Travel should be fun. Just the excitement of going somewhere far away should be interesting. Taking a flight should be a restful luxurious adventure. We all know that it is not. For most people now having to deal with an airport can be a nightmare. I travel a lot for my corporate training jobs and have realized that airports can now be divided into two entirely different places. When you arrive you are faced with long lines, baggage everywhere, children already bored and crying, adults are angry that if they don’t get through security soon, they might lose their flight.
If you are lucky enough to get past all that, you then enter into a world of no lines, little baggage, happier children even though you might have to wait at least another hour before your flight leaves and that is if it is on time. The emphasis used to be on a great flight that left on time, had hot meals during the flight, pillows and blankets. If your flight was delayed or canceled, you were offered hotel rooms. Those days are long gone and now a distant memory. Unless you want to purchase something that resembles food at one time in a heavily wrapped plastic box on flight, Like going to camp, you have to brown bag something you can purchase in the terminal and bring that on flight Finally things are changing for the better at some of the best airports in the country.
If you haven’t noticed already in a lot of airports, once you pass security, things look much fancier than they used to. There are fancy shops, spa treatments and upscale restaurants. Has the industry given up hope for quick and efficient air travel? I guess they figure you are going to spend half your day in the Airport waiting, they might as well make it as comfortable as possible as you spend all your money there. Should we be spending lots of money while waiting for a flight? The industry thinks so.
Lately air travel has become known to bring out the worst in people. There are more outbursts and incidents on airplanes than ever before. No one wants to wait for delays or waiting on the tarmac. We expect the efficiency and we don’t get it. Stress is at an all time high for all. So, airports around the country have gone through a major renovation with new upgrades and amenities. They are cashing in on their captive audience waiting to board a flight. Holly Buckner, the Director of Business at Development Consumer Services Experts says that if you offer something enticing to the frazzled passenger that they will definitely be interested in, it is a win win for all.
Her company has been given the job to overhaul airports nationwide. Consumers and passengers has been expecting more and more at airports then ever before. They call it the Golden Hour between security and boarding in which travelers are going to spend $1.5 billion in airports according to last year’s data. That is up 14% over the last three years. San Francisco was awarded the third best airport in the country. The list is as follows:
1. Cincinnati (CVG) 6. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
2. New York (JFK) 7. Denver (DEN)
3. San Francisco (SFO) 8. Minneapolis (MSP)
4. Boston (BOS) 9. Atlanta (ATL)
5. Detroit (DTW) 10.Seattle (SEA)
So once you are considered a safe person who actually spent the money for an airline ticket, you are allowed to eat at nice restaurants, get a spa treatment, shop for goods before you hop onto the plane. It is all there and part of the renovations in the sometimes two miles you can walk to find your departing gate. It looks like a trip to the Mall. Travelers spent more money in San Francisco than any other terminal in the country last year. Over $150 Million dollars last year. The Hermes store puts on the white gloves and can offer you a $38,000 watch if you wish to purchase there right at the airport. Just last month JayZ entered the airport arena by releasing his music video Excuse Me Miss and opening a chain of restaurants called the 40’40 Club at the Atlanta airport. The newsstands have expanded to offer electronics.
In San Francisco there is even a Director of Guests Experiences who has instituted a program of providing The Wag Brigade Program that has dog petting stations for adults and children to play with the animals randomly. Now that has to put a smile on your face. They are certified therapy dogs and handlers that walk around the airport engaging with customers. After the security check experience why not do Yoga? XpresSpa will give you the complete rub down experience too. A delayed flight will give you plenty of time to play with your young kids at the Butterfly Wall where there are various fun interactive games .It is free for kids and for adults. Now I feel like just traveling to the airport, forget getting on a stinkin plane.