RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
STRAIGHT TO THE GATE
Over time, travelers have grown skeptical of signage and information in the airport. The flight board lists one time, while the screen at the customer service desk lists a different one, and your app just alerted you with a third time. Simply put: Information is too often inconsistent, or just plain wrong. In order to compensate for this lack of trust, travelers have been conditioned to go directly to the gate and have developed their own tricks to determine if their flight will be on time. Is the plane there? Has the incoming flight arrived? Is a crew waiting in the gate area? Has the operations agent taken their position by the door? To keep people from crowding the gate area, we needed to rebuild this trust by sharing more accurate information in more locations.
In a busy environment, customers and employees need to understand each piece of information as quickly as possible in order to make good decisions. Based on three rounds of iterative consumer and employee research, we identified key user needs within the airport and designed signage to display only absolutely relevant information at each step
of the customer journey. If a traveler is early, signs redirect them to food, shopping, and empty gate areas so they can go power their devices. If a traveler is running late, the enhanced wayfinding helps to make the dash through the airport faster with directional arrows, walking times, and an easy-to-understand signage system. That way, customers make their flight, and the airline gets their planes out on time. Everyone wins.
LEVERAGING THE AIRLINE’S BRAND
As we talked to customers, we learned that they loved the airline and trusted the brand more than other airlines, or the airports themselves. We heard that clear, natural language, instead of cold numbers and data, helped build trust by creating a personal touch. We also saw a need to celebrate the airline’s employees, because when customers understood
the effort that went into getting them to their destination on time, they were much more understanding of delays. With the right language and a proper recognition of employee efforts, the airline’s brand had the potential to create moments of joy that could break through a stressful airport experience.
Airlines have a massive amount of data at their fingertips; unfortunately, most of it is not formatted or available in a way that is meaningful to customers. At times, this data is so steeped in industry jargon it is almost incomprehensible. The airline had their own problem with data being inaccurate across touch points: the airline had been working with old
systems, and not all channels were synchronized. Sometimes the mobile app had information before the agents did. In order to create a system that truly worked for travelers, we’d have to bring together dozens of different systems and connect data points in a meaningful way to help the airline eventually create a system of seamless connectivity.