Transport Airports

What do frequent flyers want from airports? Cinemas, sleeping pods and libraries

Jul 04, 2013 1:03 am

Skift Take

There’s nothing about this list that seems out of order. Airports have done an excellent job in the last few years improving food and beverage, but there’s still a long way to go.

— Jason Clampet

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An international survey has revealed 10 complimentary features that travellers want to see at a dream airport, with a cinema, sleeping pods and a library at the top of the list.

About 49% of more than 10,000 travellers interviewed in 25 countries excluding Thailand by travel search site Skyscanner nominated cinemas like those at Singapore Changi Airport.

Shuteye also scored highly, with 36% of respondents voting for sleeping pods, which Abu Dhabi International Airport unveiled in May. At about 375 baht per hour, they provide an affordable alternative to a hotel room.

Voted in third place by 32% of respondents in the May poll was a library that allows travellers to borrow their holiday reading, showing that the traditional paperback is still a popular choice for travellers despite the rise of e-books.

Outdoor space is also a highly desired feature, with a park the fourth most wanted feature and a man-made beach in ninth spot.

Some more unlikely choices include karaoke, with 5% of travellers wanting their 15 minutes of fame at the airport, while a gym was chosen by 15%.

While males and females were in agreement over their top choice of an airport cinema, there was greater gender discrepancy with the other features.

About 45% of women wanted a vanity area offering free cosmetics and hair-styling products, compared with just 14% of men, while 12% wanted a personal shopper, compared with 8% of men.

Men, on the other hand, appeared to want more active entertainment, with a swimming pool the fifth most wanted feature. About 14% voted for bicycles to get around the airport, compared with 9% of females, and 8% wanted a golf swing practice area, compared with just 3% of women.

Grace Pobpabha Areerat, Skyscanner’s market development manager for Thailand, advocated these facilities being incorporated at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.

“With more than more than 50 million passengers passing through Suvarnabhumi every year, these amazing facilities would be very popular additions and much in demand,” she said.

However, Suvarnabhumi general manager Rawewan Netrakavesna said many of the features advocated in the survey are not in the pipeline, while some are in existence but are not free.

Mrs Rawewan cited the day rooms with built-in toilet in the international departure area, with a minimal charge.

There was a plan for a cinema as part of an entertainment complex outside the passenger terminal but with an admission fee, she said, though there is no immediate plan to revive the proposal.

Suvarnabhumi is not keen on building a complimentary pool, gym and library, Mrs Rawewan said.

(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand). Distributed by MCT Information Services

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