Dan Naden

The secret to a more tranquil airport

Juan Alvarado please report to the check-in desk.

Attention: For your safety, please keep your bags next to you at all times. Please report any suspicious behavior to airport security personnel.

Flight 421 to Seattle, WA has been delayed. Our new departure time is now scheduled for 6:55pm.

There are usually no quiet zones at airports. Airports will soon become places that are ‘off-limits’ to those with high blood pressure.

Quiet and airports don’t seem to coexist.

Noise is always bouncing around the terminal about supposedly ‘urgent’ news. Important announcements become almost blasé. When everything’s important, what isn’t?

It doesn’t appear that anyone is paying any attention to the incessant intercom voices that permeate airport terminals. As announcements echo throughout the cavernous terminal, people don’t seem to notice. Headphones stay in ears. Eyes stay centered on iPhone screens. Books stay opened.

How about a better way?

How about meeting people at their place of comfort, escape, connection? The phone.

Could you ‘exclusively’ make gate change announcements, cancellations, delays, zone news via texts or e-mails? People are already transfixed to their devices, so why not share information through that medium? For those that don’t have a phone, the airlines could distribute a simple pager device that’s returned when boarding happens.

Think the pagers that are distributed after you place your order at Panera Bread or while you wait for your table at Outback Steakhouse. In exchange for getting on the plane, you return your pager to the airline.

The advantages are clear:

  • A quieter, less stressful environment for travelers
  • Removal of frequent communication barriers or mixed signals equals a more informed, ‘in the know’ traveler
  • Lower operating costs for airlines/airports (relying on scalable technology instead of error-prone humans)

Take a listen during your next airport visit and observe the various voices, announcements, news competing for your attention.

Go ahead airlines: it’s time to create a more informed, less frazzled airline passenger.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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