How to improve airports

After the most recent round of holiday airborne bus rides that is our civil aviation system, I thought I’d jot down a few ideas I had that’d make the experience more pleasant… at least for me.

### 1. Stop the repetitive announcements

How many times do we need to announce over the PA system that “the white zone is for loading and unloading”, “passengers are only allowed one carryon and one personal item”, and “the national threat level is orange.”

These announcements appear to be on an interval loop and never actually represent a change in state. Tell me when the threat level goes up, tell me when it goes down, tell me when the white zone is for breakdancing.

Until then, stop with the damn “announcements” and print it on a sign.

### 2. Mute the TVs

I don’t know about your airport, but [Hartsfield](http://www.atlanta-airport.com/), especially the C concourse, always seems to have the TVs turned way the hell up.

Why not offer a couple of options for watching TV:

* Broadcast the audio on an FM channel, and let those who want to, tune in with a radio.

* Turn on the closed captions so folks can read it if they like

* Sign a sponsorship deal so folks can use airport WiFi free, or at least free if they want to watch streaming video on CNN or Hulu or such.

### 3. Seats

Again, it may only be a Hartsfield thing, but clearly the gate seating capacity was scaled for a time when security lines were shorter and folks could race to their plane right before takeoff.

Airports should add more seating beyond the security check point. I’d envision a large lounge in each concourse, surrounded by shops and dining with large status boards.

Even better than status boards, let me sign up for SMS notifications for my flight. Alert me when there’s 15 minutes to go before boarding, or if my gate changes, etc.

### 4. Bring your own bin

People doffing their shoes, taking their laptops out, undoing their belts (is this security or striptease?) cause a bottleneck at security lines.

Why not give away/sell re-usable heavy-duty plastic bags that are TSA-approved — I’m thinking it’d be similar to the [Idea bag](http://www.brickfish.com/Pages/PhotosAlbums/PhotoView.aspx?picid=882879_33726280&pid=2418852).

Then folks could stop any place before the security line, do the security striptease shuffle, put their items in the bag, and walk up to the line ready to go.

After the security checkpoint, people would don all their gear again and fold the bag up and be on their way.

### 5. Sit, then board, then fly

This is my craziest idea. But hear me out.

Instead of a seating area outside the gate, imagine if you actually sat down in your assigned seat, in your assigned row, and could put your luggage into the overhead compartments before your plane arrived at the airport?

Then when your plane arrived, the seating compartment would slide out — allowing the arrivals to “deplane”, and the departure seating section would slide into the plane with everyone and their belongings stowed.

It’d reduce turnaround time and garner the airlines more money — quicker turn, means more flights, which means more fares per day.

Of course it’d require redesigning not just all the airplanes, but all the airports to make it happen, but hey wouldn’t it be cool!

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
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