Airport troubles and their solutions

During this summer of frequent flight delays and cancellations, many travelers spent more time at the airport than expected, often exposed to television news, solid seats, and lack of outlets. Add anxiety about Covid-19 and disagreement about mandatory masking. It’s no wonder that bad behavior cases are skyrocketing in the air.Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 4,000 cases of unruly passengers Complaints From this year to August, we have launched more than 700 surveys so far, compared to 183 in 2020.

Deep in the last six hours of travel delays, when thinking about the role of the airport in exacerbating travelers, it featured the Denver International Airport concourse B-West, floor-to-ceiling windows, and modular furniture. I found a way to a new set of gates. , Sufficient outlets, clear billboards, high-top library tables without a TV, and the biggest surprise is the outdoor lounge with views of the west side of the Rocky Mountains. Fleetwood Mac’s bouncy “Don’t Stop” is played on the sound system, demonstrating a more attractive approach to what the industry calls a “hold room” or gate waiting area.

The revival of travel this summer is rather sparse, but the entire industry, including airport managers and architects, is looking to make things better.

“Covid was a shocking event that caused great turmoil and accelerated thinking about returning the joy of travel,” said Stantech, head of the US airport division at Stantech, which designed the airport in Denver, Toronto. Alex Tome said. Nassau and other places.

Much of that joy disappeared after 9/11 when security needed to force the airport to accommodate body scanners and a wider range of checkpoints. However, the new terminal clutch and recent upgrades from New York City to the existing concourse from New York City to San Francisco have shown that the airport is trying to ease the mental turmoil on the ground, from TV mute to indoor garden installation. It shows both large and small methods.

Compared to global gateways in cities like Singapore and Tokyo, American airports have a lot to do to improve the passenger experience.according to Skytrax World Airport AwardsWith an annual set of awards based on the Passenger Satisfaction Survey, the most highly rated airport in North America is Vancouver International Airport, Canada, number 24. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport is number 25 and is the highest ranked American airport, including Cincinnati / North Kentucky. International Next 42. Currently, only 14 American airports are in the Top 100. Hamad International Airport In Qatar.

“In the United States, we see airports as a service that isn’t always offered as a civilian building, but in other parts of the world, we want to see the airport in the context of a city,” said the architect. Ty Osbaugh, Gensler’s aviation leader, said. We have designed airport terminals in many cities, from Pittsburgh to Incheon, South Korea.

In the United States, airport infrastructure funding sources include federal grants. Operating revenue from tenant rentals and parking lots. Passenger facility charge leaflets are paid when you purchase an airplane ticket.according to International Airports CouncilPassenger Facility Charge, an industry group of commercial airports in the United States and Canada, has not been raised for more than 20 years and is up to $ 4.50.On the other hand, the airport has infrastructure Leftover Of $ 115 billion.

Henry Hartebert, a travel industry analyst and president of the Atmospheric Research Group, said: Travel industry market research and advisory company. “Everyone is in a bad mood when these problems are big and chained, such as flight delays due to bad weather or more people in the terminal.”

The average airport terminal across the country is more than 40 years old and is further challenged by the growth of air travel. For example, Denver International opened in 1995 and was able to accommodate 50 million leaflets. In 2019, we processed more than 69 million cases.

Slow flights produce slow flights, so even if travelers sometimes have to squeeze into a crowded gate area, the airport can do something to calm the setting. Dial down the noise.

Prior to the pandemic, San Francisco International launched a “quiet airport” program when the airport was setting passenger records. This is a noise reduction program that eliminates television in the terminal seating area and narrows the range of broadcast announcements, rather than broadcasting it throughout the terminal. ..

Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said: Flyers allow you to watch news and sports on TV in airport restaurants and bars, but “the content is available on the passenger’s own device, so there’s really no need at the gate,” he added.

Denver International Gate expansion projectWill add three more expanded concourse areas by 2022, including the B-West Gate, but will not display the conversation screen (instead, on the larger screen, wearing a mask and social distance) Message flashes quietly with the ad).

Again, foreign airports were the first to London City Airport For example, in the United Kingdom, announcements are made only for flight interruptions or emergencies and do not call passengers to the boarding gate.

Exposing passengers to nature through vegetation is another stress relief that the airport has adopted as a designer and supports the “parental life” (or nature-loving) program.

“The last thing you need to do after traveling on an old tube is to be in a closed airport environment,” said Matt Kneedam, air transport director at HOK Architects, who created a park-like area in the new LaGuardia. increase. Terminal B On the outdoor terrace of Tampa International Airport in New York City and Tampa, Florida. It makes a difference. “

Pittsburgh’s new terminal, scheduled to open in 2025, allows passengers to use the outdoor terrace before and after security (the airport is considering digital queuing for security, so the garden in front of the checkpoint is attractive). ..

“We have a great opportunity to build one of the first terminals after the pandemic,” said Christina Casotis, CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport, in a written answer to the question. He said it was central to the design, including air quality. monitoring.

The outdoor area that Denver International has added to the concourse, including the Fire Pit, aims to capture Colorado’s outdoor spirit.

Of course, plants increase maintenance costs, so some designers are finding alternative ways to embrace nature. “Natural materials can reflect biophilic design without completely incorporating plants and outdoor space into the project,” said Architects Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s managing partner, working on the new Kansas City International. Laura Ettelmann, one of the chief architects in the area, said. Missouri airport. It is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2023.

The design of the new airport is increasingly recognizing the diversity of travelers and their basic human needs.

San Francisco new Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Immediately after the security screening, there is a “reconstruction” area where the bench allows passengers to replace their belts and shoes and refill water bottles (there is also a place to dump water before security).The children’s playground is packed with floors and the museum area displays airport exhibits. SFO Museum, With bench and dim lighting.

Kansas City International provides simulated ticketing kiosks, gate doors, boarding bridges, and aircraft interiors for people with flight concerns, especially those with autism spectrum disorders, in an airplane simulation room.

Passengers also have access to a multi-sensory room, a calm space with low lighting, and a meditation room. The toilet includes all gender options and a diaper changing table for adult caregivers with special needs.

Justin Meyer, Deputy Director of the Airport, said:

Before designing a new terminal in Salt Lake City last September, HOK architects observed a large group greeting the return of Mormon missionaries, who would be infrequent for two years. As a result, they created a family room with a world map and fireplace to gather between the safe area and the baggage claim.

Bathrooms are gaining attention, with natural light near the expansion gates at Denver International Airport and the adoption of “smart toilet” technology at Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, showing the number of stalls with open digital screens at the entrance. ..

Many airports do a good job of attracting local restaurant and shop branches to evoke a sense of place for travelers who can only experience connecting to Chicago or New York City.

Now, the meaning when an architect refers to a sense of place is more literal. Can you see the cities and mountains? Is the direction clear?

At LaGuardia’s Terminal B, you can stand above the aircraft passing by the bridge that connects the concourse to the terminal and overlook the city skyline.

“You have an intuitive sense of route-finding that relaxes travelers,” said HOK’s Needam.

At Salt Lake City’s new terminal, which opened in September 2020, HOK was inspired by a canyon in southern Utah to pass through the terminal and a central rift with a clear view of the city and the mountains beyond. I created a route like this. Overhead, Gordon Huser’s sculpture of a finned ridge suggests a striped pattern of sandstone canyons.

But in the end, not many are under the control of architects and planners who have to tolerate the unexpected.

“Many things are outside the building, but the way to deal with them is to create a flexible environment,” said SOM’s design working on two satellite concourses planned at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Partner Scott Duncan said.

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Airport troubles and their solutions

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