Posts tagged “airports”

Time, he’s waiting in the wings

Originally uploaded by Victor Lombardi, who criticizes the addition of arrival data to the NYC subways, because that info shifts the experience into a waiting experience. It’s funny, because I had just spent 40 minutes at the San Francisco airport waiting for an arriving passenger, where they had no signage whatsoever about the different flights. I found it incredibly frustrating and tedious, since I couldn’t stop watching and couldn’t plan what I should do for the next 5, 10, 20, etc. minutes. I was musing to myself that more information – LOTS more information – makes waiting more tolerable. In-flight maps give you more information, allowing you to participate vicariously in the flight you are on (rather than passively as a butt-in-a-seat). Add in the good-vibes of transparency and it’s obvious…

And then Challis blogged the story about the post office removing clocks which hit the blogosphere with a predictable critique — the post office is playing Big Brother by removing info that would make us less satisfied with the experience. Challis would probably agree with my call for transparency and participation, but what would Victor think about the post office? Do the clocks shift the waiting time to something less pleasant?

Clearly, it depends on the person, their frame of mind, and the location. Lots of context to consider. But the contrasting examples seemed provocative.

Interisland zaniness

During our recent vacation we took an interisland flight from Honolulu to Lihue on Kauai. The Honolulu terminal is laid-back, to put it mildly. I’ve boarded from the tarmac elsewhere and it’s usually very clear where you can and can’t walk; with barricades, and people blocking your path and pointing which way to go.

Not so in Honolulu. The boarding area is rectangular, with one wall facing the tarmac and a series of doors, each a different gate. When you go through the gate and surrender your ticket, they tell you nothing about where to go next. You are standing on the tarmac facing a whole bunch of planes. Each gate leads to roughly the same place, with no wayfinding or anything to guide your passage to the plane itself.

We looked at the different logos and figured which gathering of small planes would be the one from our airline and we started wandering that way. Some passengers were cutting across the open paved space, others were walking along the edges. Eventually we found some ground crew who tried to figure out which plane we should be on; but the interaction was so slack that clearly this was not part of their ordinary role.

It hardly seemed safe; it absolutely wasn’t secure, and it was ridiculous customer service. There’s a difference between the Aloha Spirit and just leaving people to fend for themselves with no information or guidance. I wasn’t impressed.


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