Travellers with short airport layovers face a familiar dilemma: head directly to the gate or detour for food or drink and risk missing your boarding call. A new mobile app now in use at a U.S. airport claims to solve this problem by delivering your order directly to your gate.
USA Today reported July 10, 2017 that Airport Sherpa, which launched this week at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), allows travellers to place orders with airport food and retail vendor Airmall directly from their mobile device. Airport Sherpa employees then deliver the order to the departure gate; the service costs between $3.99 and $7.99 per order, depending on the distance between the vendor and the gate.
A similar app-based service, called At Your Gate, is scheduled to debut next month at San Diego International Airport and will cost $6.99 per order. At Your Gate promises a 10-minute delivery window, while Airport Sherpa offers a delivery-time estimate, with controls that prevent customers from ordering too close to boarding.
Research shows that many travellers are “gate huggers,” meaning they go directly from security checkpoints to their departure gate and rarely leave. That hurts sales at airport food and retail outlets, so airports have experimented with other ways to address the issue, such as installing iPad-equipped seating areas where orders can be placed, and deploying mobile food carts to gates.