Posts from the ‘Airports’ Category
May 21st, 2013
FORT WORTH, Texas — In a quest to speed up the boarding process, American Airlines is letting passengers board sooner if they travel lightly.
The airline said Thursday that people carrying just a personal item that fits under the seat — no rolling suitcases — will be allowed to board before most other passengers.
American said the change will allow flights to take off sooner, helping the airline improve its on-time performance.
I’ve been briefed by several different people on the complexities of these boarding procedures in the U.S. of A., which — in most other countries — are much more straight-forward by comparison.
This latest revision by American Airlines should indeed help with the overall pace of boarding. In fact, I still believe it is possible to further simplify the process — but, with all things relating to change, it takes time for people to accept.
May 3rd, 2013
The competition watchdog has called for Australia’s biggest airports to boost their investment in terminals and other facilities to cope with surging demand.
In its annual report on the state of the airports, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that service at the five largest airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide – had deteriorated in 2011-12 on the prior financial year. It named Sydney Airport as the worst offender given the ”pattern of price and earnings increases, lower service standards and low investment levels compared with other airports”.
Mildly insulting to passengers, or its customers, especially if you knew how commercialised the major airports in Australia have become — especially Sydney Airport (they make you walk through duty free before clearing immigration on arrival, and after when departing!)
Actually, don’t get me started on this topic. There are so many things about SYD that I can complain about, it’ll bore you to tears.
April 10th, 2013
Jaunted’s Cynthia Drescher paid a recent visit to London City Airport, and showed us just how it is very possible to have a pleasant airport experience:
We just flew through London-City for the first time and came out of the experience a little more hopeful for the future of air travel. It’s true they have some freedom to experiment because the airport is tiny, the passengers are mostly frequent flying professionals, and the flights are mostly limited to Europe, but that’s all the more reason to detour away from the mega airports to try City’s particularly civilized “boutique” airport experience.
Theoretically, there shouldn’t be any reason why airports have to be so emotionally- and mentally-challenging to experience and manoeuvre. It is true that we’re living in a world of heightened security, especially where air travel is concerned.
Granted that London City is the smallest of the London-based airports, which gives them the distinct advantage of easily incorporate changes to approved processes for the purposes of improving efficiency and (possibly, even) economy. Yet, this is no excuse for the larger-sized airports to remain complacent with the true needs and wants of their customers (or passengers).
London Heathrow Airport may be the biggest and has (virtually) all of the major international airlines serving it. But I would try to avoid this airport whenever it is physically possible, and willing to enter Europe through another city — say, Frankfurt or Paris. Why should I, a paying passenger, have to put up with the ignorance of an airport operator which deems their customers’ expectations as irrelevant?
Helsinki Airport is one good example of a larger-sized (or international) airport that have implemented various measures to improve passenger experience. Some of these include the improved security checkpoints, reduced times for transiting passengers, and a very-usable free Wi-Fi offering throughout the terminal (on both air- and land-side).
With the availability of greater airport and airline options, consumers are beginning to realise and understand the concept of greater choice come air travel. However, it’s still a complicated mess that needs some practice before the art of airport bingo becomes second-nature (for example, frequent flyers).
Shame on you, airports-that-couldn’t-care-less-about-our-personal-experiences!
April 2nd, 2013
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has revealed that airline passenger security charges paid by airlines for departing passengers will increase.
CAA chairman Nigel Gould announced today that the increases – which take effect from 1 June – will see the international charge rise by $3.98 to $11.98 and the domestic charge rise by $0.90 to $4.60 per departing passenger.
A four-to-five time increase in the airline passenger security charge?
In the grand scheme of things, those charges may not seem as significant after being factored into the total cost of an air ticket. But is that the point?
He said the increases came after two years of reduced charges.
So travellers had it lucky for two years?
“When the reduction was announced in 2011, the government signalled that passenger security charges would need to increase again from 2013, once the accumulated surplus had been redistributed to air travellers” Mr Gould said.
I may not be so great with numbers. But could they not have spread this so-called surplus over a longer period, so that the eventual increase in the charges would be deemed far more reasonable than how they are now?
“These new charges better reflect the actual cost of providing screening and other security services at our airports” he said.
Political correctness at its finest.
March 28th, 2013
An tweet of interest appeared on my timeline, pointing out how Dubai has taken number-two in the world-busiest-airport stakes.
Here’s an excerpt of the Airport Council International’s ‘International Passenger Traffic Monthly Ranking’ for October, 2012, with the top ten airports listed (percentage is year-to-date change):
From here, you can clearly see a decrease in passenger patronage and/or growth at airports which were once deemed as major hubs — such as London-Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Amsterdam (being the only one in the above list that is still seeing a slight-but-positive change).
And the shift?
To airports like: Istanbul and Dublin (+10% YTD) in Europe; Dubai and Doha (+11.8% YTD) in the Middle East; and Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (+9.2% YTD), Taipei-Taoyuan (+9% YTD) and Seoul-Incheon.
There are a plethora of reasons behind these changes, including (and not limited to) geographical location, capacity (and possible limitations) at airports, airline operations, and — a factor relevant to my work — the overall passenger experience both on-the-ground and in-the-air.
Passengers will only become smarter travellers over time, which will provide the latter point above with a similarly-relative level of significance.