It’s becoming harder to find a pay phone in an airport as the use of mobile phones becomes ubiquitous and airports get rid of older technology and services to adapt to the changing needs of travellers.
Technology is helping to drive the trend, with websites, charging stations, and free wifi all making the top 10 list of popular airport amenities and services compiled by Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA). The trade group found that the amenities most commonly offered by airports in North America include:
- ATM Services
- Gift shops/News stands
- Airport websites
- Electrical charging stations
- Restaurants and bars
- Lost and found
- Parking/Taxi and limousine services
- Free Wifi
- Pre-security pet relief facilities
- Food and beverage vending machines
The report stated: “Over the next three to five years, passengers can expect new and expanded airport amenities and services, including nursing mothers’ rooms and pods, post-security pet relief facilities, children’s play areas, airfield observation areas, and adult changing and washroom facilities as the top-rated amenities likely to appear in North American airport terminals.”
“The top three rated amenities likely to be eliminated or replaced in the next three to five years are pay phones, banking services, and smoking rooms.”
CNBC reported that smoking rooms have all but vanished already from US airports. Full-service banks have largely been replaced by cash machines. And while Chicago’s O’Hare International airport still has more than 500 pay phones, Seattle-Tacoma International airport removed all of its pay phones last year.
“Folks simply don’t use pay phones,” said Sea-Tac spokesman Brian DeRoy, “and there are hardly any companies now that want to have the financial burden of taking on a payphone contract for a very limited number of users.”
However, some airports, such as Austin-Bergstrom International airport and Reno-Tahoe International airport, offer free local phone calls for travellers who do not have mobile phones.
See the full report here.