The Economics Of Airport Design

June 15, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Jessica Hullinger looked into some of the design decisions that influence the way that airports are created:

  • There is a “golden hour” – the first sixty minutes after a passenger clears security – when passengers are in a self-indulgent mood and are more likely to spend. Shops are arranged to take advantage of this.
  • Every additional hour spent at an airport after that is worth $7 in additional sales per passenger.
  • To increase the length of time that travelers spend shopping airports are trying to speed up the check in process. The number of monitors with flight information is also increasing to give flyers the confidence to shop without worrying about missing their flight.
  • Happily this includes speeding up the process of security. Every 10 minutes spent waiting to be frisked by officers reduces a passenger’s spending by 30%.
  • Carpets are used because they create a feeling of comfort. Comfortable shoppers spend 7% more on retail and 10% more on duty-free.
  • Some airports will require passengers to walk-through duty free shops with multiple twists and turns to get more merchandise in front of them.
  • But it’s not all about sales. To give passengers a sense of orientation, terminals try to provide a clear view of the runway the moment passengers get past security.
  • Airport signs usually use Helvetica, Frutiger, or Clearview for their font because of how readable they are. The font is big because every additional inch to a letter increases its viewing distance by 40 feet (12 meters).
  • The colour system of a sign may change in between terminals. For passengers trying to get to another terminal this is an indication that they’re headed the right way. For those who aren’t the sudden change will create a feeling of discomfort which will cause them to pause and see what’s wrong.
  • Sculptures will be used as navigational elements. Passengers can say they’ll meet each other by certain statues or paintings.

The full article has more details and will change the way you look at your surroundings the next time you fly. Read it here.

Source: Mental Floss