Seven organisations were recognised for their outstanding efforts to improve the passenger experience at the 2nd Future Travel Experience Awards, which were presented at the Future Travel Experience 2012 Gala Evening in Vancouver.
Best Check-in Experience – Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport was awarded the Best Check-in Experience for its innovative approach to offsite check-in and the new check-in facilities that have been implemented in the new Terminal 3. Passengers leaving Las Vegas have a number of options when it comes to checking-in, including self-service kiosks with self-tagging, kerbside check-in stations and offsite check-in along the Strip. In April this year, offsite check-in was extended to the Riviera Hotel and Casino, while passengers are also able to check-in and drop off their bags at a number of other locations, including Harrah’s, Luxor, MGM Grand, Plaza, The Venetian, The Palazzo, McCarran Rent-A-Car Center, Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Best Baggage Initiative – Aéroports de Paris
Aéroports de Paris (AdP) was awarded the Best Baggage Initiative for the development and implementation of a two-step self-service baggage drop off system. Developed in-house by AdP alongside Alstef, the system has reduced the bag drop process to as little as 17 seconds, with the average processing time standing at just 30 seconds. Following a successful trial at Paris Orly in which a 99.9% bag tag read rate was recorded, four self-service bag drop units are being installed permanently, while the system will also be installed in Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. AdP plans to have 50 units in place across the two airports by 2015.
Best Arrivals Experience – London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport was awarded the Best Arrivals Experience accolade in recognition of the welcome it gave visitors during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the official host airport, Heathrow Airport welcomed an additional 125,000 passengers as a direct result of the Games, and a number of events were held to make sure that the airport experience was very much part of the overall London 2012 experience. 1,000 Olympic volunteers were sourced by the airport to welcome Olympic-related traffic and provide advice and information; the Queen’s Guards band appeared in the terminals; the official London 2012 mascots toured each of the terminals; table tennis tables were brought in for passengers to try their hand at the Olympic sport; Olympic art exhibitions were held in T5; and television screens were installed across the terminal to ensure that passengers didn’t miss a minute of the action.
Best Passenger Assistance Initiative – Iberia
Iberia won the Best Passenger Assistance Initiative award for its Ágora project, which is at the heart of the airline’s ambition to make its Madrid-Barajas T4 hub the most user-friendly airport terminal in the world. The scheme includes no less than 220 initiatives and among the latest are the deployment of interactive Quick Service Points; next-generation check-in kiosks; roving agents who can check passengers in and print boarding passes using iPads; and a multilingual virtual assistant who is on hand to assist with passenger enquiries.
Best Initiative at the Gate – easyJet
easyJet won the Best Initiative at the Gate award for ‘Project Halo’. ‘Halo’ devices are ruggedised, handheld PDAs that can be used by ground staff at the gate. Staff on the ground will not be tied to a desk – they will be able to stand next to the passenger with the Halo device in their hand, scan the boarding pass, validate the passenger and board them. As the Halo software is part of the departure software programme, it enables passengers to add bags even at a stage as late as at the gate. The judges championed ‘Halo’ for creating a far more personable experience between the passenger and airline agent, and for taking the innovative step of utilising cloud-based technology to drive the initiative.
Best Use of Mobile Technology – Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines was awarded Best Use of Mobile Technology for the innovative baggage tracking function that is available via its official app for Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices. Passengers who have downloaded the app simply have to enter the number on their baggage receipt or scan the barcode to receive an instant update on whether their bag has been successfully loaded on to the aircraft and which carousel it can be collected from at the arrival destination. Passengers are even able to access the baggage tracking function on the app while they are in the air thanks to Delta’s inflight Wi-Fi. In addition, Delta has roaming agents using mobile devices in the airport to help passengers in need, and it recently announced that it will be deploying 250 iPads for passengers to use throughout Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to order food, browse the Web or check their flight status.
Best Security and Immigration Experience – Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport won the Best Security and Immigration Experience award for the significant upgrades that have been made to the security and immigration processes as part of its £1.2 billion Capital Investment Programme. One of the airport’s passenger commitments is ‘We hate queues’ and the airport is succeeding in cutting waiting times, as is highlighted by the fact that the average waiting time at security now stands at just 107 seconds. To simplify access to the security search zone, facial recognition technology has been implemented, while dedicated special assistance and family lanes have been introduced. The centralised security area in the South Terminal can now handle as many as 5,000 passengers per hour. In both the North and South Terminals, immigration e-Gates have been installed to expedite and automate border clearance for e-Passport holders.
UPDATE: After Gatwick Airport won the “Best Security and Immigration Experience” award, we were able to catch up with them as they outlined their passenger vision for London’s second busiest airport.
The 3rd Future Travel Experience Awards will take place at FTE 2013, which will be hosted by McCarran International Airport at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, 4-6 September 2013.