In 2017, nearly four billion people around the world traveled in airplanes1, with global profits for the airline industry exceeding $34 billion – and those figures continue to climb. Despite the number of passengers flying in and out of airports every year, many passengers still perceive the travel experience as unpleasant. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans tend to dislike flying, which resulted in potential passengers avoiding 32 million air trips in 2016.
Even with TSA Pre✓® expediting the process, one of the biggest challenges airports face is shuttling passengers quickly and safely through long lines at check-in and security. Once in the terminal, airports struggle to drive passengers to their many retail locations and to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for exhausted and anxious travelers – especially at the gate.
With a steady increase in air travel for business and pleasure, it’s critical that airports identify passenger preferences and bring increased comfort and efficiency to the travel experience. Below are three of the most prominent industry trends for airport stakeholders to consider as they work to enhance the passenger experience.
#1: Simple Comforts Over Luxury Amenities
Travelers, especially those flying for business, seek simplicity over luxury in their airport experience2. Rather than unnecessary frills, travelers are more interested in getting to their gate so they can wait for their flight in a quiet, comfortable airport lounge or restaurant. Studies show that airport gates and lounges retrofitted with dynamic glass provide a more comfortable environment for passengers, with dynamic glass blocking up to 91 percent of solar heat. In fact, in a recent study at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, dynamic glass was used to reduce solar heat gain and improve comfort at an airport bar. As a result, patrons stayed longer at the bar and alcohol sales increased by a staggering 80 percent – a win for airport stakeholders, retailers and travelers3.
#2: Seamless Connectivity
Airport stakeholders are also looking for ways to more seamlessly connect passengers to the technology they rely on. Amenities such as free WiFi, plentiful charging stations, and glare-free seating areas near windows are a must-have at the gate. To create the environment passengers desire, airports should consider implementing dynamic glass, which blocks up to 99 percent of glare producing light, providing passengers with an ideal space to view and use their electronic devices. Additionally, airports and airlines are providing more digital and mobile capabilities to make check-in, navigating the airport4 and boarding quicker and easier. Dynamic glass also responds to this need for connectivity by integrating into airports’ building operating management systems.
#3: A Hassle-Free Experience
Passengers increasingly report the desire for a stress-free airport experience. This means more control over the boarding and check-in process and increased automation – self-boarding and check-in and a quicker security experience (where you don’t have to take every electronic and travel-size bottle out of your bag) and pertinent information is delivered instantly to travelers’ smartphones5.
In addition to helping improve passengers’ thermal and visual comfort, dynamic glass also helps TSA agents perform at their highest level at security checkpoints, where speed, efficiency and traveler safety is critical to providing an optimal travel experience. In fact, before installing dynamic glass at Minneapolis St-Paul International Airport, workers stacked luggage bins to block heat and glare from the sun at the security checkpoint. After having installed dynamic glass in this space, agents reported feeling more comfortable in their glare-free work environment. With fewer people seeing gate agents for check-in, airport security personnel are often the first staff members people encounter at an airport. This means they set the tone for the rest of the airport experience, so if they are happier, passengers will be happier.
To address some of the biggest trends in the airport travel industry and prioritize efficiency and comfort from check-in to boarding, airport stakeholders can leverage the thermal and visual comfort delivered by dynamic glass to provide a simple, seamless and hassle-free travel experience.
For more information on improving the air travel experience, download our white paper, Enhancing the Air Travel Experience by Improving Comfort.
2 Mintel Reports, The Business Traveler, US – February 2019