Important thing to know when arriving at an airport

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by ericc22, May 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hi there! Good afternoon,

    This is my first post here, I hope this is the right place!

    I'm a graduate student working on a project. One of the things I have to do in order to get started is asking frequent flyers some questions about what they do when they arrive at an airport.

    I'd really appreciate if some of you guys could tell me what, in your opinion, are the most important things to know when landing at an airport. What is useful to know in advance and why? What do you usually look for right after you exit the aircraft? What kind of stuff you wish you had known in advance? It could be at any airport, anywhere in the world. Are they some information specific to a particular facility?

    If you had to pick up between 3 and 5 pieces of information about airports, what would they be?

    I appreciate your help! Thanks a lot for your time :)
     
    yaychemistry likes this.
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    There are entirely too many variables... are you traveling internationally, do you have checked in luggage, are you arriving at your final destination, etc.

    For some people the most important piece of information would be how to get to the nearest taxi stand, while others care more about rental car agencies, gates for connecting flights or a variety of other things.
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP. In what field is your academic project? Decision theory? Transportation/civil engineering? Communications? CS/IT? Operations?
     
  4. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    If it's a departure/arrival airport: is there public transportation that can get me there/to my final destination?
    Is the best food/lounge landside or airside?

    If it's a connecting airport: Do I have to reclear security? Is my connecting flight in the same terminal, or not? Do I have to walk/run far or take a shuttle/bus/train/moving sidewalk?

    p.s. shoutout to grad students!
     
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  5. Bob Smolinsky
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    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

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    Depending on the duration of the flight, I look for a smoking area ;)
     
  6. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP!

    I head for the nearest lounge.

    BUT seriously:

    Have a plan B C D and E. As a flyer you may arrive at an airport to find a connecting flight being canceled, or you being delayed so much that you miss your connection. Have alternate flights that you can request to be booked on. You'll be amazed how many times you may know routings better than the ground crew. I had a few instances where ground crew followed my suggestions for rerouting and didnt know that my options were even possible until they tried entering them into their systems. Gate agent and counter agents appreciate it when they are dealing with someone who knows what they're trying to accomplish. Also have the phone numbers of your carriers programmed in your phone. this way, if you know you are missing a flight, you can still call the airline while taxi-ing. That could also save you from long lines of frustrated/angry passengers.
     
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  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I agree, it's really hard to nail down the profile of a frequent flier. As you can see just from looking around MilePoint people travel for very different reasons, value different types of airlines products, and look for different things in a "good' airport.

    As a mostly leisure flier, my goals at the airport involve knowing where the lounge is, a good place to pick up some magazines to browse on the flight, and where my gate will be. Nothing else really comes into the equation for me.

    That being said, most frequent fliers are pretty familiar with airports, so I don't often feel like I need to know something. If anything I feel like I know too much about airports. I could navigate through Dallas, Chicago, or Tokyo with my eyes closed and my fingers jammed in my ears. ;)
     
  8. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I am usually looking for food :D I classify most airports by their food offerings, and I remember where my favorite places are. Often what I look for first is a map since either (A) I have no time to stop for food and need to find my connection quickly or (B) I have time and don't care about my connection but want to find food. Even if I've been someplace before, I may be disoriented. For example, the Potbelly at IAD is all the way on one end of C/D, which is a long walk no matter where you arrive. If you start walking the wrong direction, you will be in a for a rude surprise.

    Most airports have atrocious maps. I remember looking for a map of CDG online and I got some strange angled bird-eye view in 3D with multiple levels. All I want is a simple overhead sketch that makes it plain where I am and where I need to go.
     
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  9. wingspan
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    wingspan Silver Member

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    If it is a destination/arrival airport: a) what is the most scenic route from the airport to my destination (scenic as in can I see the most people/places/activities/events going on around me). That's all really. If it's a destination airport then I see it as a place to get out of rather than a place to be in.

    If it is a transit/connecting airport: a) is there free wi-fi? b) is good local food available? c) do I have enough time to clear customs, go to the city for food/shopping/browsing?
     
  10. FetePerfection
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    FetePerfection Silver Member

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    My top priorities upon arriving at an airport: location of TSA in relation to gates, location of WTMD (walk-thru metal detector) and priority line for check-in and TSA. Otherwise, food, coffee, magazines, ATM's are minor details which I eventually stumble upon.

    Edit: Free Wi-FI
     
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  11. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    On international itineraries, I like to know ahead of time where duty free and other shops are relative to my departing gates. Can never come home to Mrs. 744 empty handed.
     
  12. ctporter
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    ctporter Silver Member

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    for departing flights:
    where is my airline check in (for when I have not been able to print a boarding pass)
    where is the FF lane for TSA checkpoints
    where is my departure gate - where is the club/lounge - or if I have lots of time where are the restaurants/bars - in relation to each other
    I would love it if all airports had frequent map kiosks that clearly showed where all gates are located and what types of services are at each gate area. Especially if making a transfer from a legacy type airline to a regional jet airline. I could determine if I should grab something to eat in the main terminal or wait until I get near the gate. (is there a bar near my gate! LOL) Also for those times when technology fails/breaks or gets forgotten, where could I find batteries/headphones/books, etc if I need them.
    for arrival at the destination airport
    where is the rental car shuttle/garage (most of the time I look for baggage claim as rental cars are near there)
    once at baggage claim, which island do you wait at for a shuttle? (sometimes they are not obvious)
    or if being picked up by a car service I would like to know what terminal I am in, and which exit door/passenger pickup station I am near as drivers always want to know that.
    for making connections:
    Where is my new gate (and where am I now, how far must I run if it is a close connection)
    If there is enough time, where is the club/lounge or restaurant/bar in relation to my connecting gate
     
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  13. Exiled in Express
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    Exiled in Express Gold Member

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    Airport amenities are my #1 desire, but I usually arrive educated. Is there dining post security? Is it worse than the presecurity options? Where in ATL is Chick-fil-a (Gate A11 :))? ATM locations, how long does it really take to clear security.

    As a connecting passenger I usually wander a gate or two in one direction with a sense of purpose to get my bearings and figure out which way I really should have turned upon exiting the jetway. Signage aimed at the jetbridge exit would be a big plus, "1-15 to the left, 17-30 and club turn right"
     
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  14. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    This is exactly what I do... It would also be nice to know what gate you're arriving at so you can familiarize yourself with the airport maps in the magazine.
     
  15. Take.me.away

    Take.me.away Active Member

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    If connecting, fastest way to get to the next gate. Closest washroom. Closest Starbucks. If outbound flight, how to find car rental or transportation to location. Good luck!
     
  16. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    I think most folks have covered it but for another observation in your study:

    When at a departure airport I look for:
    • Rental car return (assuming not my home airport)
    • Check-in
    • Security
    • Lounge
    • Gate

    When at a connecting airport:
    • Lounge
    • Lounge
    • Lounge
    • High quality restaurant in case of a longer domestic connection
    • Connecting flight gate

    When at arrival
    • Arrivals lounge in international destinations
    • Lounge at domestic destinations to catch up on e-mails/etc.
    • Transit into city or
    • Rental car pick-up (in certain transit-poor cities)
     
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