxiety. â¢ Reorganized checkpoint infrastructure. Airports may consider reorganizing checkpoint infra- structure to manage increases in passenger flow; however, this is a complex and costly option. â¢ Training in queue management. Training staff and volunteers on better queue management can help increase throughput and reduce anxiety levels. â¢ Assignment of lanes to specific traveler segments. Where possible and space allows, assign lanes appropriately: â Individual travelers with one carry-on (business travelers, students, solo travelers, etc.) â Travelers with disabilities and older adults requiring extra assistance â Families with children â Grouped travelers such as cruise or tour passengers â Pre-check options/flights within 50Â minutes of passenger departure. â¢ Utilization of integrated and dynamic communication. Providing advance signage and information on which checkpoints are open can avoid scenarios where travelers go to a checkpoint and find it closed and have to turn back, wasting valuable time. Also, provide a directional sign indicating which check- points are open.
Departure Journey 59Â Â 3.9.4 Ensure Consistency in the Screening Process The variations in the security process can lead to frustration for the traveler. For example, cer- tain airports require liquids to be placed outside the bag, whereas other airports do not. Criteria for security screening should be standardized nationwide so that travelers know what to expect. This would require a nationwide effort by the TSA in coordination with airports, including pro- viding information on their websites. 3.9.5 Evaluate the Need to Provide Distractions or Videos While Queuing Although best practice suggests that having entertainment manages the queue by helping to pass the time, this may not be applicable to airports due to the stress level associated with the experience. Travelers desire to be processed through the checkpoint as quickly as possible. A majority of travelers indicated that entertainment in line would be too distracting and make the line move even more slowly. In a high-stress environment where people are more concerned about missing their flights, entertainment may not be suitable. However, some airports have successfully incorporated subtle entertainment in lines. A live view of the International Space Station is displayed at Houston International Airportâs security line. Some travelers proposed having music while waiting in line, and the airport may consider providing calming music through the use of Acoustic Spotlights, where music is played in spe- cific zones. 3.9.6 Invest in Future Technologies According to the IATA/ACI Airport Development Reference Manual (ADRM) 11th edition, the maximum waiting time at security control should be between 5 and 10 minutes (IATA & ACI, 2019). With the introduction of smart security and new generation equipment, security time could be reduced significantly, for example: â¢ A âWalk-Through Securityâ machine. Sequestim is a machine that is currently under devel- opment that offers a much faster, simpler, and less-intrusive process, reducing the stress levels felt by travelers at this journey point. â¢ Tracking of passenger flow. A solution created by Quanergy and iinside called LiDAR can track real-time passenger flow through an airport. The tool allows the airport to measure queues and wait times to see where improvements are needed. Other companies, such as Smart Flow, also provide this technology. Miami International Airport is the first airport in the United States to employ this thermal technology, which was implemented in 2020. â¢ Use of facial recognition technology. Facial recognition technology can help expedite the traveler experience at the security checkpoint. Several airports are currently trialing the use of this technology at the security checkpoint. SectionÂ 5.10.3 discusses the use of biometric technology further. â¢ Touchless scanning. In addition to facial technology, the TSA has implemented a touchless technology at some airports whereby travelers self-scan their passports/driverâs licenses and boarding passes. 3.9.7 Improve Divestment and Recompose/Recombobulation Spaces Research indicates that travelers feel there is not enough space for divestment and recovery after they have passed through the security checkpoint. Providing adequate space for divestment
60 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience and recomposing/recombobulation can reduce the pressure felt by passengers at these key points of the security process. Roller beds and tables can be used to assist travelers with the divestment process without disrupting the flow. San Francisco International Airport has installed a sculpture (see FigureÂ 30) just beyond the security checkpoint. Visible from the security line, the artwork serves to orient and draw passengers forward, as well as to welcome and soften the transition. This elasticity, the ability for the differentiation of spaces and use, builds a stronger place and identity (âEvery Beating Second,â n.d.). 3.9.8 Streamline the Process for Obtaining a Gate Pass A number of travelers indicated a desire to have access to escort passes and were not always aware that some airports offer this service. Access to these passes should be communicated to certain traveler segments such as seniors, travelers with disabilities, and families with children that may require extra assistance to the gate. Airports such as Tampa International Airport, SeattleâTacoma International Airport, and Pittsburgh International Airport offer visitor passes for travelers. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) will be extending its âDTW Destination Passâ indefinitely after a suc- cessful trial run. The rationale behind providing this service is to allow families to spend more time with their loved ones and to build experiences at the airport; to make it easier for business associates to continue their business until one departs; and to increase post-security revenue, in addition to reinforcing positive customer experiences at the airport. (Image source: https://www.echelman.com/project/every-beating- second/ ) Figure 30. Janet Echelmanâs âEvery Beating Second.â
Departure Journey 61Â Â 3.9.9 Enhance Safety Measures Several processes being implemented by airports to enhance safety measures include the following: â¢ Temperature checks. The TSA and airports are collaborating to identify the best methodolo- gies for registering passengersâ temperatures during the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, Heathrow Airport is piloting thermal screening technology. This technology uses multiple cameras to detect body temperatures at several locations within the terminal to identify pas- sengers who have elevated temperatures. Findings from the pilot will be shared with the UK government in an effort to develop a common international standard for health screening (see FigureÂ 31). â¢ Signage with rules and health and safety tips. Provide adequate signage throughout the airport reminding travelers of the rules, guidelines, and health and safety tips. 3.10 Post-Security ActivitiesâTravelersâ Perspectives Post-security activities include accessing food and beverages, retail, and services and ameni- ties, as well as transferring to gates and the gate area and boarding. (Source: Heathrow Airport) Figure 31. Thermal screening at Heathrow Airport. I. Perspective shared by the general traveler population Food and retail â¢ More diverse/variety of food options: sit-down restaurants, casual dining, fast food, coffee â¢ Free Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi on an open network (no login). â¢ Most travelers want to see staff smiling and greeting people; genuine and welcoming staff. places, sports bars; more local food options, not just chain restaurants. â¢ Healthier options, more than just saladsâ gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian options, and healthy drink options. â¢ Faster food service at restaurants and to go. â¢ More âvalueâ and affordable and good quality food options (perception is that prices are too high). â¢ More grab-and-go options and/or meal kits for flights. â¢ Combine food, shopping, and open spaces with boarding areas. â¢ Food options and/or restaurants open later. â¢ Unique and local retail shops; more options for shopping. â¢ Elevate or add entertainment (e.g., better videos, local humor, ballerinas, childrenâs museum, childrenâs play area, mascot, games, coloring books, entertainment in line). â¢ Spa, salon with hair service, barber, nails service, massages/massage chairs, gym, showers. â¢ Music. â¢ Post office or shipping facility. â¢ Filtered water and adequate water fountains. â¢ Ensure equipment such as escalators and moving sidewalks are workingâseveral comments about broken equipment. â¢ Cleaner terminals; clean carpet; no carpet to make it easier to navigate.
62 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include â¢ Charging tables and work desks and having outlets available near seating at restaurants to plug in computers. â¢ Desire for a place to sit with a view of the runway/aircraft observation decks while waiting. â¢ Small business travelers expressed a desire for airport-operated lounges that are accessible to those without airline access, including access to lounges with a full bar. â¢ Research suggests that this group is more likely to use a shoeshine service. Amenities and services â¢ More comfortable seating and quiet areas: sleeping pods, quiet rooms, lounge chairs with nooks, big lounge areas not just for business class passengers. â¢ Adequate seating in gate area; enclosed waiting areas. â¢ More outdoor spaces for fresh air; windows to create a more open and warm feeling; green spaces, gardens, waterfalls. â¢ More charging outlets. Signage â¢ Better signage and information on location of restaurants and amenities, more directories of concourse, flight displays before and right after security, more information desks. Ambiance â¢ More visually pleasing environment/aesthetics, artwork or sculptures, art exhibits, natural and/or soothing light, wider terminals, improved smells, more colors and glass architecture, improved interiors (currently outdated). II. Perspectives unique to individual traveler segments* Emotional Risk Level Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Business travelers â¢ The emotional risk level is low for business travelers at the post-security journey point, meaning they have a low risk of experiencing a negative emotion at this point in their journey. Food and retail â¢ Accessible places to get convenience items on the way to the gate. â¢ Better or gourmet coffee options, âethicalâ food options. â¢ Zagat-rated food outlets and more general stores to buy snacks and a book. Business travelers Families with children Infrequent travelers Military travelers Non-native English speakers Travelers with disabilities Senior travelers Solo/couple travelers Student travelers â¢ Small business travelers, in particular, expressed a desire for coupons/discounts to restaurants and better-priced food options. â¢ Findings suggest this group may have a greater preference for healthy, fresh, upscale, and quality food and the ability to order drinks and meals through technology; although a few stated the technology at certain airports was overwhelming. * In this section, feedback from the various traveler segments has been presented regardless of their emotional risk level to provide airports with information on differing needs for food, retail, amenities, and services among traveler segments
Departure Journey 63Â Â Non-native English speakers â¢ Availability of foods that cater to various dietary restrictions. â¢ Availability of staff able to communicate in different languages. â¢ Adequacy of customer service training received by staff. â¢ Availability of comfortable seating areas. Food and retail â¢ More seating in food areas; food trucks and restaurants and food stalls to remain open later. â¢ Provide food options to cater to the dietary requirements of major cultures/religions. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience for this segment include â¢ Luggage carts near the gate. â¢ More identifiable staff including wearing brighter colors. â¢ Staff should ideally speak various languages and be culturally aware, happy, and approachable. High risk Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Families with children â¢ Availability and adequacy of family restrooms. â¢ Availability of nursing facilities. â¢ Food and beverage options available at all hours. â¢ Entertainment for children available. â¢ Accessibility for luggage/strollers at waiting areas and restaurants. Food and retail â¢ More fast-food options and food items easy to travel with (âhandheld optionsâ) as well as franchises. â¢ Several travelers would like the airport to provide a complimentary or discounted voucher, given the perceived high cost of food at the airport, especially for large families. â¢ Food courts or restaurants remaining open until the last flight arrives and/or departs may eliminate a lot of stress on parents that need to feed their children when flights are late departing or arriving. â¢ Mothers with infants expressed a need for more identifiable locations for nursing, including signage to access other facilities if one was already in use. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include the following: â¢ Elevate or add entertainment (e.g., better videos, local humor, ballerinas, childrenâs museum, childrenâs play area, airport mascot, games, coloring books, and entertainment in lines). â¢ Sensory room for children with special needs. â¢ Runway observation areas. â¢ Airport themes, such as Disneyâs Epcot Center with informational theme park rides such as Disneyâs Tomorrowland or Hall of Presidents. â¢ Not just CNN on the television. Medium risk Infrequent travelers â¢ The emotional risk level is low for infrequent travelers at the post-security journey point. Food and retail â¢ Preference for vegetarian options, healthy foods, and American food options. â¢ Bookstores and clothing shops were cited as retail preferences. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include â¢ Preference for more comfortable seating, more airport lounges, and access to massage chairs. Military travelers â¢ USO located post-security. â¢ Additional assistance available for travelers with disabilities. Food and retail â¢ Preference for more authentic restaurants, quaint restaurants, beer/wine near the gates, and more room for wheelchairs at restaurants. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include â¢ USO beyond security so that travelers are not stressed about lines at security. â¢ More seating at the gate. â¢ Better and more available assistance for elderly and handicapped persons. â¢ Comfort dogs. â¢ Improve on acoustics. Medium risk
64 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience â¢ Family-sized restrooms. â¢ Accessibility for wheelchairs at waiting areas/restaurants. â¢ Ability to request extra assistance at the gate. â¢ ADA-compliant kiosks. Food and retail â¢ Easier access to food concessions and restrooms. â¢ Travelers in this segment may have a preference for âhandheldâ or easy-to-eat foods, given possible physical limitations. â¢ More reasonably priced food and retail. â¢ iPads for ordering foods should be made accessible to blind/low-vision travelers, and kiosks should also be accessible. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience for this segment include â¢ More family-sized restrooms; more single stalls to accommodate families and travelers with disabilities. â¢ Places to rest, accessible seating. â¢ Wheelchair with space for two bags. â¢ Pet relief areas. â¢ Chiropractor. â¢ Auditory signals for names and types of food service entities in the airport and their location, more convenient if information is available on smartphone. â¢ Human assistance even when airline is late and not just for travelers with disabilities. Senior travelers â¢ Availability and size adequacy of restrooms. â¢ Accessibility to wheelchairs and shuttles post-security. â¢ Availability of extra assistance at the gate. â¢ Adequacy of seating and waiting areas. â¢ Comfortable seating areas available. â¢ Adequacy of charging ports. â¢ Healthy food options available. â¢ Proximity of concessions to gate area. Food and retail â¢ Healthy food options that are also open later; open places to sit and eat food. â¢ Pods at gates with concessions and bathrooms. â¢ Indication of how far the walk to food options is; prefer line of sight at the gate for concessions. â¢ Wine bars and chefâs menu. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include â¢ Waiting lounge. â¢ Restrooms near gates; enough family restrooms and in close proximity (e.g., for special needs, families, seniors), doors open outwards, stalls have hooks and enough space for bags. â¢ First aid room and/or clinic. â¢ Hand sanitizers. â¢ Family playrooms. â¢ Wheelchair availability post-security; assistance with getting to gates that are far, such as shuttle service, moving sidewalks, people movers. â¢ Provide a map of airport with locations of restrooms, services, and concessions at airline check-in. â¢ More seating so travelers donât have to sit on the floor or stand for long periods, especially for senior citizens. â¢ Access to internet and/or assistance with booking hotels if stranded, including access to computers at information counters. Medium risk â¢ More entertainment post-security such as art displays. â¢ Quiet waiting lounge, business lounge (with chargers). â¢ Larger directories with maps or layouts of the terminal at prominent locations. â¢ Signage at gate that indicates if an agent is fluent in another language. â¢ Sufficient staff and volunteers to guide travelers through the journey. Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Travelers with disabilities Medium risk
Departure Journey 65Â Â 3.11 Post-Security ActivitiesâActions for Airports An airport can take the following actions to address the needs expressed by travelers and improve the travelersâ experience post-security. 3.11.1 Offer a Variety of Food Options For food options post-security, airports should consider: â¢ Offering a variety of types of food. Airport restaurants need to offer quick service, casual dining, and/or high-end dining to cater to the specific airportâs traveler needs. Offering fine dining options may entice travelers to start their vacation early and/or appeal to travelers wishing for a better dining experience. â¢ Offering foods that cater to changing trends in tastes. Healthy foods, as well as organic, gluten-free, vegan/plant-based, and vegetarian options, should be part of the regular menu at restaurants to accommodate the evolving dietary needs of travelers. According to Michael Taylor (representative for J.D. Power), âItâs the food, beverage, and retail program that separates the good airports from the great airports.â Segment Drivers of emotional risk Specific traveler comments Solo/couple travelers â¢ The emotional risk level is low for solo/couple travelers at the post-security journey point. Food and retail â¢ Would like to see more ârestaurant deliveryâ service offered to travelers. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include â¢ Airport mascot, games, area to watch the planes, small museum (e.g., BaltimoreâWashington International Airport museum where you can see an example of the cockpit). â¢ Animal relief areas within the secured area and information on the locations. â¢ Terminal to be more decorative and less sterile. â¢ More priority pass lounges. â¢ Entertainment such as play spaces for children, fun areas for adults (escape room, laser tag, movies, bowling). â¢ Local vibeâhave the airport feel like an extension of the city it is in. Student travelers â¢ Availability of freshly prepared foods and healthy food. â¢ Availability of staff able to communicate in different languages. â¢ Adequacy of customer service training received by staff. â¢ Accessibility to free Wi-Fi. â¢ Adequacy of charging ports. â¢ Comfortable seating areas available. Food and retail â¢ Preference for freshly prepared foods and home cooked-type food. â¢ Indicated a desire for exclusive retail stores, diverse retail stores and more duty free. â¢ More likely to prefer the ability to order food online for pick-up. Amenities and services that may enhance the experience include â¢ Free Wi-Fi and adequate charging ports. â¢ Bilingual staff, translator. â¢ Arcade, aquarium, areas to watch the planes, mini theater, sensory rooms. â¢ Moving walkways; easier access between terminals. â¢ Smoke room. â¢ Flags representing different countries. â¢ Currency exchange at convenient locations with good signage and directories to indicate locations. â¢ Fewer advertisements. â¢ Information desks located conveniently with signage to identify locations of desks. Medium risk
66 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience â¢ Providing universally accepted snacks. Snack options should meet the needs of the diverse traveler base. â¢ Providing mini markets. Mini markets are a good option for offering healthy food and snacks. These can also be placed close to gate areas to address the need for concessions closer to the gates. â¢ Responding to diverse cultural/religious needs. Through analysis of the demographics and cultures of travelers, the airport can determine which food offerings would be appropriate to meet diverse travelersâ needs. â¢ Offering âmindful options.â These include food options that are sustainably and ethically sourced. â¢ Encouraging pricing of no more than 10% above street pricing in concession activities. Solicitations for airport concessions might consider a requirement that the concessionaire agree to no more than 10% above street pricing in the con- tract. Airports then must negotiate with the concessionaire to agree on three local restaurants for each concept and require the concessionaire to provide the market basket pricing estimate at least quarterly for each concept to ensure that the pric- ing is properly monitored and maintained. Penalties must also be included in the contract to ensure enforcement. This practice ensures that the public is charged a reasonable price compared to what can be found in the community, yet accom- modates the additional cost for a concessionaire of operating at an airport. 3.11.2 Require Concessions to Remain Open or Provide a Vending Machine Option Require that concessions be open at least 2Â hours prior to the first departing flight and up until the last arriving flight, or provide a fresh food vending machine option with adequate signage informing passengers of its location. Refer to SectionÂ 3.7.2 for an example. 3.11.3 Provide Local and Unique Food Options Offering local food creates a sense of place and provides travelers with an opportunity to experience the local culture of the city. Concessionaires can create a âsense of placeâ not only through their product offerings but also through visual design and smells that incorporate the elements of the city or region. Many airports do offer a variety of local and unique food options. However, travelers are often not aware of these since their focus is on what is nearest to or on the way to the gate. To enhance the existing food offerings and generate awareness of the offerings: â¢ Provide a list of all restaurant locations within the airport terminal and a designation for locally inspired food choices. Putting this information on the airport website, airport app, and directories will meet this need. â¢ Provide directions through the airport app. Provide step-by-step, in-airport directions to travelers on the airport app or through a third-party app from their current location to the desired location within the terminal. â¢ Place directories strategically. Place directories at key decision points and provide estimated walk times to various concessions. Include icons to designate types of concession concepts and their location. â¢ Require local brands in the request for proposals. The request for proposals should require local brands and farm-to-table options, which have become a popular way to offer fresh options to travelers. â[T]he low prices at all food and beverage and retail concessions [at Portland International Airport (PDX) are] due to PDXâs âstreet pricingâ policy, that is the cost of food and beverage and retail items match the normal price point of the stores outside of the airport.â In fact, the âstreet pricingâ strategy made PDX have the highest per passenger spending (at $12.35) in U.S. airports for 2015 (Nathan Associates, Inc., 2017).
Departure Journey 67Â Â (Images source: OTG website) â¢ Create a sense of place. Successful concession programs often reflect the unique attributes of their city and the region, offering travelers a brief glimpse into the local community and culture. A selection of concessions could include a variety of restaurants reflecting the culture and traditions of the airport city and region. Airports with a dominant culture may also con- sider including traditional cuisines to accommodate the cultural base of the airport. â¢ Develop an appealing retail environment and layout of concessions. An appealing retail environment and the strategic layout of concessions may influence traveler spending. The retail environment should support the feeling of time availability in a relaxed atmosphere. The travel moods of âvacationâ for leisure travelers and âquick accessâ for business travelers are important to recognize in creating the store layout. â¢ Celebrate key events and holidays. This creates a festive atmosphere and enhances the trav- eler experience. Concessionaires should be aware of key market holidays and celebrate these with the concessions through product offerings, promotions, and other events. Some airports regularly refresh their concessions to promote or celebrate specific events and holidays such as golf tournaments, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year, and so forth. Airports like Changi Airport and Incheon Airport have been very successful at recognizing their key marketsâ holidays and celebrations and have received customer applause for this. Other U.S. airports give prizes for concessionaires who have the best decorations on holidays, such as St. Patrickâs Day, and have live music and/or dancers in central locations in the terminal. â¢ Provide shorter-term leases. Consider creating shorter-term leases for food and beverage operations with fewer requirements for hard surface walls to allow concepts to be reconceived as needed to meet traveler demands and/or changes. â¢ Be aware of future trends and technology. According to Food Network and the Airport Experience News Food and Beverage Trends Report, future trends will include the following: â Increasing use of famous local chefs to prepare culinary creations. â Daily delivery of fresh food and produce to cater to changing consumer preferences.
68 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience â Ethnic foods and spices to appeal to various tastes. â Introduction of craft and specialty beers. â Use of robotic technology to make coffee, such as at San Francisco International Airportâs Briggo Coffee Haus (see FigureÂ 32). â A focus on being more environmentally conscious and reducing food and materials waste. For example, Happy Pear at Dublin Airport offers a 20% discount on hot drinks to travelers bringing their own reusable containers. â Classic dishes with a twist to appeal to comfort and nostalgia. Another new technology being explored is an in-airport order and delivery app for travelers, flight crews, and airport employees, offering an option to have food delivered to the travelerâs airline seat. According to the app website, the app will enable customers to make food orders the night before their flight. 3.11.4 Offer Speed for Access to Food and/or Delivery Service Food delivery service to the gate and/or food pick-up services via the use of a mobile app is becoming a popular trend. Airports can â¢ Use the airport mobile app to promote service. Offering pick-up and delivery services via the airport app and/or other app can help travelers find the restaurant they desire, compare menus, and place an order for pick-up or delivery. The challenge for airports with offering this service is creating awareness that it is available at the airport. If an airport mobile app is well developed and promoted, it can be a very useful tool in resolving issues experienced by travelers. The service can be communicated through the airport website, terminal advertising program, scannable bar codes and signage at strategic points, directories, and public release announcements. Concessionaire business partners can also assist in promoting the use of the airport app by participating in the program, providing signage within their location, and promoting the concept on their websites. â¢ Use third-party services. Existing mobile food ordering apps offer travelers personalized ser- vices. An example of such a service is Grab, which uses location services to provide travelers with information on restaurants and types of food in airport terminals. Travelers can order (Image source: flysfo.com) Figure 32. Briggo Coffee Haus robotic technology.
Departure Journey 69Â Â and pay via the app and receive walking directions to pick up their order. This process puts control back into the travelersâ hands. 3.11.5 Provide Walk Times to Gates Providing the estimated time to walk to gates via digital signage and/or other signage helps to provide travelers with more certainty. Travelers would be less stressed and reassured of proxim- ity and, therefore, more likely to spend time at concessions before going to their gates. FigureÂ 33 displays examples of signage indicating walk times. 3.11.6 Locate Concessions Within Sight of the Gate Many U.S. airports are constrained by existing infrastructure. However, there are still oppor- tunities to provide options for those travelers wishing to have access to concessions at their gates. Accommodating this need may significantly increase concession revenues and provide a better customer experience. Vancouver International Airport has concessions near the gates and has the highest concessions revenue per passenger in North America. Access to concessions near gates could include the following: â¢ The ability to order food. Some airports have concession providers that use iPads or tablets near the gate that allow travelers to order food from various outlets at the airport. Airports could encourage food concessionaires to provide a means of ordering food at or near the gate. Additional features such as updates on flight information, entertainment features, and suggestions for food and drinks could be considered as part of this amenity. However, feedback from certain traveler segments indicates that using such technology and/or smart devices can be overwhelming. Therefore, the airport should provide alternative solutions for its travelers who may not be comfortable using this type of technology. â¢ Food units integrated into the seating areas at or near gates. Research indicates that passengers are more likely to purchase food and/or retail products in closer proxim- ity to their gate. Provide food kiosks, carts, and coffee and beverage stands near the gates (Image source: SITA) Figure 33. Examples of signage and services that can be used to indicate walk times.
70 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience in space-constrained areas. These units could be moved so that the food is located where passengers are, depending on flight arrival and departure times. â¢ Grab-and-go. It is suggested that sit-down restaurants also provide grab-and-go options. 3.11.7 Provide Options to Supplement Use of Digital Directories Digital directories require more power and maintenance than other forms of communication. The following are suggestions to address this issue: â¢ Blade signage. The use of blade signage to identify concessions can help travelers view concession locations in concourses or gate hold rooms where there is lineal visibility. â¢ Distinguishing signage. Concession signage should be distinguished from the wayfinding signage directing travelers to the gates and other key areas (see FigureÂ 34). â¢ Floor stickers or markings or projected images. The use of floor stickers or markings or projections of images on the floor, wall, or ceiling can be an effective way to direct passengers to concessions and amenities because it is less intrusive but still informative. (Image source: designboom.com) 3.11.8 Increase Awareness of Restaurants and Shops at the Airport â¢ Provide a map with directions to the desired destination. A digital, static, or online map can direct travelers to their desired location. For example, Philadelphia International Airport has placed signage at strategic points throughout the terminal with details on the services and amenities available. A scannable bar code is available on the map for travelers to discover what is available near their current location (see FigureÂ 35).
Departure Journey 71Â Â (Images source: Oakland International Airport ) Figure 34. Blade and distinguishing signage at Oakland International Airport. (Image source: Research Team) Figure 35. Philadelphia International Airport.
72 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience â¢ Strategically manage social media. Craft messages on social media platforms to promote various products and services to travelers. Social media platforms can be highly influential in purchasing decisions of certain demographics, such as Millennials. â¢ Train airport and volunteer staff on locations of concessions at the airport. 3.11.9 Offer a Variety of Retail Options The airport retail industry is growing at a breakneck pace. Global travel revenue, which includes duty-free sales at airport stores, tripled between 2002 and 2017 to reach $69 billion, according to the Boston Consulting Group (Meyersohn, 2019). Travelers have an average of 56 minutes of free time before their flights and typically spend 25 minutes shopping in duty-free stores, NPD Group estimates (Meyersohn, 2019). To take advantage of this retail growth and passenger free time, the airport needs to study the cultural and demographic characteristics of passengers, review surveys and comment cards, and collaborate with concessionaires to offer a blend of local and national brand products. Focusing on innovative retail methods can increase revenues to the airport. Some of these methods are the following: â¢ Provide e-commerce opportunities. Concessionaires could offer opportunities to purchase goods in advance and pick them up at the airport or have them delivered to a travelerâs home. Providing options to reserve and pick up products in advance can help counter the effect of limited dwell times in the concessions area at many U.S. airports. Products may be picked up at the store or a smart locker. Retail concessions can work in collaboration with the airport to make their products available on the airport website and app or have a link to the retail or duty-free operatorâs website. If this option were available through the airport app, it would add the benefit of drawing customers to the app so that they can view the other services offered as they travel through the airport (see FigureÂ 36). â¢ Use consolidation centers. To create more retail space, consolidation centers, in which goods are stored, can be used. Electric vehicles and/or automated or self-driving modules can be used to transfer goods from the center to retail outlets. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and Unibail- Rodamco-Westfield (URW) recently launched LAXShopDine.com, which is a digital marketplace that offers online catalogues of retail options and dining menus along with the ability to pre-order food at select restaurants. (LAWA, 2019) Uniqlo is an example of a vending machine concept that sells items such as jackets, gloves, socks and make up kits. These vending machines can be stored in lesser used areas of the airport and provide travelers quick access to retail items. (Image source: WSJ) Frankfurt Airportâs online Shop Platform allows travelers to pre-order certain products and have them delivered to the travelerâs home or anywhere in the airport. (Image source: Future Travel Experience, 2015) Figure 36. Examples of e-commerce opportunities.
Departure Journey 73Â Â â¢ Use iBeacon technology. Hong Kong International Airport utilizes iBeacon technology that pushes location-specific offers to peoplesâ phones. The technology can also be used to push airport-related information such as wayfinding and real-time notifications on wait times, traffic conditions, and flight status. â¢ Explore future trends. Some future trends include â Cashier-less technology. Amazon Go is in discussion with airport retailers to use its GO cashier-less technology to speed up transactions. â Virtual preview of items. Istanbul Airportâs âMagic Mirrorâ app allows travelers to see how watches, sunglasses, accessories, clothes, and make-up would look on them without physi- cally trying them on. â¢ Provide ready access to personal protective equipment Airports have had to implement additional safety measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. While some airports offer complimentary masks and hand sanitizers, other airports offer a variety of personal protec- tive equipment (PPE) products for sale. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport has installed PPE vending machines to offer travelers a variety of products such as hand-sanitizing wipes, gloves, and so forth (see FigureÂ 37). 3.11.10 Improve the Experience of Waiting at the Gate Practices that can improve the experience of waiting at the gate include the following: â¢ Provide comfortable seating in the waiting area. Lounge chairs may be a choice. In addition, quiet zones may be designated in gate areas or in near proximity, where possible. â¢ Provide more charging stations. This may include seating with built-in charging ports, charging outlets at tables, or standalone charging stations and/or lockers. (Image source: Research Team) Figure 37. Vending machines with PPE products for sale.
74 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience 3.11.11 Create Zones to Address Traveler Needs The space constraints at U.S. airports make it a challenge to offer lounges to travelers who do not pay for them or are not frequent fliers. To accommodate the varying needs of traveler segments for quiet spaces, spaces to work, and areas for children to play, one solution, which involves limited interference to existing spaces or overall design, is for airports to create âzonesâ within a terminal such as the following: â¢ Business zone. This would be a specific area with tables, seating, and charging outlets in the gate hold area. Additional electrical outlets can be provided in the seating area for all other travelers and/or the overflow of business travelers. Business travelers frequently need to be able to work on their devices and/or charge their devices and accept and make phone calls while waiting to board. Planters and/or noise reduction efforts with seating for these types of business travelers can be incorporated in this zone. â¢ Quiet zone. This zone would be in the gate-holding area or before enter- ing the gate areas and partitioned using a screen, divider, or planters to designate the space as a quiet area. Quiet zones should ideally be designated every few gates, and seating should be at the furthest most point from the boarding area. â¢ Family zone. This zone would be located away from the business and quiet zones and partitioned off to provide children with a small play area, includ- ing some limited equipment and/or visual displays to help occupy chil- dren while they wait for flights. Parent seating should also be located in close proximity to the childrenâs play area. Examples of equipment include the aviation-themed structures in the mini childrenâs play area between gates at Doha International Airport or Calgary International Airportâs Kid Zones, specially designed to encourage interactive play and exploration (see FigureÂ 38). 3.11.12 Tailor Amenities Based on Traveler Demographics and Cultures Assess the demographic and cultural characteristics of the airportâs travelers to determine the most suitable amenities and services needed post-security. For example, PDX has a cinema called the Hollywood Theatre that shows short features to entertain people while they wait for their flights. It is especially handy for those traveling with children and as a family (McGlothan, 2019). Other airports offer indoor golf experiences, bowling, and so forth. AÃ©roports de Paris has revealed a new digital business lounge space at Paris Orly Airport which provides an opportunity for travelers to network with another traveler using beacon technology. The digital lounge is available at no cost, and business travelers can have access to Wi-Fi and workstations. Through the airport app, passengers can register via the âEspace businessâ and notify other travelers of their presence, providing an opportunity for networking with others that share similar business interests. (Image source: YYC.com) Figure 38. Calgary International Airportâs Kid Zone.
Departure Journey 75Â Â 3.11.13 Provide Nursing Rooms or Pods in All Terminals New national regulations state that airports must provide nursing facilities for mothers. Airports can provide nursing rooms or standalone pods or include nursing facilities within family restrooms (see FigureÂ 39). Signage and directions to locate these amenities and to find the next closest one if a room or pod is full should be included on the website and airport and airline apps. There should also be signage on the facility or room. The amended version of H.R. 3362, the Small Airports Mothersâ Rooms Act of 2019, requires small-hub airports to construct areas for nursing rooms, including changing tables, by 2023. The updated measure gives newly designated small-hub airports 3 years to comply with the requirements of the bill. 3.11.14 Utilize Technology to Improve the Customer Experience Airports can improve the customer experience with technology by â¢ Using multilingual digital devices/assistants. The use of multilingual digital devices can help alleviate language barriers. These could be placed at information counters or other convenient areas. Handheld devices could also be provided to staff and volunteers who are assisting travelers. â¢ Providing information on the amount of time it takes to get to the gate. The FIDS should indicate the amount of time it takes to get to the desired gate to provide travelers with a more relaxed feeling while shopping. The airport app can also have a feature that provides travelers with an alert when they need to leave their location to get to their gate on time. 3.11.15 Provide Directories and Maps That Are Easy to Locate and User Friendly Travelers recommended providing a hard copy map of the airport at check-in or at the concessions and/or amenities. While this is feasible, airports are moving toward a more digi- tal environment. Interactive directories reduce the need for additional concession and services signage, which leads to clutter. In addition, digital directories can be updated more quickly than Figure 39. Standalone nursing facility. (Image source: Charleston International Airport )
76 Evaluating the Travelerâs Perspective to Improve the Airport Customer Experience paper maps. However, for airports that would like to accommodate the need for paper maps, the following guidelines could be helpful: â¢ Static maps. Airports may consider providing static airport maps at strategic loca- tions such as information counters for those travelers that find the interactive maps overwhelming. â¢ Paper maps or brochures. Provide paper maps and brochures at airline check-in, post- security, and/or next to the directories. 3.11.16 Provide Additional Proactive Customer Assistance as Needed Customer experience staff and volunteers should be easily identifiable through clothing or badging. Train customer experience staff and volunteers to be proactive in recognizing when travelers may need help. 3.11.17 Identify Opportunities to Reduce Passenger Anxiety The security process can be a daunting experience even for the most seasoned of travelers. While there are numerous ways the airport can enhance the travelerâs experience at the security checkpoint, it remains an invasive experience. There are several ways that an airport might ârepairâ the travelersâ experience as they exit security (and this applies to other areas of the airport as well): â¢ Provision of hydration stations. Providing a hands-free hydration station allows travelers to fill reusable water bottles, which encourages sustainability and improves the traveler experience (see FigureÂ 40). Figure 40. A water bottle filling station at Philadelphia International Airport. (Image source: Research Team)
Departure Journey 77Â Â â¢ Creation of a calming environment through art installations. Displaying local art helps to promote local artists, as well as the city and region, and has been shown to have a calming effect on travelers. â¢ Use of therapy animals. The use of therapy dogs and other animals has been found to be effective at reducing passenger anxiety. Numerous airports around the world have imple- mented this program with success. â¢ Creation of a welcoming, more decorative, relaxing, and calming environment through ambient elements. Improving the ambiance at an airport needs to be considered in the holistic design of airports. Lighting, the introduction of plants, fabrics, art, and other design elements can help create a better ambiance. Improved ambiance can also be accomplished through the incorporation of green spaces throughout the terminal, lighting, noise, and sound (SectionÂ 5.6 focuses more specifically on environs factors). Airports are opening up outdoor terraces and observa- tion decks post-security to provide travelers with much- needed fresh air. For example, San Francisco has opened an outdoor terrace and observation deck (see FigureÂ 41). Figure 41. Outdoor seating at San Francisco International Airport. (Image source: ACI ) âThis outdoor terrace gives our guests a relaxing oasis within our terminals and invites travelers to rediscover the excitement and magic of air travel,â said SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero (SFO Enhances Passenger Experience with New Outdoor Terrace, ACI-NA, 2019).