The NY Times has an article up with what purports to be a true air passenger wish list. In it are things like clean restrooms, timely and correct flight arrival and departure information, and a safer better place to rest before or between flights. Those all seem like pretty good ideas. But here are a few of my suggestions for Airports that really want to make customers happy:
1) Redesign security check points so they are not a bottleneck. Frankly, I feel less secure waiting en mass to pass through a metal detector than I do on the otherside. So anything you can do to make that shorten that wait time and make it less like a group the better.
2) If you’re going to charge for parking how about offering proper lighting and regular patrols.
3) Vending machines at the Cell Phone waiting lots. I’m picking up someone whose flight is late, rather than running to Denny’s for a cup-o-joe, how about a vending machine or two and a restroom out at the cell phone waiting lot.
4) Better transportation options to and from your facility. I know the taxi lobby won’t want to read this, but Airports should be the champions for getting Light Rail stations right at the terminal with easy access from around the metropolitan area. No car, no fuss, makes for less stressed out passengers.
How about you, what should airports be doing better?
Polish up your Joie De Vivre, Air France has announced it will begin non-stop flights between Orlando International Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport starting June 11.
“This is an effort we’ve had going on for probably 20 years to get into France from Orlando,” said Phil Brown, executive director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, who said it took, “persistence with Air France to make it work.”
The addition of other international flights over the last few years has allowed Orlando International Airport to set a new annual record with 2.98 million international passengers arriving or departing in 2009. The airport reports that the 2010 pace also looks to be on record pace, up another 10 percent over last year.
The Department of Transportation is thoroughly making over the rules airlines must comply with when it comes to safety and passenger comfort. They’ve already limited the amount of time an airplane can spend in the tarmac before penalties start to accrue, now they’re focusing on undisclosed fees and overbooking that leads to involuntary bumping of passengers.
Currently, airlines must compensate passengers for involuntary bumping. You’ll receive at least $400 if the airline can arrange substitute transportation that will get you to your destination within one to two hours of your original scheduled arrival for domestic flights, or one to four hours for international flights. That rises to $800 if they miss that deadline.
The new regulations would up the penalties to $650 and $1300 respectively and then ties those amounts to inflation. “This administration believes consumers are entitled to strong and effective protections when they fly,” stated Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In theory this will provide an incentive for airlines to reduce the practice of overbooking and to schedule their flights to allow more time for possible delays.
Other rules and regulations suggested by the DOT include:
Smaller airports and international air carriers would be required to adopt contingency plans for long tarmac delays.
Airlines must provide passengers more information on delays, this includes international airlines.
Establish of minimum standards for carriers’ customer service plans and extend the customer service plan requirements to cover foreign carriers.
Carriers will be required to list taxes and fees in advertising and prevents “opt-out” add-ons (an oxymoron if there ever was one) such as trip insurance.
Airlines will now have to reveal extra fees like baggage and seat reservation fees where they publish their airfares.
One of my favorites, allow passengers a 24-hour grace period during which they can change their mind about an airline ticket purchase.
Post-purchase price increases would be prohibited.
Communication with passengers regarding flight status changes, such as cancellations and delays, would have to be more frequent and displayed at the boarding gate area, on website, and on telephone help lines.
What do you think? Will these proposed changes actually have an affect on your travel comfort?
With a giant volcanic ash cloud paralyzing air travel across Europe many passengers are stuck in the weird in-between world of airportlandia while they wait for mother nature to clear the skies. Turns out that when clouds of volcanic ash delays your flight you’re not entitled to compensation by the airline, so many have been forced to camp out at airports. Many for two days and perhaps longer. What’s an airport’s responsibility when this occurs?
The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has decided that extending as much hospitality as possible is the way to go. They’re prepared for events like this and have made available free beds and personal hygiene kits. There is some free food and wandering entertainment for stranded passengers too. Plus they’ve event opened the liquor stores, which must lend to a festive attitude.
Check out this clip from an online TV channel. You may not understand everything said, but it’s clear that they’re going the extra mile to make their guests comfortable.
I also enjoyed this mobile phone video of the Schiphol staff goofing off during the ‘Schiphol Crisis‘.
We hope that if you’re stranded in an airport due to the volcanic ash cloud that you’re being treated as well. And we’re doing a little rain dance for you to help clear up the skies soon.