Today's New York Times discusses how airports are now concerned with making passengers' experiences more palatable. This is a welcome effort, considering the ever-increasing wave of delays, cancellations and other disruptions in flight schedules. It's especially good news for consultants who find themselves constantly on the go (and also for aviation consultants, who have a big job ahead of them in helping to appease aggravated travelers).
As some consolation, airports have been adding amenities like spas, fitness centers and walk-in medical clinics - these are great features if you're intent on spending a great deal of time in an airport. But what people really want to do is get out of the airport as fast as possible, so airports are also (finally) starting to address the issue of inefficiencies in the check-in and security process. In its new American Airlines terminal, Kennedy Airport added two additional luggage scanners and integrated them into a baggage-handling system so passengers no longer have to carry their bags to the scanner. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International is working to improve its "people mover" rail system; over the next three years, the airport hopes to have the system running 15 seconds faster than it runs now (every 105 seconds).
But before you get excited about all of these improvements, William R. DeCota, director of aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said most problems passengers encounter at airports won't be permanently fixed until airspace issues are resolved. Until then, plan on a workout, a quick massage and taking a stroll around the in-house art exhibit before your flight actually takes off.
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