Cory6188
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American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:56 am

A recent work trip to LHR and MAN got me thinking about the differences between American and European airport design, and I'm sure that a.netters would have input on the topic.

In the US, with a few exceptions (RDU comes to mind, as well as some airports' international terminals), the gate areas are branded for specific airlines, with gates assigned far in advance of the flight, with pax directed to wait at their specific gate for their flight. There are obviously common areas with retail, dining, etc. -- but generally speaking, pax are accustomed to waiting at their specific gate for their intended flight. Even where the gates are all common-use, gates are still indicated far ahead of the flight time.

Comparatively, in Europe, nearly everything is common use (again, there are exceptions, but true for the most part), with minimal to no airline branding at each gate, and all pax directed to a common lounge where they wait until their gate assignment is broadcast shortly before boarding begins.

Obviously, the second method is much more efficient in terms of gate usage, since multiple airlines can use a single gate, but the experience does feel quite a bit more sterile.

Any explanation as to how these two, very different systems developed in terms of pax waiting areas and gate announcement?

I'm not as familiar with how things are organized in the rest of the world, only having been to NRT, where the DL gates seemed to be pretty dedicated to their operation, but again, without any customized branding/organization. The gate was also announced far ahead of boarding. Would love any input here as well!
 
frostyj
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:17 pm

I much prefer the American version. At least the decor.

To me the main difference is the layout and the position of the shops and the gates. With my experience in America they have a central hub and all the gates extend out from there whereas in the European continent gates are all in one terminal.

This is not always the case though, for example, Stansted. I like the way some of the airports are split up into different sections for each airline, it looks nicer that way.

Another difference would be use of plants and carpets in some American airports. Seating style is quite different in each individual airport wereas here we have these silver chairs everywhere:

Freezing cold and rock hard, not good to sit on. http://www.furnituretochina.com/uploadfile/20100526162402527.jpg

[Edited 2015-01-23 05:19:41]
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hongkongflyer
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:23 pm

Becasue In US, airline own the gates (and even the terminal) while in Europe all the gates and terminals are owned by the airport management authority and airlines pay the fee based on their usage.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:31 pm

Very few airports in the USA have need for a large number of international-capable gates. The domestic market is such a large if not exclusive percentage of travel, airport layouts will reflect that paradigm. In many cases, those US airports that need IFS gates can blend them right into the existing gates in a mixed-use setup.

Obviously, airports with larger international footprints have in many cases terminals designed exclusively for international operations.

US airline flight patterns also reflect the design. A spoke airport in the USA often requires several gates for a specific carrier. Say DL has flights from XXX to ATL, MSP, DTW and SLC they might require 3-5 exclusive gates for RON's and frequent service to the hubs throughout the day.

Few European airports deal with such larger numbers of domestic flights, though with Schengen this has changed over the years.
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ScottB
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:49 pm

Quoting hongkongflyer (Reply 2):
Becasue In US, airline own the gates (and even the terminal)

Actually, there are very few airports in the U.S. (if any) these days at which an airline (or group of airlines) owns its terminal or even part of a terminal. Rather, the airlines lease their premises (including gates and other operational areas) under long-term preferential-use leases which allow modifications to suit their operations and branding.

Quoting Cory6188 (Thread starter):
Any explanation as to how these two, very different systems developed in terms of pax waiting areas and gate announcement?

In the U.S., part of the explanation lies in the fact that airlines are often involved in designing and/or financing new terminals. The McNamara Terminal was designed by NWA to meet its operational needs, just as Terminal E at IAH and Concourse C-3 at EWR were designed and built by CO. WN is financing the construction of the new international concourse at HOU.

Also, the major European airports have typically needed to accommodate a far larger number of different carriers than most U.S. airports save JFK, LAX, & MIA -- owing to the large number of different sovereign nations in Europe, most with their own national carrier, not to mention colonial connections with dozens more countries.
 
N766UA
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:57 pm

I'm glad others have noticed this! In my travels, I've found European gate-usage to be very confusing at best. Coming off a long haul flight and having to sit around guessing what terminal your connection is going to be in can be kind of obnoxious.

I've also noticed that European terminals have a very antiseptic feel to them. They're almost all white/silver with yellow signs. It feels clean, but it also feels impersonal, and I can't in my memory differentiate MAN from CDG from LGW for that reason. They're just sort of... instututional.

[Edited 2015-01-23 07:59:03]
 
frostyj
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:12 pm

Quoting ScottB (Reply 4):

You know its funny you mention Terminal C because when I was writing my post the whole time I was thinking on that terminal. It is personalised to the hilt
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burnsie28
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:27 pm

Quoting hongkongflyer (Reply 2):
Becasue In US, airline own the gates (and even the terminal) while in Europe all the gates and terminals are owned by the airport management authority and airlines pay the fee based on their usage.

Most are leased but up to the airline to furnish anything beyond airport standard. There are some places that are owned (NW owned Concourse G in MSP). But in the US its just easier with operations to keep things in the same place and it allows airlines to re-enforce their own brand. It also allows them to offer a more consistent product (IE like DL has powerports in their seating areas at many airports etc).
 
a380787
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:34 pm

The downside of owning gates is that it leads to inefficiency

2 gates for 16 daily departures capacity (hypothetical). Airline A wants 5 flights, airline B wants 11 flights.

Together they fit the 2 gates nearly perfectly if totally shared. In the US model :

1. If A and B each own one gate, A will have wasted capacity and B can't operate their full schedule

2. B owns both gates, then A will have to use B's gates (with all of B's branding)

3. B owns both gates and doesn't share, leading to only 11/16 utilized while A has to find space elsewhere
 
incitatus
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:45 pm

Quoting ScottB (Reply 4):
In the U.S., part of the explanation lies in the fact that airlines are often involved in designing and/or financing new terminals.

That sentence reminds me of T5 in London Heathrow. Either T5 is an exception or London really isn't in Europe  
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TheSonntag
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:48 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 5):
Coming off a long haul flight and having to sit around guessing what terminal your connection is going to be in can be kind of obnoxious.

Did you connect in LHR? The idea of announcing the gates rather late (so that people stay longer in the shopping areas) is extremely annoying and was introduced there. If I remember correctly, this is fortunately not really so common in the rest of Europe.

Still, also in Europe there are certain pattern. MUC has 2 terminals, with T2 being a terminal for star alliance, so you find mostly LH and some others there, while T1 is more diverse.

What others have rightfully said already, Europe is still more divided into airlines for each country. Despite all EU harmonisation and large airlines like FR and Easyjet, there are still few "real european" carriers. so flights Germany-Portugal are usually divided between LH and TAP, flights Germany-Spain between german carriers and spanish carriers, flights Germany-UK between LH, BA and LCCs and so on.

So airports like HAM (which, like most german airports, are owned by the state and the cities), get many different airlines.

Check-in is different, however. At least big airlines based at airports tend to have their own check.-in counters, and those do not change so much.
 
N766UA
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:04 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 10):

Actually the biggest culprit I can think of was my connection in MAN. I also had a similar experience in BRU, but you could more accurately guess the gate there, and the terminal was easier to navigate. Maybe it's a British thing  
 
cloudboy
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:07 pm

AS for international airports, I have only ever really experienced LHR, LGW and MAN outside of North America. But what I can say based on that experience, is that at least those airports (with some minor exceptions for T4), is that they are designed less as a functional transportation hub, and much more as a way to profit off of travelers. The whole design of the airports is based around a shopping mall. The intention is to milk as much from the passenger while they are waiting for their flights as they can, thus they almost make it inconvenient to want to your flight ahead of time.

Operationally I think this marks a difference between US and European operations. One thing I have noticed in those travels is how much better the US airports are at handling both large numbers of passengers as well as dealing with changes and delays. I also note how much stronger airline identity is. I think from a branding standpoint this is why the major US airlines are more stable than the rather chaotic European LCC airlines, and why they have an easier time selling themselves on anything other than just the lowest priced ticket. They still have control over the whole travel experience, where European carriers only really control the in the air portion of that.
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adriaticflight
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:29 pm

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 12):
much more as a way to profit off of travelers

I agree that many airports now resemble shopping centers with airports 'grafted' on top. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted are all horrific for this. Copenhagen, Schiphol, Budapest and Madrid Terminal 1 are all quite shopping orientated at the expense of the some passanger comfort (i.e. places to sit that aren't cafes).

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 12):
The intention is to milk as much from the passenger while they are waiting for their flights as they can

I'd say that there is somewhat of a competition thing going on here. Airports in some cases depend very heavily on the money they make from retail/commercial outlets. With Europes very very dense population airports can be almost held to ransom by airlines who have choice where/when they fly. This is not the case in all airports, however in some the money they make from shopping covers the near loss they carry for having an airline fly there!

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 12):
I think from a branding standpoint this is why the major US airlines are more stable than the rather chaotic European LCC airlines

I wouldn't say European LCC are chaotic. Quite the opposite. They are very powerful (especially FR,U2,W6). They pay great attention to terminal layouts to maximise the efficiency of their operations. For example in FR's case they dominate one part of Stansted and they know exactly what's going on operations wise, shopping wise etc and are very careful to ensure people can get to the gate on time.

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 12):
The whole design of the airports is based around a shopping mall.

In some cities in Europe, the airport is actually a shopping mall. Schiphol is the global gateway for the Netherlands and creates a nice chunk of that country's GDP! Europe has over 40countries and many more 'hubs' each crying out to help people part with that extra Euro, pound or Ruble.
 
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:35 pm

Quoting a380787 (Reply 8):
The downside of owning gates is that it leads to inefficiency

BA own the lease and operate T7 at JFK. They address the efficiency issue by leasing gates to Aerolineas Argentinas, ANA, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Icelandair, Qantas, United & United Express.

Quoting incitatus (Reply 9):
That sentence reminds me of T5 in London Heathrow. Either T5 is an exception or London really isn't in Europe

T5 at LHR was built as a 30 million passenger capacity terminal by what was then BAA that later became Heathrow Airport Ltd. It was not allocated to BA until after the design was finalised and construction had commenced. Like the other LHR terminals it is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Ltd. It, along with part of T3, is allocated to BA who share it with sister airline IB. They pay for the use of the terminal by way of a charge made for each departing passenger and an aircraft parking charge for aircraft parked longer than a certain period (that varies with the size of the aircraft). (Note that other charges are payable - such as a landing charge based on the registered MTOW of the aircraft - that are not terminal related.)

To me the basic difference between American and British airports is ownership. While most (all?) major US airports seem to be owned by public authorities like the New York Port Authority, most UK airports are owned by commercial companies like Heathrow Airport Ltd which in turn is owned by a consortium headed by the Spanish construction company, Ferovial. Similarly LGW is owned by a commercial consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity organisation based in NYC. So UK airport drivers are very commercial and this impacts their design and furbishment.
 
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jsnww81
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:54 pm

Quoting a380787 (Reply 8):
The downside of owning gates is that it leads to inefficiency

2 gates for 16 daily departures capacity (hypothetical). Airline A wants 5 flights, airline B wants 11 flights.

Together they fit the 2 gates nearly perfectly if totally shared. In the US model :

1. If A and B each own one gate, A will have wasted capacity and B can't operate their full schedule

2. B owns both gates, then A will have to use B's gates (with all of B's branding)

3. B owns both gates and doesn't share, leading to only 11/16 utilized while A has to find space elsewhere

True. It's very rare to land at a European airport and see dozens of empty jetways, yet still sit on the tarmac because YOUR airline's one and only gate is occupied. That happens all the time in the US.

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 12):
The intention is to milk as much from the passenger while they are waiting for their flights as they can, thus they almost make it inconvenient to want to your flight ahead of time.

Some European airports are worse at this than others. I actively avoid the UK airports because they don't even hide the fact that they're trying to fleece you out of money by forcing you to walk through duty free shops and posting things like "Relax and Shop" on departure boards instead of gate assignments. German airports, not surprisingly, tend to have more logical passenger flow and less obtrusive retail areas. Spanish airports are architecturally very impressive and generally a dream to use, until you need help from somebody. Schiphol gets high marks from travelers, but I've always found it claustrophobic and a bit run-down in appearance.

Quoting adriaticflight (Reply 13):
I agree that many airports now resemble shopping centers with airports 'grafted' on top. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted are all horrific for this.

Beyond true. Even the new terminals in the UK are appallingly clear about their focus on shopping over passenger comfort.

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 7):
But in the US its just easier with operations to keep things in the same place and it allows airlines to re-enforce their own brand.

Agree that the airline-specific branding is much stronger in the US where facilities tend to be leased to individual carriers. It can lead to gate-squatting and inefficiency, but you come away with a much more differentiated sense of each carrier's identity. Australia is the only other place where I've seen that done to a large extent - airports like SYD and MEL have gate areas furnished by the individual airlines that reflect their identities. It pops up here and there in Europe (such as Lufthansa's crane logo on gates at FRA) but is much less widespread.
 
a380787
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:01 pm

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 15):

True. It's very rare to land at a European airport and see dozens of empty jetways, yet still sit on the tarmac because YOUR airline's one and only gate is occupied. That happens all the time in the US.

This is what gripes me most. Bureaucracy and inefficiency at its finest.
 
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:01 pm

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 15):
True. It's very rare to land at a European airport and see dozens of empty jetways, yet still sit on the tarmac because YOUR airline's one and only gate is occupied. That happens all the time in the US.

The two aren't really related. In many cases, the issue isn't a lack of available gates (even available gates held by a particular carrier) so much as the logistical difficulties associated with a last minute gate change. I'd say that far fewer than half of my times sitting and waiting for a gate occur when every one of the involved carrier's gates is full.
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bobnwa
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:08 pm

At most European airport ticket counters are arranged so that the agents are seated and the bag belts are on the side of them. In the US the agents stand and the baggage belts are behind them
 
frostyj
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:34 pm

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 7):

Powerports in newark too.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:01 pm

From an infrastructure perspective, the first thing to note about US vs EU airports is that most of the US's airports fall hopelessly short of modern ICAO safety and design standards. This is due to most US facilities being based on legacy planning decisions which adhered to specifications written when aircraft were smaller and airports quieter. Whilst EU airports have, where necessary, upgrade to receive larger aircraft, US airports just seem to carry on predominantly as they are.

Personally I think there is a middle ground which is acceptable, but some of the 'jems' like LAX and BUR are really pushing it from a safety perspective.


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B727skyguy
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:03 pm

One, huge difference between most US airports and all European airports is the check-in area. In most US airports, check-in agents stand for their whole shift and must lift baggage that a passenger is checking, turn, and place it on a moving conveyor belt running behind the counter. In all European airports, check-in agents sit on chairs and never lift the baggage. The passenger places the baggage on a conveyor belt with a built-in scale. After tagging the bag, the agent presses a button. The belt begins moving and takes the bag away. From an ergonomics and workplace safety standpoint, that type of system makes a lot more sense. It's a shame the US does not have similar workplace safety laws.
 
r2rho
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:39 pm

Quoting Cory6188 (Thread starter):
with gates assigned far in advance of the flight, with pax directed to wait at their specific gate for their flight. There are obviously common areas with retail, dining, etc. -- but generally speaking, pax are accustomed to waiting at their specific gate for their intended flight. Even where the gates are all common-use, gates are still indicated far ahead of the flight time.

That is not really a US-EU comparison, but rather US-UK, since the layout you describe is typical of that country, while continental Europe still has gate waiting areas and advance gate indications. UK has also taken the shopping mall airport concept the furthest, though many other EU airports are "catching up" on this.

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 3):
Very few airports in the USA have need for a large number of international-capable gates. The domestic market is such a large if not exclusive percentage of travel, airport layouts will reflect that paradigm.

True, though since Schengen, EU airports don't need them either. But probalby thanks to that pre-Schengen past, EU airports seem better prepared to add international flights should the need arise.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 5):
They're almost all white/silver with yellow signs.

Agree, but in that I see no real difference to the US. Places like MAD are one of those rare wonderful exceptions.
 
frostyj
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:40 pm

Its mainly BAA airports with the yellow signs.
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delimit
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:48 pm

Quoting frostyj (Reply 32):

My answer to that is to go and get a car and try driving from Belfast to Paris.

So Japan isn't in Asia I gather?
 
bobnwa
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:48 pm

Quoting B727skyguy (Reply 22):
One, huge difference between most US airports and all European airports is the check-in area. In most US airports, check-in agents stand for their whole shift and must lift baggage that a passenger is checking, turn, and place it on a moving conveyor belt running behind the counter. In all European airports, check-in agents sit on chairs and never lift the baggage. The passenger places the baggage on a conveyor belt with a built-in scale. After tagging the bag, the agent presses a button. The belt begins moving and takes the bag away. From an ergonomics and workplace safety standpoint, that type of system makes a lot more sense. It's a shame the US does not have similar workplace safety laws.

See reply 18.
 
mah584jr
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:08 pm

One of the biggest differences I always notice is the glass vs. non-glass jet bridges when I compare Europe to the U.S.
 
Lofty
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:13 pm

One of the reasons I do not like US airports is the lack of shopping when I am waiting for my flight.

The main reason for design differences is due to space and as already said stand utilisation. If LHR had loads of space like many USA airport then you could have the same flight everyday departing from the same gate but for LGW and LHR that is a dream that will never happen.

As for baggage I can never understand why in the USA at check-in agents have to lift bags of the scales and onto a belt. To me that shows the Airport is trying to save money at the expense of Health and Safety.
 
cloudboy
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:32 pm

Quoting Lofty (Reply 44):
As for baggage I can never understand why in the USA at check-in agents have to lift bags of the scales and onto a belt. To me that shows the Airport is trying to save money at the expense of Health and Safety.

It's a perception thing. You notice the same at retail stores. Almost no where in the US does the cashier sit down, except for public services (subways, etc.). It is seen a very unprofessional to the US. If not a bit lazy. That perception isn't strong in other parts of the world. Likewise, even if it really doesn't mean anything, the whole thing about "taking the bag" is really a symbol of personal touch. To many Americans, the European way of handling baggage check in seems very factory like and impersonal. Which I think even goes along with the rest of the airport design - to an American the shopping mall concept feels cold - I'd even dare say cheap. Kinda feels like an overgrown bus station.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
rampart
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:34 pm

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 15):
German airports, not surprisingly, tend to have more logical passenger flow and less obtrusive retail areas.

I recall that if I wanted to access my gate in FRA or MUC, I had no choice but to pass through the Duty Free shop. I thought it was a mistake and I'd missed a turn somewhere.

-Rampart
 
Planesmart
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:55 pm

Good topic.

US airports fall into two groups - almost wholly domestic, and those with strong international activity. US airport ownership and airline control are the two factors that hinder development and customer responsiveness.

Mainly domestic, compared to those in Europe which cover only domestic and very short haul international, cover a broad spectrum of good to bad.

Those with international activity In the US, generally compare badly to Europe and the rest of the first world.

US airports still live in legacy land. The US3 since 2011 have and are making massive changes. US airports need to follow.
 
adriaticflight
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:40 pm

Quoting planesmart (Reply 48):
Mainly domestic, compared to those in Europe which cover only domestic and very short haul international, cover a broad spectrum of good to bad.

Exactly. Those airports in the US that cater almost exclusivly to domestic flights have that personal touch to them. This compares to some smaller regional airports in Europe where one goes to take a flight to somewhere bigger. The need for vast shopping areas in these airports is limited as more often than not one is going somewhere bigger.

Quoting planesmart (Reply 48):
Those with international activity In the US, generally compare badly to Europe and the rest of the first world.

I agree. Although i dislike the shopping aspect of most European hubs, i do find that the terminals are brighter and more modern than many US counterparts. Not to mention how they compare to many new airports in Aisia and the Near East  

Interesting topic. Maybe somebody can post some photos.
 
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AirlineCritic
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:04 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 5):

I've also noticed that European terminals have a very antiseptic feel to them. They're almost all white/silver with yellow signs. It feels clean, but it also feels impersonal, and I can't in my memory differentiate MAN from CDG from LGW for that reason. They're just sort of... instututional.

You have to be kidding  

As the old saying goes, matters of taste should not be argued about, therefore we should only argue about facts  

But srsly. I have to say the US airport system (with the exception of SFO and maybe a couple of others) is stuffy, boring, and does not cater to the traveller at all. Every airport has exactly the same design, probably copied from some lowest-bidder architecture design from 1950s. Quite likely the design was originally made for a bus station. There's nothing to do, except perhaps sit at those same uncomfortable seats that are on every airport. Power sockets are nowhere to be found. The 7-11 would have 100 times more selection than the - once again - standardised tiny shops.

Do not get me wrong - there is a lot of wrong in airport design and style around the world. I *hate* the forced shopping design, particularly GVA is just horrible. Lots of walking, just so that you can walk through the whole chain of stores. Most direct route is blocked. At HEL, the spacious terminal is being destroyed by a similar have-to-walk-through shop. And power sockets seem to be disappearing in Europe as well.

Nevertheless, at least in my mind the US airport design is as old fashioned as you can find around the world. What's next, a claim that SUVs are cool and that Chrysler makes good cars??? 
Quoting cloudboy (Reply 12):
Operationally I think this marks a difference between US and European operations. One thing I have noticed in those travels is how much better the US airports are at handling both large numbers of passengers as well as dealing with changes and delays. I also note how much stronger airline identity is. I think from a branding standpoint this is why the major US airlines are more stable than the rather chaotic European LCC airlines, and why they have an easier time selling themselves on anything other than just the lowest priced ticket. They still have control over the whole travel experience, where European carriers only really control the in the air portion of that.

Uh... really?
 
Beatyair
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:06 pm

"Becasue In US, airline own the gates (and even the terminal) while in Europe all the gates and terminals are owned by the airport management authority and airlines pay the fee based on their usage."

As an architect, I do prefer the airport authority/City in charge of own the design and concept for there own airport and that the airlines contribute to the cost.
 
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:46 pm

Quoting hongkongflyer (Reply 2):
Quoting hongkongflyer (Reply 2):
Becasue In US, airline own the gates (and even the terminal) while in Europe all the gates and terminals are owned by the airport management authority and airlines pay the fee based on their usage.

Not always. Each airport in the U.S. is owned by its own operating entity. This may be a large one (i.e., the Port of New York Authority), or a smaller one (many medium and smaller cities. In the larger ones, an airline may have a primary lease (or own) its gates, because they may have multiple flights and it assists in allowing the airline to keep its ground equipment handy, or decorate their own gates. In some cities, the gates may be CUTE (Common use), but they are primarily used by particular airlines as well. The U.S. is a very large country with all variances.
 
superjeff
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:54 pm

What I find interesting about this thread is that nobody has noted what I consider the main difference between U.S. and most other countries: In the U.S. there is, with very few exceptions (i.e., ORD's Terminal 5) no separation between domestic and departing international flights. In non-U.S. airports, passengers clear Emigration and go into a holding area; in the U.S. passengers use a common hold are whether domestic or international. That's the main reason you don't see the U.S. as a connecting point between third countries (i.e., LHR-MIA-South America).
 
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aerolimani
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:28 am

Quoting superjeff (Reply 56):
That's the main reason you don't see the U.S. as a connecting point between third countries

Well… actually, a lot of Canadians fly through the US on their way to many other countries. Often, the tickets are cheaper.

I do find it strange how neither Canada nor the US have immigrations officers for when you leave the country. You are simply expected to arrive at your gate with enough time to present the relevant documents to the gate agents.

The exception, of course, is leaving Canada for the US from an airport that has US pre-clearance.
 
SaschaYHZ
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:37 am

The biggest difference I notice is that European Airports rely more on remote stands than (North) American airports.
 
celestar
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:12 am

I think this is an interesting topic between European/American airport design. What I find even more interesting is how the world airport is divided into two different camps with regard to airport security. You have the traditional where every one after clearing immigration (Not for US but for others), went through a centralized security screening which make you feel like is a grand bazaar! Then, you have the other approach, I think Amsterdam was the pioneer where security are checked at each gate prior to boarding at the gate and Singapore Changi, certainly adopt and follow this approach. I kind of like this better as it eased off traffic and I presume, allow more time and specific attention to each flight based on their destination or passenger profile.
 
Viscount724
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:41 am

Quoting Cory6188 (Thread starter):
Comparatively, in Europe, nearly everything is common use (again, there are exceptions, but true for the most part), with minimal to no airline branding at each gate, and all pax directed to a common lounge where they wait until their gate assignment is broadcast shortly before boarding begins.
Quoting N766UA (Reply 5):
I'm glad others have noticed this! In my travels, I've found European gate-usage to be very confusing at best. Coming off a long haul flight and having to sit around guessing what terminal your connection is going to be in can be kind of obnoxious.

At AMS, my favorite European airport for many years, gate numbers are almost always shown on the departure screens many hours before departure. Still worth checking closer to departure as they sometimes change.

Quoting r2rho (Reply 28):
Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 3):
Very few airports in the USA have need for a large number of international-capable gates. The domestic market is such a large if not exclusive percentage of travel, airport layouts will reflect that paradigm.

True, though since Schengen, EU airports don't need them either. But probalby thanks to that pre-Schengen past, EU airports seem better prepared to add international flights should the need arise.

Almost all significant airports in Schengen countries have many flights to non-Schengen destinations as well and thus need gates that can handle those flights segregated from the Schengen area and with passport control for departing/arriving passengers. Foir example, in the current winter schedule GVA has roughly 110 nonstop destinations. The majority (about 60) are non-Schengen an the remainder (about 50) are Schengen.

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 52):
particularly GVA is just horrible. Lots of walking, just so that you can walk through the whole chain of stores. Most direct route is blocked.

Don't know what you're referring to. I use GVA airport at least once a month and after the security checkpoint it's about a 10 second walk to the main part of the terminal (past a couple of shops...turn right after you leave the security area) and from that point on you can reach all the gates without passing any shops. GVA has very short walking distances compared to most European airports since the terminal by necessity is much smaller than most due to the airport's proximity to the city and being bordered by France on one site. The gates in the satellites are quite a distance from the main terminal but there are moving sidewalks through the tunnels under the ramp.

Quoting aerolimani (Reply 57):
I do find it strange how neither Canada nor the US have immigrations officers for when you leave the country.

Neither does the UK.

[Edited 2015-01-23 17:43:39]
 
kdhurst380
Posts: 347
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:42 am

Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 23):
Yep, we all know in reality it's like that:

For politicians, yes. Most in the UK actually find the whole UK-US 'lapdog' thing a bit cringeworthy.
 
N1120A
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:57 am

Quoting superjeff (Reply 55):
Not always. Each airport in the U.S. is owned by its own operating entity

Extremely few airports are owned/managed by private companies, like in Europe (especially the UK), and they are generally smaller.

Quoting superjeff (Reply 55):
This may be a large one (i.e., the Port of New York Authority)

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Quoting aerolimani (Reply 57):
Well… actually, a lot of Canadians fly through the US on their way to many other countries. Often, the tickets are cheaper.

Yeah, though that difference has shrunk for me the past few years - especially the YYZ/BUF difference.

Quoting aerolimani (Reply 57):
I do find it strange how neither Canada nor the US have immigrations officers for when you leave the country. You are simply expected to arrive at your gate with enough time to present the relevant documents to the gate agents.

The US and Canada don't have rigid exit immigration. Its done electronically and there are some random checks, primarily for unreported currency exports.

Quoting SaschaYHZ (Reply 58):
The biggest difference I notice is that European Airports rely more on remote stands than (North) American airports.


And I prefer the European way for that. I will say that the US system, even where you do use stairs, where you are generally closer to the terminal, is better for close connections. MUC does a good job, but they use cars to make it happen.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
David_itl
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:31 am

Quoting N766UA (Reply 11):
Actually the biggest culprit I can think of was my connection in MAN. I also had a similar experience in BRU, but you could more accurately guess the gate there, and the terminal was easier to navigate. Maybe it's a British thing

We've only got to wait a short while before the revamp of MAN gets announced: T2 extended, T3 extended, T1 pulled down to make a "mega terminal" with T2
 
tommy1808
Posts: 11115
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:52 am

Quoting ScottB (Reply 4):
In the U.S., part of the explanation lies in the fact that airlines are often involved in designing and/or financing new terminals

Security also leads to different design, first time to the US i was very surprised that my friends picket me up right at the gate and that the baggage reclaim was in the public area. can´t recall ever seeing a set up like that in Euope, but i guess we had those maybe into late 70´s/early 80´s.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 39):

At AMS, my favorite European airport for many years, gate numbers are almost always shown on the departure screens many hours before departure. Still worth checking closer to departure as they sometimes change.

  
I like to pick my flight times via Amsterdam with long enough layovers to catch a train in the city and my connection usually already has a gate assigned when i get there. Changes happen, but not often.

best regards
Thomas
This Singature is a safe space......
 
Lofty
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:54 am

I have had a number of people from US Airports come and shadow me when I was stand planning at LHR and I have spent time with them. The guys from the US could not get their head around how difficult it was to allocate stands in airports that have no spare stands and have very high stand utilisation.

If you have space and your scheduled times allow for space between flights you can publish gates in advance, when I was shadowing stand planning in the US a A/C went tech, they had time to tow the old one off and then the new one on without impacting the stand plan in LHR this would have resulted in gate changes for most of the rest of the day.
 
olle
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:12 am

One big difference is international connections.

If I go from Stockholm to Chile over Paris or London I do not need to pass immigration but can wait in a waiting area.

In US either this is a mess.
 
tommy1808
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RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:21 am

Quoting olle (Reply 45):
I do not need to pass immigration but can wait in a waiting area.

And no hassle with your bags....

best regards
Thomas
This Singature is a safe space......
 
factsonly
Posts: 2710
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:08 pm

RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:51 am

Anyone familiar with the INNOVATIVE GATE at AMS:

http://www.schiphol.nl/SchipholGroup...peningOfSchipholInnovativeGate.htm

The new gate - developed by Philips Electronics and AMS - offers airlines the possibility of presenting themselves in a distinctive and recognisable manner using elements from their own branding.
 
olle
Posts: 1208
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:38 am

RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:31 am

Me and my family go to Chile every year and if the transfer connection was better I would have US airlines as an option. Now it is impossible.

Probably I would prefer US so I could make visits with friends on the way or just have a day in Miami or New York, But also the migration takes time.
 
richardw
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2001 3:17 am

RE: American Vs. European Airport Design

Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:46 am

Let's through HKG in the mix as a comparison, now that's how a wide body airport should be.

LHR's new T2 is an interesting one, nicer feel than T5, but you have to walk a longer route past the retailers to get down to the gates.

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