Travellers in favour of using AI at airports

An online YouGov poll commissioned by leading inflight entertainment and passenger engagement company Spafax published today reveals that younger travellers want airports to use technology to enhance their airport experience – but older travellers are more wary*:

The poll, of 2,110 respondents (gen UK adult population of 18+), asked about their wishlist for ‘an airport lounge of the future’ revealed:

  • 37% of people aged 18 to 34 would play augmented reality (AR) board games with other passengers but only 9% of of 55 and overs would
  • 17% of 18-24-year-olds would like to try on hologram clothes at an airport, while only 6% of 55 and overs would.
  • 36% of women would choose, when in an airport lounge, a virtual reality (VR) preview of tourist attractions at their destination, along with the opportunity to pre-book tickets once they’d browsed

Similarly, a second GB survey**, which asked respondents to envisage an upcoming long haul flight from London to New York  showed that 38% wanted artificial intelligence to help with speeding up the airport process and 35% wanted it to give information on news in their destination whilst on-board the flight.

 

Regional differences

A YouGov survey* regarding choices for the airport lounge showed a sharp difference in both ages and regions – given the option of taking a virtual reality ‘Great Wall of China’ experience in an airport lounge where the passenger would walk on a treadmill and in real-time experience the sights of the Great Wall of China – people from Wales were the most enthusiastic, with 31% saying that they would, while people from the North East of England were the least enthusiastic (16%).

Passengers from the South East were most likely to choose to test-drive the latest luxury sports cars using virtual reality headsets and sitting in real car seats at an airport (25%), while people in the North East were less enthusiastic at 16%.

Eleven per cent of people in the South West would like a VR experience that recreated their own sitting rooms in the airport lounge, the highest in the UK.

The second survey, where respondents were asked to think specifically about a hypothetical upcoming trip from London to New York, went on to confirm these regional differences**:

People in the South West (45%) were most likely to want technology to help them speed up the journey through the airport.

People in the South East (42%) and Scotland (39%) were the most likely to want AI to give them information on the latest news in the area they were going to.

 

Sharp difference in what the young and old want from airport experience

A recent survey* proved that retired passengers were possibly the most relaxed passengers, with only 2% of them saying they’d like to take part in a virtual reality boxing match to let off steam before the flight, while 17% of full-time students chose this option.

When comparing the working status of these groups, we can see that a full 44% of full-time students said that they would choose to do the full China Wall experience while only 23% of retired people would.

Nearly a half (48%) of retired people did not want any sort of personalized experience at an airport compared with a quarter (25%) of full time students.

Similarly, a second YouGov survey** confirmed these age differences in relation to AI for a hypothetical upcoming flight from London to New York:

Twenty-seven per cent of all respondents would not like artificial intelligence to assist them with anything for their trip with over 55s most resistant to AI in airports at 33% saying they would not like it to assist them, while only 17% of 18-24-year-olds didn’t want help from AI.

Students were most likely to want to use AI to teach them a new language or skill with 38% choosing this option.

 

Difference between men and women

One survey* suggested that women seem to be keener on a real-world sensory experience, involving direct human interaction – for the question “You will be served an array of small luxury handmade chocolates and a pink cider. The staff serving you will explain how each is made” it was a thumbs up from 21% of men while 30% of women chose the option.

Twenty-seven per cent of men would test drive a new luxury car in VR, while only 17% of women would.

A second survey**, about a potential future London to New York trip, similarly proved that women were significantly more likely at 33% to want a personalized guide to their destination than men (25%). Men were more likely to want to AI to teach them a new skill or language (21%) than women (16%).

 

Most passengers are open to help and guidance from AI, but not with medical issues**

People in the East of England (14%) and full-time students (18%) are most likely to welcome on-board medical help driven by artificial intelligence, while those in the North East (4%) are less keen.

Charles Vine, Head of Brand Alliances at Spafax said:

“We commissioned this research to find out what the British public actually wants out of their airport and airport lounge experiences. Airport lounges in particular are evolving from faceless waiting rooms with chairs and a coffee machine to being providers of an experience in their own right. The results send a clear message to us that people want the introduction of technology, but only in a way that enhances their trip, entertains or is enjoyable.

“27% were against being helped by AI for a hypothetical upcoming trip, whereas a resounding 68% of the British public did want artificial intelligence AI to help them get the most out of their time at the airport – whether that be assistance navigating the airport terminals or speeding up the check in process. ”

Air France’s new business class lounge now complete at Paris CDG

Air France’s new business class lounge now complete at Paris CDG

After revealing the first stage of the revamp last January, Air France’s redesiged Business lounge has been unveiled in full in Hall L of Terminal 2E at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The 3,200 sqm lounge has capacity for 540 guests and includes several entirely new features, including bar area Le Balcon; the largest wellness area of all the airline’s lounges; a Kids area; and dining area Gourmet Table.

Guests are greeted at the lounge by an interactive map , allowing them to browse all the services available.

Designed by Mathieu Lehanneur, Le Balcon (160 sqm) comes complete with LED screen in the floor depicting an image of the sky that reflects the time of day, blue velvet seating and a cocktail menu from the head bartender of the Hotel Lancaster in Paris.

Food is available from the Gourmet Table dining area, which features an open kitchen where a chef prepares tasty hot dishes by adding the final touch in front of the customer. There is also a self-service option of hot and cold dishes, with a wine list from Paolo Basso, winner of world’s best sommelier in 2013.

The wellness area includes a relaxation area, detox bar, Clarins spa, saunas and showers.

Additional spaces include Le Club, a more private seating area, a Kids area and the quiet zone Le Petit Salon, while two co-working tables provide individual power sockets.

Record number of guns seized at US airports this year

Xray scan detects weapon in briefcase (iStock)

More than 100 Guns Seized at One U.S. Airport Already This Year

US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have stopped 108 travellers for attempting to carry firearms – mostly loaded, and many with chambered rounds — through security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2018. That includes 30 guns seized during the month of May alone, USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/06/07/record-number-guns-confiscated-atlanta-airport-worlds-busiest/682150002/) reported June 7, 2018.

 

U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have stopped 108 travellers for attempting to carry firearms — mostly loaded, and many with chambered rounds — through security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2018. That includes 30 guns seized during the month of May alone, USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/06/07/record-number-guns-confiscated-atlanta-airport-worlds-busiest/682150002/) reported June 7, 2018.

 

Including the weapons seized at the U.S.’s busiest airport, TSA has confiscated more than 1,700 guns at airports across the nation so far in 2018. In 2017, the agency seized a record 3,391 weapons at airports in the U.S. (https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/01/21/tsa-seized-nearly-3400-guns-airport-security-checkpoints-last-year/)

 

“People are so used to having guns with them all the time,” said TSA spokesperson Mark Howell said, who added that there is “hardly ever an intent to do it on purpose.”

 

Mistake or not, the cost for entering a security checkpoint is high: first-time offenders typically face a fine of $3,900, and fines can go as high as $13,000. The government also takes possession of all seized weapons, which are often resold at auction.

 

Georgia has particularly liberal laws regarding concealed carry of weapons.

 

In addition to guns found in carryon luggage, TSA also may seize weapons packed in checked luggage if they have not been declared and enclosed in a hard case separate from ammunition.

New Priority Pass dining option at JFK

London, 6th March 2018: Priority Pass™, the largest independent lounge membership program, today announces an exclusive partnership with Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at New York’s JFK International airport. It is the first restaurant to be added to the Priority Pass program at JFK, as well as the first option for members flying from Terminal 8.

Priority Pass members can now use one of their lounge visits to receive USD$28 off the bill at the restaurant, located in Terminal 8 of the airport, between 6am and 10pm daily. Bobby Van’s Grill brings the same high-quality steakhouse and grill fare of other Bobby Van’s establishments, featuring dry aged steaks, a well-stocked bar, and elegant decor that will help guests enjoy and relax while at the airport.

 

Sheryl Pflaum, Executive VP and General Manager Lifestyle Benefits, Collinson Group, said: “We’re constantly looking at ways to further enhance the experiences of our members airside through premium lounge access and exciting partnerships. We’ll continue to add the best restaurants to our program; expanding the areas where our members can relax, grab a bite to eat, or fire off last minute emails before their flight.”

 

Members are required to show a boarding pass with confirmed same-day travel to use this offer.  A maximum of one guest visit can be used in addition to the member visit. The restaurant will deduct US$28 per visit used for purchase of any meal and/or drinks, for a maximum of $56. For example, if a cardholder registers one guest, they will receive US$56 off their bill, which will be charged as one cardholder visit plus one guest visit on their account. Only one membership card per visit, per cardholder is accepted at point of entry. More details can be found here.

 

This news follows other restaurant additions to the Priority Pass membership program, including seven restaurants and bars at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, BOTEJYU restaurant at Osaka, Kansai International and the Grain Store Café & Bar at London Gatwick.

 

 

– Ends –

 

About Priority Pass:

The original and largest independent airport lounge membership program.

Priority Pass is the original and largest independent airport lounge membership program, accepted at over 1000 lounges worldwide across 500+ cities and in more than 130 countries, (regardless of class of travel / airline flown) plus access to exclusive Collinson partnerships and dining, retail and spa offers through the Priority Pass app.

 

Priority Pass is a flagship product of the Collinson Group, a global leader in influencing customer behaviour to drive revenue and value for its clients and program members. The Group offers a unique blend of industry and sector specialists who together provide market-leading expertise in delivering products and services across four core capabilities: Lifestyle Benefits, Loyalty, Insurance, and Assistance. Collinson Group has more than 25 years’ experience, with 25 global locations, servicing over 800 clients in 150 countries, employing over 2000 staff, managing over 20 million end customers.

 

For more details please visit www.prioritypass.com

More germs at airport check-in than in toilets

London Gatwick North Terminal zone-a-ba-check-in-area

Airport Kiosks May Deliver Illness Along with Your Boarding Pass

 

By Bob Curley

 

Worried about germs during this deadly flu season? At the airport, you’re more likely to catch something by touching a check-in monitor than in the restrooms, according to a new report from the travellers’ insurance site InsuranceQuotes.com.

 

Worried about germs during this deadly flu season? At the airport, you’re more likely to catch something by touching a check-in monitor than in the restrooms, according to a new report from the travellers’ insurance site InsuranceQuotes.com.

 

Researchers dispatched to three major U.S. airports found that the germiest surfaces, by far, were airline self-services kiosks, where swabs revealed 253,857 “colony-forming units” (CFUs) of bacteria and fungus per square inch — far more than the average of 172 CFUs found on toilet seats. One sample contained more than one million CFUs.

 

“With mass amounts of traffic, self check-in kiosks are the quick stop for many flyers. The kiosks may offer more convenience, but at what cost?” the report said.

 

Other airport germ hot spots included gate bench armrests (21,630 CFUs) and drinking fountain buttons (19,181 CFUs).

 

Aboard aircraft, the surfaces travellers would be best advised to avoid touching included lavatory flush buttons (95,145 CFUs), seatback tray tables (11,595 CFUs), and seat belt buckles (1,116 CFUs).

 

“It’s often thought airplanes are cleaned between each flight, but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration actually doesn’t regulate or inspect aircraft cleaning,” the report noted. “Each airline can decide how often and how well an airplane is cleaned, so if the turnaround time between flights is low, the plane may not be cleaned at all. Even when a plane is cleaned, general cleaners are used rather than stronger disinfectants, leaving dangerous germs right in your lap.”

 

Surfaces contained a mix of benign and potentially dangerous bacteria and fungi.

 

https://www.insurancequotes.com/health/germs-at-the-airport

Hong Kong Airport to build new garden-themed enhancements

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) looks to be joining Singapore’s Changi Airport when it comes to developing a new garden-themed enhancements, with the Airport Authority of Hong Kong confirming it will be developing a new two-level roof garden and children’s area on top of its expanded East Hall of Terminal 1.

The announcement follows the recent decision by the authority to invest some HK$7 billion (US$898 million) to upgrade its facilities ahead of the opening of its third runway in 2024.

On the other wise of the expanded East hall to the two-level green enhancement will also be an outdoor garden for passengers to use. A dedicated recreational zone with “new technologies for travellers” will also be developed as part of the expanded East Hall.

The boarding gate areas of Terminal 1 may also be set to undergo a revamp with the Airport Authority looking into the possibility of introducing themed areas to change the look and feel of the boarding gate vicinity.

Meanwhile, the airport’s new Sky Bridge that will connect Terminal 1 and the North Satellite Concourse will feature an observation deck along with F&B options in the towers at both sides. Set approximately 28 metres above ground, the 200-metre-long Sky Bridge will have space for large aircraft including A380s to pass underneath.

The announcement comes shortly after Changi Airport announced it would be creating a new garden-themed Canopy Park atop its upcoming Jewel development.

Expansion of HKIA is currently expected to be completed by 2020, while Changi’s Jewel development is scheduled to open in early 2019.

These developments at HKIA come on top of the upcoming Skycity integrated complex near Terminal 2, announced last October and with the first phase due to open in 2020.

hongkongairport.com

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

Charminar, Hyderabad

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

The offer is valid at Hyderabad International Airport’s arrival and departure stores until December 15, 2017

Hyderabad Duty Free and Cathay Pacific have partnered to offer shoppers 15 per cent discounts at the duty free stores on presenting their Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

The offer is valid until December 15, 2017, and can be availed at the arrival and departure duty free stores at Hyderabad International Airport. The only catch here is that the 15 per cent discount is applicable for a minimum bill value of $150 in arrivals and $50 in departures.

Like most offers, this one too cannot be clubbed with any other offers or discounts.

Rajesh Menon, regional sales and marketing manager — South Asia at Cathay Pacific Airways said, “We are delighted to extend this offer to our customers. Hyderabad has grown into an important market for us and we are constantly undertaking initiatives to provide our customers a seamless experience not just while on board but through their entire journey. This promotion with Hyderabad Duty Free is a great way for [Cathay passengers] to enjoy their experience while at Hyderabad International Airport.”

cathaypacific.com

Cathay Pacific passengers get 15 per cent off at Hyderabad Duty Free

The offer is valid at Hyderabad International Airport’s arrival and departure stores until December 15, 2017

Hyderabad Duty Free and Cathay Pacific have partnered to offer shoppers 15 per cent discounts at the duty free stores on presenting their Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

The offer is valid until December 15, 2017, and can be availed at the arrival and departure duty free stores at Hyderabad International Airport. The only catch here is that the 15 per cent discount is applicable for a minimum bill value of $150 in arrivals and $50 in departures.

Like most offers, this one too cannot be clubbed with any other offers or discounts.

Rajesh Menon, regional sales and marketing manager — South Asia at Cathay Pacific Airways said, “We are delighted to extend this offer to our customers. Hyderabad has grown into an important market for us and we are constantly undertaking initiatives to provide our customers a seamless experience not just while on board but through their entire journey. This promotion with Hyderabad Duty Free is a great way for [Cathay passengers] to enjoy their experience while at Hyderabad International Airport.”

cathaypacific.com

Ministry of Civil Aviation asks airlines to move from Delhi Airport’s T1 to T2

Delhi International Airport

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation wants budget carriers GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet to move operations from Delhi Airport’s Terminal 1 (T1) to Terminal 2 (T2).

Currently, T1 that has a capacity for 20 million passengers is handling 24 million passengers. By moving the low cost airlines to T2, the ministry hopes to reduce the load on T1 and begin work on its expansion well before winter.

The airlines have been hesitant to move as they fear a rise in operational costs.

In a strongly worded letter to the airlines, published by Hindustan Times yesterday who has a copy, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has said: “As a final opportunity, the airlines operating from T1 shall discuss the issue among themselves in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable situation in a month, by July 15, 2017. In case there is no consensus by July 15, the airport operator shall be free to decide the suitable course of action, which shall be binding on these airlines.”

Terminal 2 was renovated early last year so the low cost airlines could operate out of there. However, airlines have been hesitant to move as they fear a rise in operational costs.

Until 2016, T2 was used for international flights, which now operate out of Terminal 3 (T3). Since the carriers have been hesitant in moving to T2, the terminal remains under-utilised, serving Haj flights once a year.

Currently, Delhi Airport’s operational Terminals 1 and 3 are handling a total capacity of 62 million passengers per annum. International Terminal 3 is also reaching a stage of congestion, which the ministry hopes to ease by making T2 operational “before the commencement of winter schedule 2017”.

civilaviation.gov.in 

Hong Kong International Airport set for HK$7bn enhancement

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is set to get a HK$7 billion (US$897 million) upgrade of its facilities ahead of the opening of its third runway in 2024, according to a report by The South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority’s investment will see enhancements made to the existing Terminal 1, notably a new 17,000sqm annex building outfitted with more than 40 additional check-in and self-service bag-drop facilities. Terminal 1 will also be expanded and a Sky Bridge is set to be built connecting the terminal with the north satellite concourse.

Existing plans to add 33 aircraft parking stands at Terminal 1 will also be completed. Meanwhile, new dining and retail options will be made available at the airport’s East Hall.

These developments come on top of the upcoming Skycity integrated complex near Terminal 2, announced last October and with the first phase due to open in 2020.

According to the Airport Authority’s executive director for corporate development, Wilson Fung Wing-yip, the authority is heavily promoting the use of public rather than private transport into and out of the airport. This is despite the fact that development of a new 12-storey multi-functional building that will offer 1,400 parking spaces next to the Car Park 4 site is also scheduled for completion by 2019.

From a traveller perspective, this emphasis away from private transportation will see them hit with significant fee increases for long-stay parking. Starting June 15 this year, hourly parking is set to rise between 9 and 11 percent, while three-day parking will jump 57 percent, and the authority is not ruling out the possibility of these rising even further in future.

But even travellers using public transport don’t look as though they will be able to avoid being hit with price hikes of their own. In April, The MTR Corporation proposed an increase to fares on the Airport Express rail link by about 10.3 percent as early as this month.

Passenger traffic at HKIA is expected to rise by more than 100 million by 2030, notably as a result of the new third runway as well as the expected completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge this year and the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok underwater tunnel in 2018.

The upcoming developments at HKIA follow a similar trend throughout Asia-Pacific, with South Korea, mainland China, and Singapore all seeing expansions and enhancements to their airports, along with entirely new airports. Meanwhile last week, Singapore’s Changi Airport unveiled a new Canopy Park attraction as part of its upcoming Jewel development, set to open in 2019.

hongkongairport.com

Auckland Airport to invest NZ$1.8 billion in aeronautical infrastructure

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport will be investing some NZ$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) in aeronautical infrastructure development over the next five years as it looks to enhance its international departures and arrivals capabilities, along with adding new domestic facilities.

The move comes as the country’s major airport has been experiencing significant growth over the past few years, notably a 26 percent increase in passenger volume since 2014 and a 61 percent increase in international airlines over the past 22 months. In the last year, Hong Kong AirlinesHainan Airlines, and Tianjin Airlines, for instance, have each launched new non-stop services to the New Zealand city.

It will be these international services that will be seeing the lion’s share of the new investment. Among the developments planned to take place between 2018 and 2022, the airport will be “expanding and upgrading the international departure experience” as well as providing three additional international gates for aircraft such as the A380 and B787. International arrivals will also be able to make use of expanded border processing areas and public spaces, while departures will see an upgraded check-in area.

However the domestic front won’t be completely ignored, with plans for a new domestic jet terminal attached to the existing international terminal also among the announced developments.

“As a result of this significant investment in infrastructure over the next five years, there will be better and faster passenger journeys through and around our airport,” said Auckland Airport’s chief executive, Adrian Littlewood. “The experience within the terminals will be more intuitive and relaxing, and transferring between domestic jet and international flights will be faster and more efficient.”

“Setting aeronautical prices for a five-year period is a complex process involving a range of specific charges. We believe that the prices we have announced today balance different views and are in the best interests of travellers and New Zealand.”

Along with the investment announcement, Littlewood also confirmed expected changes to passenger charges.

“For the next five years, in real terms, our average international passenger charges will reduce by 1.7 percent each year and domestic passenger charges will only increase by 0.8 percent per annum. Given the scale of the planned investment this is a great outcome for travellers.”

Auckland Airport already currently invests more than NZ$1 million (US$720,000) per working day on aeronautical infrastructure.

“We believe Aucklanders and New Zealanders recognise the need for long-term planning and development of critical aviation infrastructure. In the next five years, we will take significant steps on the path to opening our second runway which we currently expect to be required in 2028,” Littlewood added.

aucklandairport.co.nz