lhcvg
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How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:04 pm

I know many of the Faithful around here frequently moan about the dilapidated terminals (at least for DL) at JFK, and the old "temporary" concourses at IAD, but do most people notice/care that much? I'm curious because it occurred to me that it might be similar to LCC's vs. legacy carriers in that people will tolerate more Spartan (or even a bit dingy) facilities if they feel they are getting a good deal--e.g., snowbirds flying WN or FL to Florida have little use for glistening, airy terminals and deluxe private lounges. Or is it like a retail store where there is a correlation between investing in the appearance and services (WiFi, good food joints, etc.) and higher revenues? I realize that airlines often don't control the terminals they use, but I'd think that if there were an impact it would still affect the airline because people would want to avoid that terminal regardless of who owned it.
 
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kanban
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:11 pm

with Homeland Security's emphasis on no lingering... the casual plane spotter is being driven out of the terminals... For most passengers all they see is the counter, TSA lines, and overpriced concessionaires and a frustrating rush to make a connection.. the idea of lounging around in ambiance is gone...except for people who utilize the private lounges.
 
davescj
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:13 pm

I think if the prices in the terminal were more reasonable, you'd see much more selling. Some things seem to be a starndard fee (most fast food places aren't that much higher). And I've yet to see an empty bar in an airport.

Food places (not fast) seem to do well also.

But the "ambiance" is well and truly gone.

Dave
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Bartonsayswhat
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:24 pm

After going thru YVR and T-1 at YYZ, and ending up in the A-Concourse of LGA, you notice.
 
nclmedic
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:46 pm

Personally, I know I used to dread flying out of T1 (and still dread T3) going out of LHR, but I must say, whatever anyone else complains about, T5 has completely changed my view of how a Heathrow experience can be. It's light, quiet, and I don't feel too overwhelmed by retail. Plenty of seating, lots of natural light, barely any queuing at check-in - this is all stuff that makes me a happy passenger, and as such I definitely choose to fly BA. From the airline's perspective, even if it's subconscious, calmer passengers can only be a good thing. I wouldn't say it's nirvana - it's not SIN after all - but it's the UK's closest.

TBIT on the other hand.....!
 
Talaier
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:47 pm

I don't know if there's any correlation, but at least here in the UK (and in most of Europe, truth to be told) all airport operators seem to see a correlation between an increase in the number of shops and revenue, reaching a point by which I can confidently declare Heathrow as arguably the UK's biggest shopping centre.
 
DLPMMM
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:48 pm

I could really care less about the terminals.

The average tourist doesn't know one airport from another, and will usually purchase on the basis of price or airline preference.

As a business frequent flyer, I will route myself to avoid certain airports where I can. I really don't care about the shopping and restaurants. The last thing I want is more crap to carry on my trips, and I already get enough to eat on most planes and in the lounges. If I really need to eat, a quick sandwich is generally enough.

More important is the ease of transit. For this reason, JFK, EWR, LHR and CDG all suck big-time.

JFK and EWR sucks because nothing is ever on time. Sure the facilities are iffy at JFK, but the never ending taxi times for a take-off slot and ever delayed arrivals are what really suck. The baggage handlers also seem to conspire at both airports to make sure you miss your domestic connection from TATL flights and so have to spend the night at one of the near-by less than desirable hotels.

LHR because BAA are a bunch of complete idiots that could not organize their way out of a wet paper bag. "Lets go stand in 8 different queues and take a 3rd world bus ride in order to change terminals!" Even changing within terminal 5 for an international to anything connection requires dealing with 6 queues and speaking (or listening) to a huge number of "queue minders" YELLING AT YOU ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT since you are a regular traveller. Combine that with a lack of runways that produce unnecessary delays to insure missing most any connection..

CDG because the archetects never had a clue about traffic flow management. Rube Goldberg would be proud.

FRA sucks if you need to go from and international to EU flight, as there is an inevadable incredible back-up at the inadequate few immigration booths when a 747 from India or other developing country has arrived. Otherwise FRA is rather nice.

AMS is not bad except for the massive distances that need to be walked only to find yourself dumped into a holding pen "until gates are announced".

ATL is great, except for that the ATL bound international pax get an extra security screening on arrival. Fast immigration lines, fast baggage, quick re-screening, quick transit to connecting flights.

NRT is a clusteryouknowwhat during the DL transfer waves. Otherwise, NRT is usually a nice experience.

ICN is a very nice airport.

HKG is also nice.
 
m11stephen
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:48 pm

All most passengers care about is cleanliness, check in and security times, and retail. They really don't care about aesthetics or architectural design like I do.  
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cloudboy
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:56 pm

I don't think it's one of those easily measured things, but it definitely has an impact. Look at how many people dread certain connection cities.

One of the other problems is that there is a lot more than just the terminal condition. The amount of retail and food, how that comes across (is it in your face?), waiting areas and how easy it is to get around all affect the passenger's impression of their trip. In many cases, though, it is not easy to put your finger on any one aspect, so it is hard to measure actual impact.

I think there is another factor, too, which is often overlooked. It has a big impact on how you view air travel in general. Now that most of our air terminals have become very crowded shopping malls, it is less a travel experience and much more a pain in the neck. There is no excitement anymore in the arrival and departure sequence, so that has affected air travel by making the whole flying process that much less special.

I am really surprised that JetBlue, with their focus on the " Jetting" marketing campaign, has spent so little effort on it's JFK terminal in that respect. However, it seems that the focus of airport design is on maximizing immediate profits to the airport than on improving the passenger's travel experience.
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airbazar
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 9:59 pm

Quoting LHCVG (Thread starter):
I realize that airlines often don't control the terminals they use, but I'd think that if there were an impact it would still affect the airline because people would want to avoid that terminal regardless of who owned it.

Speaking on a personal level only, I can tell you that I will gladly pay more to travel thru an airport that is more to my liking. A few examples, I avoid LHR like the plague even though flying BA/AA TATL is almost always the cheaper option for me. That may change due to T5 but the famous LHR congestion is still a detractor. Recently I paid more to connect at DEN vs. ORD, and CLT vs. PHL. I won't go anywhere near a NYC airport for connections either. How much more I'll pay is relative to a few other things like flight schedule and airline.
 
ridgid727
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 10:08 pm

Get on B6 in JFK, and arrive in LGB. Oh my!
 
Cubsrule
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 10:09 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 9):
Speaking on a personal level only, I can tell you that I will gladly pay more to travel thru an airport that is more to my liking.

Yes - and if all else is equal, I'll also pay more to use a nicer terminal within an airport if there is a large difference (e.g. flying DL rather than UA to BOS or flying WN rather than AA to STL).
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DeltaRules
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 10:24 pm

One of my favorite airports (in terms of feel & aesthetics) is MEM, which could be one that some might complain about. I love the "vintage" feel of the terminal there.
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spacecadet
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 10:29 pm

I think it probably matters more when there's a choice of connecting flights than anything else. As for O/D, usually if you have to go from one city to another, you don't have much choice anyway. A better terminal is more about maximizing terminal revenue, fees and taxes than it is about providing passenger comfort. That's why all new terminals are basically just shopping malls these days - this actually drives me nuts, but what am I going to do? Even in a city with 3 major airports, I'm not going to drive 20 miles out of my way to fly out of a different airport (which would mean flying an inferior airline anyway for most of the flights I take, and that's more important than the terminal).

But I know a lot of people who will avoid connecting out of certain airports because the terminals have nothing to do, or are really inconvenient or even just old and dingy. They'll find a flight that connects somewhere else.

[Edited 2010-05-22 15:31:00]
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shamrock604
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 11:09 pm

If its bad - then pax care a LOT!!!

Particularly, as pointed out above, when it comes to connecting points.

I know in this country, people are very, very quick to complain about our airports, and in surveys, frequently have said that they are willing to pay a higher airport charge if it results in a better experience.

If the airport is OK, and functions well while getting the basics right - like check in times, parking, security lines and has just enough Food and Bev options, than most people will be pretty happy with it. No one really needs a great glass and steel palace - most places just build those because it tends to impress visitors and give a good first impression.
 
NWAESC
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sat May 22, 2010 11:14 pm

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 12):
I love the "vintage" feel of the terminal there.

That's a very, um, "diplomatic" way of putting it!
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AADC10
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 12:02 am

Quoting LHCVG (Thread starter):
the old "temporary" concourses at IAD, but do most people notice/care that much?

If you are crammed into the end of Concourse C at IAD during the international flight bank, anyone will find the experience unpleasant. It is so crowded that it is difficult to move past the gates, there are not enough seats and in summer it can be hot and smelly. The restrooms are too small and there are limited concessions, not to even mention the train that goes to the site of the future terminal instead of the current one that will be in use for at least another decade.

Just about anyone would be annoyed by that.

I would think that the dank ugliness, low ceilings and small club lounges are more annoying to frequent travelers. The fact that Concourse B if far superior in comparison to C/D makes it even worse.

With any luck, CO/UA will shut down the CLE hub, move those operations to IAD and build planned the C/D replacement.
 
RussianJet
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 12:09 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 6):
I could really care less about the terminals.

You could?? So you do care a lot then? I agree, terminals are important. People can put up with a lot, but nonetheless they do notice.
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KOABoy
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 12:22 am

"This is a nasty, rotten business."-Robert L. Crandall, former AA CEO & President
 
ual747den
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 1:24 am

Living in Colorado and using DEN for everything has changed me! I am a complete snob when I fly now. When we arrive at some dump and you walk into a dingy looking jetway it really sucks. The other thing that I notice is the air, living up here at a mile high the air is much more dry and its clean and "fresh". When I arrive..... well almost anywhere else and I feel the heavy humid air it is very different than what I left behind a few hours ago.
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sirloin
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 1:40 am

Speaking from my own experience, and has been mentioned several times, it affects where I'd like to go to make a connection.

That said, there are few hubs/major operations out there where I really don't care to make a connection. LAX is really the only one I've been to that's a connection point that I didn't really care for (ditto B6's old JFK pier, but that's no longer an option). However, places like DEN, ATL, and DFW are all big winners for me as I love the quality of the airports. That said, the airline I'm flying plays an important part, but sometimes the airports I fly out of help me choose which airline I want. I like DL for flights to and from MCO, for instance, due to the quality of both their MCO facility as well as the inevitable ATL connection for someone like me on the east coast.

Sometimes, though, the quality of the airport determines to which one I fly when I have several choices for my particular destination. IAH is outstanding, especially when on CO, and as such I will likely choose it over HOU. The same goes for numerous other examples.

I think the terminals also play a part in what my mood will be if I get delayed. If I find I'm going to be sitting at my gate for another hour, I might even be happy about it if it's someplace like DTW where I can enjoy the setting. But if I'm going to be stuck at my gate for another hour in, say, FLL, I'm not going to be a particularly happy camper, lol.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 2:51 am

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 14):
If the airport is OK, and functions well while getting the basics right - like check in times, parking, security lines and has just enough Food and Bev options, than most people will be pretty happy with it. No one really needs a great glass and steel palace - most places just build those because it tends to impress visitors and give a good first impression.

While I agree with your sentiment, it can be difficult to separate aesthetics from funcionality because the two go together so often. Many older terminals are ugly but also lack adequate concessions and security checkpoints (generally because they were designed before security throughput and post-security concessions became important). I don't need a glass and steel palace, but I know that most glass and steel palaces are pretty functional.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Yflyer
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 6:42 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
While I agree with your sentiment, it can be difficult to separate aesthetics from funcionality because the two go together so often. Many older terminals are ugly but also lack adequate concessions and security checkpoints (generally because they were designed before security throughput and post-security concessions became important). I don't need a glass and steel palace, but I know that most glass and steel palaces are pretty functional.

The first time I flew to SMF, it was the lack of concessions in Terminal B that really made a bad first impression on me. I was late, and I just wanted to grab some dinner at the airport before picking up my car and heading to my hotel. All I could get at that time of night was a personal pizza that tasted like it had been sitting under a heat lamp for a few hours. The whole experience left me thinking "Really? This is what the capitol of California has for an airport terminal?" (Which is why I wholeheartedly support the new terminal they're building.)
 
davescj
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 6:50 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 6):
I could really care less about the terminals.

The average tourist doesn't know one airport from another, and will usually purchase on the basis of price or airline preference.

As a business frequent flyer, I will route myself to avoid certain airports where I can. I really don't care about the shopping and restaurants. The last thing I want is more crap to carry on my trips, and I already get enough to eat on most planes and in the lounges. If I really need to eat, a quick sandwich is generally enough.
Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 6):
HR because BAA are a bunch of complete idiots that could not organize their way out of a wet paper bag. "Lets go stand in 8 different queues and take a 3rd world bus ride in order to change terminals!" Even changing within terminal 5 for an international to anything connection requires dealing with 6 queues and speaking (or listening) to a huge number of "queue minders" YELLING AT YOU ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT since you are a regular traveller. Combine that with a lack of runways that produce unnecessary delays to insure missing most any connection..

I think the comment about tourists is true. But --- because those same tickets often have terrible connection times -- and because you have to be there early for the flight, people are spending more time in the terminal. The more you make it a pleasant experience (to the extent possible), people will buy more which drives revenue for the airport.

Biz flyers are a huge deal for airports because that's where money for the airlines are at. Airlines always want the customers paying more to be happy. That's why they offer the lounge --- to get you out of the terrible looking terminal!

Ref T5, I agre. Much better than the old terminals BA had. But -- as to the queue minders -- I agree for those who are frequent fliers. You'd be amazed even in the J line people ask "Do I have to take liquids out?" "Do I have to remove my lap top?" Can I carry.....through? etc.

The buses at LHR are terrible. With the new government in the UK we know that a new runway will not happen at LHR>

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adam42185
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 7:01 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 11):
Yes - and if all else is equal, I'll also pay more to use a nicer terminal within an airport if there is a large difference (e.g. flying DL rather than UA to BOS or flying WN rather than AA to STL).

How much more? Granted termnal A in BOS is far superior to terminal C, but is it worth $50? $100? How much time do you actually spend in the terminal and how mush is that worth to you?
 
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DocLightning
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 7:08 am

Quoting nclmedic (Reply 4):
T5 has completely changed my view of how a Heathrow experience can be. It's light, quiet, and I don't feel too overwhelmed by retail.

See, I wasn't blown away. I thought it looked like any other European air terminal.

I'm a big fan of MAD's T4, although there's a *lot* of walking. DTW's Midfield terminal is better executed with its train. Are they repainting the train in DL colors?

I have to say that there are few airports that I would describe as "delightful" but DTW's Midfield terminal is one of them. Good spotting (if a bit monotonous... DL, more DL, a bit more DL, and look! DL!) and easy-to-navigate, fast, easy, and pretty. The retail is so-so, but at least it's not overwhelming. There are lots of places to just sit and chillax, and there's the really cool world fountain.

One thing I'd really like to see terminals work on, though, is making outlets available. In the last 10-15 years, the average traveler has accumulated a lot more battery-powered devices and we wanna plug in our laptops!
-Doc Lightning-

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isitsafenow
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RE: How Much Do Pax Really Care About Terminals?

Sun May 23, 2010 2:07 pm

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 6):
I could really care less about the terminals.

You never changed NW flights at the old terminal in Detroit compared to the new one.
If you did, you would care.............ALOT!!
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