EXEC asked business travellers world-over what airports can do better to ensure a comfortable and stress-free transit.
A moving walkway? More coffee shops serving choco-latte? A better system to provide information and assistance to stranded travellers? An immigration official who, God forbid, is wearing a welcoming smile? Serious or silly – we wanted to hear it. And travellers responded in droves. AAI, are you listening?
Aditi & Neelabh Kapoor
Experiential Weddings, Studio Neelabh
Long flying times, despite of flat beds in executive class, does take it’s toll on travellers. At this point, any transit shortcomings does grate upon the passengers’ nerves. Airports these days are modern and boast of all sorts of amenities. But I personally would love a wash and change service where one could freshen up or could take a short nap to get over the jet lag.
Director and Sales, Four Points by Sheraton
Facilities at most Indian airports sometimes fall short, especially compared to the ones in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi. These are my qualms.
Trolley Availability: Most of the time, less than enough luggage trolleys are avialable. Like at the Mumbai airport during peak hours. It’s a nightmare.
Number of Counters: Be it ticket-issuing counters or the check-in ones, we all seem to have less than the number required. considering the exponential increase in airtravel.
Moving Walkway: Chennai and Kolkata don’t have good moving walkways. Other cities fare better here.
Over all, I’d say airports in India have surely improved over the years but I believe airports like Chennai and Kolkata have a lot of scope for improvement.
It would be great if airports had good parlours and salons. Sometimes, you have to attend an important meeting right after landing, with no time to check into a hotel and freshen up. If there’s a good parlour on the premises, you can walk into the boardroom, looking your best, and with a clear head.
As a frequent traveller, both domestically and internationally, it is difficult not to notice the difference between our airports and other good international airports like Dubai, Heathrow, New York, etc. Even among Indian airports the facilities differ. Like Mumbai and Delhi airports have much better facilities than the ones in Kolkata or Chennai. I feel our transit would be less tedious if these issues are dealt with –
Most of the international planes are AirBus ones, having the capacity to seat more than 200. But still the number of ticket counters are less, of almost every airline, causing huge rows at the counters. Passengers sometimes have to wait for more than half an hour get their boarding passes issued. This causes serious stress and irritation.
Even many International airports still have less number of immigration counters than necessary. Like at Kolkata, there is always a great rush at 15-16 counters. Even in Dubai, the 52-56 counters are still unable to handle the number of flights taking-offand landing each hour. Often I have had to wait for hours in a queue before reaching the immigration official. After a seven-hour flight till is really the last straw. Thankfully, I find Indian immigration officers to be more friendly and helpful than their counterparts in other countries who are rude, nosy and bad-mouthed.
The trolley sitaution at Indian airports is dire. Most of the time they are not found in their right places, or not properly arranged. They remain scattered and airport staff make no effort to bring them to the designated areas, resulting in a hellish time for departing passengers.
Also, I don’t understand, why the price of beverages are so expensive, uniformly in all airports around the world. We are already pay airport taxes while purchasing our tickets, so taxing coffee or fizzy drinks is just extortion.
Most airports don’t have enough conveyor belts for luggage on arrival. So after going through the gruelling ordeal of immigration, we have to wait long for our luggage as well. Moreover, in India the luggage transport system from the plane to the terminal is very slow. Kolkata International Airport has only two conveyor belts, and I haven’t seen one of them work in last five years. Space constraints, non-availability of trolleys and the presence of unauthorized people around the area only exacerbate matters.
The new airports at Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore are fairly large with lots of terminals. And passengers have to do some serious walking to reach their respective terminals. A moving walkway will help them to not only to reach sooner, but will also leave them less exhausted.
Marketing Head, GFiles, Delhi
Well according to me, the need of the hour is more seating facilities, more lounges and who does not like more coffee. Stress-free travel is almost always assured when airports have better information systems.
Merchant Banking Executive, HSBC
I feel airports should provide transport facilities to the city instead of leaving it to private parties. The resulting chaos creates a lot of discomfort among passengers.
Senior Vice President, Boomerang Freight Solutions
There is a category of international business traveller that is transiting with “cargo” as hand-carried luggage. They are generally travelling with an ATA Carnet export document and need to get easy access to Customs officers at the ports of entry and exit from each country they travel to. That means when they are departing from a country they need to find Customs in the Arrivals area so they are going “backwards” through the airport. Signage is often lacking and staff often don’t know where to ask them to go. It’s difficult to find Customs phone number or hours of operation to make sure that someone will be there prior to their departure. A combination of better airport signage and information on the airport’s website would help these business travellers immensely. Also airport maps that take into consideration that these travellers need to have a way to locate Customs when they are not Arrivals would be helpful.
Social Media, Events, and Promotions Specialist
Faster/free Wifi, more outlets for laptops (to accommodate electronics from different parts of the world), free computers with Internet access, interactive games on floors while walking to terminals and faster TSA, without x-ray machines.
I would love it if all airports communicated in English. We assume that most of them do, but I was flying to Oslo, with a stopover at Moscow, and most of the signs and announcements where in Russian. I almost missed my flight.
Party Entertainer, Corporate and Private Sector Events
More electric outlets for those of us using laptops while waiting to board.
Market Analyst, Robbinex Inc.
Reasonable and reliable estimates, IN ADVANCE, on how long it will take to clear security. Nothing is worse then spending a couple hours more in an airport than you need to.
Julie Sullivan Winn
Writer and Editor
The number one thing that bothers me is the airports that have non-stop unavoidable loud TV (of course on a channel you don’t want to watch) at every gate. Looking at YOU, Miami and Houston, Toronto and Minneapolis! It gets me writing letters. If the TV has to be on, put it on mute, for God’s sake. Most of us have other things we’d rather be doing.
It also irks me when you arrive in a new country and they make you pay for baggage carts that you will use for only a few hundred meters. A very bad welcome to foreigners.
When there is no bathroom or food past security, that is not okay.
Expensive airport wifi from one of those rip-off companies that sends you junk mail afterwards. Show some class, make the wifi free, guys. If cheap motels can do it, why can’t an airport?
As for the TSA, the less said the better.
Multimedia Producer at MindTaffy Design
Faster Wi-Fi. Laptops these days have batteries that can last up to 8 hours. We’d really like to make the most of that.
Proprietor, Mitaroy Suites Goa
Secluded lounge area, away from all the Duty-Free shops
More comfortable seats in the waiting areas to lean back and relax
Free and Fast WiFi
More electric sockets for laptop and other electronics
Heated toilet seats like in Dubai!
Reasonably priced bookstores with more variety in books
Non-Exec Director, US Food Groups
Based on years of business travel, especially post 9/11, I think airports have improved dramatically. However, I still want to spend the bare minimum amount of time there and get through them without hassle. I think some kind of pre- clearance for regular flyers would be good. I know security is necessary but I detest standing in line, emptying my bag, taking my shoes off, showing them my toothpaste, etc. I would gladly pay for some kind of faster route through security and passport control. In the UK, the passport control queues are often looking for UK/ Euro passports than for the rest of the world. So in answer to your question, the key focus for airport management should be on getting people through the system as quickly as possible.
That said, given we have to spend time in the airport, fast, free Wi-Fi is a must. Everyone wants to connect these days and it should be part of the airport experience. Routes through the airport, for example from security to gate should not be through the actual shops. That is increasingly the case in the UK and in some airports it is possible to get lost wandering through the shops looking for your gate. Manchester is a case in point. As a business traveller, I just want to walk past the shops not through them!
President and CEO, Medical Affairs Consulting
Security: Actually designating Business Traveller lanes, ENFORCING the use of such lanes, and developing an easily monitored frequent flier system to bypass TSA.
Lounges: A no-cost, second tier business lounge for documented business travelers (maybe implemented with some kind of pass or token; no screaming babies or unruly toddlers allowed)
Social Media Optimiser, Yurikon
The list could go on and on, but I think the two I have apply mostly to US airports, as I’ve never had these problems in European or Asian airports:
Luggage carts that do not have to be paid for (and machines that are inevitably broken, anyway) and free Wi-fi. Paying for these two things in an airport makes me very stabby.
Chief Experience Officer, Experience Recess by The Henley Company
I would like to see more airports incorporate concierge services into their first-class lounges.
International Advisor and Attorney-at-law
The security and the immigration checks are very reassuring. I would like them unchanged, the fingerprinting business. My friend, a TSA official, discourages a powerful, free Wi-Fi throughout the entire airport, as much as I would like it (If there is a really important email that needs my attention, I guess I would gladly pay for mobile time).
It would be great if the airlines put somebody in the baggage claim area who at least has a vague clue as to where my delayed/missing luggage is. The plenty of airline staff around at counter and the airplane disappear in the baggage claim area. Don’t they understand that once I leave the Baggage Claim and Customs, I cannot return?