Better Wi-Fi Was Not Included in LAX’s $1.9 Billion Terminal Renovation
This April 22, 2013 file photo shows travelers standing in line at the LAX International Airport in Los Angeles. Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo
Executives want to see the physical changes in a billion-dollar upgrade, which pushes Wi-Fi to the bottom of the priority list. However, it’s very important to flyers who are now waiting for LAX to find a faster Internet provider.
With great fanfare, Los Angeles International Airport recently unveiled a $1.9-billion modernization at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
The high-priced project added some eye-catching improvements. But LAX did not include some of the most important amenities requested by regular fliers, according to a new survey of what travelers want in their airports.
Asked what airports should add to improve their airport experience, 87% of fliers said they want more charging stations, 47% of business travelers said they want desks on which to work, and 17% would like printing stations, according to the survey of more than 2,100 travelers by FlightView, a flight-information company.
In a similar FlightView survey last year, about 72% of travelers said free, reliable Wi-Fi would improve their airport experience.
“If you want people to come back to the airport, make them comfortable,” said Mike Benjamin, chief executive of FlightView.
The new LAX terminal unveiled this month includes several multimedia displays, including a 72-foot tower, wrapped in LED screens that show video. International travelers will also find 42 high-end vendors, such as Michael Kors, Hugo Boss and Fred Segal.
But no improvements were made to the airport’s Wi-Fi, which is complimentary for up to 45 minutes at a low speed. Passengers must pay to log on to high-speed Internet access.
Half of the seats in the new terminal waiting areas have electrical outlets for charging devices. But passengers who need work space or printers will have to pay extra or be a first-class passenger to use the business centers at one of the exclusive lounges.
LAX spokeswoman Nancy Suey Castles noted that travelers can use tables at airport restaurants as work space. Plus, she said the new giant video screens on the walls offer hours of entertainment for waiting travelers.
As for the Wi-Fi, Castles said, airport officials are expected to put bids out for a new contractor to provide faster Internet.
John Kieffer, a retired teacher from North Hollywood who flies a couple of times a year to visit family on the East Coast, said he would like to see even more basic needs, like drinking fountains, clocks and comfortable places to sit.
“Maybe people who leave their couches on the sidewalk curb can pick them up and put them in the terminal,” he joked.
Price, location priorities for most in choosing hotels
In the end, most travelers from around the world are very similar.
Price and location are among the top factors in picking a hotel, according to a new study of more than 200,000 hotel guests from eight countries, according to a new study written by researchers from JD Power and Associates.
The study was aimed at helping hotel chains with properties around the globe better serve guests from various cultural backgrounds.
Among the travelers from eight countries, most ranked location and price as the top reasons for choosing a hotel. The exceptions were Italian travelers, who ranked a hotel’s reputation above price, and Spanish travelers, who ranked previous experience higher than price when booking a room.
Still, the report said travelers from some countries are harder to please than others.
For example, Japanese travelers typically give the lowest ratings when asked about their satisfaction with hotels, and Americans usually give the highest ratings.
But when it comes times to check-in, Americans have the lowest tolerance for waiting too long, and travelers from Japan have the highest tolerance, the report found.
“These findings underscore the importance of staff training to delineate the differences in cultural preferences of guests from various countries,” the study concluded.
(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.