So here we are at Part 3 of frequent-flyer Randy Peterson‘s thoughts on the good and bad in airports. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here. I have been to more than my fair share of the world’s airports, and as I listened to Peterson, I found myself nodding in agreement with some of his observations and disagreeing with others. So below, I offer my thoughts on five of the good and bad things about airports.
Don’t Change a Thing…What your Customers Like
I agree with Peterson on Number 10, Top Chef. I love different concepts and local/regional brands that have popped up in airports. One of my favorites is Vino Volo, which offers premium wines by the bottle and the glass. They also offer flights of wine with tasting notes. Interestingly enough, I ate Torta Frontera food at Chicago O’Hare with Peterson and I’d gladly fly through O’Hare to eat it again.
I’m an iPhone freak who loves her apps. In Number 5, Peterson mentioned one of my favorite apps — GateGuru. This s my go-to app when I need to find a retail outlet, restaurant or service. I paid $2.99 for the app, but it’s now free. You not only get directions to what you’re looking for, but you get folks like me (AviationQueen) who give reviews on the listed services.
Not only do I travel, but I’m always picking someone up from the airport, so I’m with Peterson on the convenience of cell phone lots, Number 4. My favorite is at Phoenix-Sky Harbor Airport. There’s plenty of space, you can do great plane spotting and the airport has billboards with phone numbers of all the airports so you can check on flight status.
I am a BIG fan of art in airports just like Peterson, so Number 3 appeals to me. San Francisco (my original hometown airport) has the best art I’ve seen in airports. I’m also a big fan of what I’ve seen in Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Hartsfield-Jackson and Pittsburgh.
Shopping is fun — and a sport — for me. Back when I worked for Mesa Air Group in Phoenix, I used to fly through Pittsburgh regularly just for the shopping, as outlined in Number 1. I love how airports have really stepped up their game in the shopping arena. Some of my favorites are Hartsfield-Jackson, Orlando, JetBlue’s JFK Airport Terminal 5 and Seattle-Tacoma.
Time to Rethink…This is When Customers Gripe
Now we get to the not-so-fun part — what airports need to work on.
In Number 10, Peterson bemoaned slow WiFi and pay WiFi (yes, that means you, BWI and Hartsfield-Jackson), and I agree with him 100%. We all like to surf the web, check email and upload/download content. I appreciate the free WiFi, but it does me no good if it takes too long to download the latest picture of my beautiful child or open an attachment on my email.
I have the TSA app on my iPhone. One function on it is security checkpoint line wait times. Good idea in concept, but when people don’t update it for days, it does no good, although I post my wait times faithfully. So like Peterson I’d love to see an app (Number 8) that gives more accurate wait times to cut anxiety.
Ah…airport floors. My behind has seen more of my fair share of airport floors (Number 7), and frankly, kids, I’m getting too old for it. I, like Peterson, would like to see more chairs in gate holding areas.
When I worked at Delta Air Lines, I got to be part of the team that opened the new Terminal A at Boston-Logan International Airport. One of my favorite parts was mentioned in Number 6 — the bathrooms. The bathrooms in Terminal A were wide a spacious, and the stalls had more than enough room to bring in a purse and a rollerboard. Unfortunately, there are still too many facilities that can’t — or won’t — adjust accordingly.
And our Number 1 is the same — Power To The People. I’m usually the most popular girl in the airport. Why? I carry the Belkin Mini Surge Protector with three plugs and two USB ports. It is amazing how many friends I’ve made sharing my surge protector with people whose phone were mere bars away from death. Airports are doing better (thanks DFW and Boston Logan), but we need more plugs!!