Airport Business

AUG-SEP 2018

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18 airportbusiness August/September 2018 PASSENGER EXPERIENCE By Benét Wilson The Power of Seats Seating that includes outlets can provide an electrifying experience for travelers. As the number of passengers carrying multiple electronic devices grows, airports are offering more solutions to keep them charged. When it comes to electronic devices in airports, 82 percent of travelers use smartphones before boarding a flight, while 38 percent use laptops and 26 percent use tablets, according to a survey done by Swiss travel consultancy M1ndset. Henry Harteveldt is a co-founder of the San Francisco-based Atmosphere Research Group travel consultancy and an expert on the passenger experience. “Power outlets have become a godsend because whether you’re a business or leisure traveler, you’re traveling with two to three electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, eReaders and game devices,” he said. “We want to live our lives at 100 percent, especially on our smartphones, which are carried by 95 percent of U.S. passengers in airports.” Having power outlets in airports is a great amenity, said Harteveldt. “And having them in seats is even better. It’s become the most important amenity aside from clean restrooms,” he stated. For traveling families, parents can keep an eye on their kids and not worry about losing sight of them while they play or are on their devices, said Harteveldt. “It also means they don’t have to go to an expensive restaurant just to charge up.” For business travelers that don’t have access to airline lounges, they can still be productive while waiting for their flight, he added. Travelers now take power outlets for granted,” said Harteveldt. “They don’t want to think and act like custodians to find outlets. They want the power brought to them,” he said. “And when you have enough electrical outlets, it reduces travel stress.” Harteveldt has seen people get into fights over the use of outlets. “In Miami International Airport, I was traveling on Delta and the flight was delayed because of weather. There weren’t enough electrical outlets because the seats didn’t have outlets,” he recalled. “There were charging stations with power, but they were not conveniently located. People were hogging them and that was problematic for those who needed to charge their own devices, so fights broke out. It was bad enough that travelers were stuck there during a negative event. The power outlet fight only reinforced an already negative experience.” Companies making seats with power options include Zoeftig, Arconas and Kusch+Co GmbH. All three companies offer solutions for existing and new seating in airport terminals. Lynn Gordon is Arconas’ vice president for airport solutions. Her company’s first in-seat power model came out back in 2007. Arconas

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