Millions of people travel on a daily basis and struggle with uncomfortable experiences in the airport. Rather than letting current standards define the experience, our team explored ways to improve the overall experience for air travelers.
273 million passengers flew across US airports in April 2015 and this will reach even larger numbers in the future. Airports are investing money into improving existing terminals to better accommodate travelers. Studies have shown that U.S airports need to invest 71.3 billion dollars for infrastructure developments over the next 5 years. Airports will need to accommodate bigger airplanes, bigger crowds and longer queues.
53% of all revenue is generated from airlines, taxes and fees. Passengers spend an average of $20.55 on airport retail purchases – satisfied passengers will spend 45% more on purchases. The best rated airports are making more money derived from retailing activities.
Government and private parties have direct control over the passenger experience through layout, design and development of the airport space.
Existing airport design regulations impose an unrealistic standard spatial allowance per passenger. Thus many are forced to resort to sitting on the ground or standing near the gate area. Along with uncomfortable seating arrangements, passengers feel as though the experience is like Herding Cattle.
Tpically in standard row seating arrangements only 60% of the seats are occupied because travelers prefer to not sit directly next to strangers
With a cluster seating arrangement research has shown that 80% of chairs are occupied. Travelers were more likely to sit next to strangers when there is sufficient space in between the seats.
Even a subtle change in seating arrangement resulted in a 20% increase in functionality of the gate space.
A series of questions were designed to gain insight into the overall airport experience for passengers. We gathered information through online interviews and a survey.
Sudden schedule changes and meetings. Book their tickets at the last minute. More likely to wait in lounge rooms than in the gate area.
Traveling alone or in groups. Tend to stay in their own “bubbles” of spaces in which they can entertain themselves with different types of activities or interact at a more personal level.
Families with children travel in groups of three or more. Usually seated within the gate area, where they can keep an eye on their children without risking missing their flight.
The occasional traveler is offered limited seating options and is forced to relocate away from the gate
Typically frequent business flyers are more likely to pay for VIP lounge services. Family Travelers stick together and look for spaces with multiple seats available. We found that the occasional traveler is offered limited seating options and is forced to relocate away from the gate.
The occasional traveler visits 3 different locations over a two hour time period: the gate area, coffee shops, and restaurants to find seating that fits their needs.
Mapping the behavior of the user archetype gave the team deeper insight into how to improve the experience for the occasional traveler. The team discovered that the occasional traveler visits 3 different locations over a two hour time period: the gate area, coffee shops, and restaurants to find seating that fits their needs.
Other than bars and food courts, there are few spaces for work and relaxation, especially for passegners with long layover times. So far these areas only belong to the exclusive First and Business Class high-mileage clubs
Travelers are dissatisfied with current seating options and the lack of amenities provided. Airport environments need to accommodate the ever changing needs of passengers, especially within the gate areas where most of time is spent.
As a team it is essential to brainstorm and ideate together as a group in order to analyze and discern a direction for the overall project. Phase one ideation is a basic ideation dump in which the team sketched for a broad range of solutions.
After the first round of ideation, there was some confusion about the conceptual direction of the project and who exactly the team was sketching for. So the team decided to re-frame the ideation and analyze previous insights
Finalizing a concept direction drove the team to begin human factors studies and protoyping. This was a vital step in solidifying our concept form and prepare for Implementation.
Privacy was based upon peripheral vision. Testing the length of the protrusion of the backrest side panels we discovered the ideal amount needed.
After conducting human factors studies and protoypes our team was ready to finalize the concept direction and plan for implementation
In addition to standard seating, we introduced alternative seating options in the gate space. These pods are integrated with outlets and a work surface. Seat walls block out peripheral views and dampen sound just enough to create the right amount of isolation.
We built an architectural model of the gate space to demonstrate that the pods could be implemented without compromising the regulated spatial allowance.