While waiting for a flight at New York’s La Guardia Airport recently, Scott Burton whiled the time away playing chess on a complimentary iPad, had access to flight-status information directly on the device and even used it to order a premium burger and beer to be delivered right to his seat.

The human-resources consultant, who was waiting for a flight to Pittsburgh, wasn’t camped at a VIP lounge or an upscale airport eatery. This was at the boarding gate.

Airport boarding gates often have all the amenities of a federal detention facility – uncomfortable seating, unhappy crowds, no power ports, limited food, long sits and no exit. But some airports are trying to change that, as Scott McCartney explains on Lunch Break.

“Air travel isn’t that great an experience,” says Mr. Burton. “You might as well get your comfort here before you get on the plane.”