Take offs & Land­ings

To­mor­row is Now Ar­riv­ing: Ideas for air travel come from all quar­ters. Plus new route news

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

For many fre­quent busi­ness trav­el­ers, the air­port is lit­er­ally a means to an end. Af­ter all, it’s called a‘ter­mi­nal’for a rea­son; the air­port is the end point, ei­ther at the be­gin­ning or the com­ple­tion of the jour­ney. There was a time when air­port de­sign, ser­vices and ameni­ties were util­i­tar­ian, ori­ented to through­put rather than stay-awhile hos­pi­tal­ity.

To­day air­port man­age­ment and some very savvy re­tail­ers have wised up to the pres­ence of lots of trav­el­ers in a rel­a­tively con­fined space. For ex­am­ple, Mall of Amer­ica, the largest shop­ping mall in the US, wel­comes around 42 mil­lion vis­i­tors an­nu­ally; by con­trast, At­lanta Harts­field Jack­son In­ter­na­tional, the busiest air­port in the world, hosted over 100 mil­lion guests last year.

Con­se­quently air­ports are in­creas­ingly com­ing to be viewed – and to view them­selves – as more than jump­ing off points. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey from Pri­or­ity Pass, the in­de­pen­dent air­port lounge ac­cess pro­gram, more than half (53 per­cent) of the 3,000 fre­quent trav­el­ers polled said that the air­port is some­thing to be en­joyed.

“We are wit­ness­ing an im­por­tant shift in mind-set when it comes to the air­port ex­pe­ri­ence,”says Stephen Simp­son, global mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Pri­or­ity Pass, part of Collinson Group.“It is clear that to­day’s fre­quent fliers no longer view them­selves as pas­sen­gers merely tran­sit­ing the air­port but as con­sumers seek­ing more re­ward­ing travel jour­neys.”

An im­por­tant fac­tor in that shift is the rise of the so-called‘dig­i­tal’flier. A sep­a­rate

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