What are we missing here?
As part of a new image campaign that includes the beta release of a new website with a mood setting, United Airlines has announced that it will spend more than half a billion dollars ($573 million) to refresh “virtually all” of its customer-facing spaces at Los Angeles Airport (LAX).
“From a state-of-the-art ticketing lobby to a sleek and spacious United Club lounge, we are enhancing the airport experience at LAX and giving our customers more of what they want when traveling–greater choice and control, consistency and comfort,” said Sandra Pineau-Boddison, senior vice president for Customers at United. “We are grateful to the City of Los Angeles for its partnership on this project, which helps ensure this key United hub remains one of the country’s premier global gateways.”
According to the airline’s announcement, the expenditure of more half a billion at LAX buys “an expansive ticketing lobby [with] self-service tools such as self-tagging baggage kiosks..a modern design with relaxed and inviting spaces … a variety of comfortable seating options and abundant charging stations for customers’ electronic devices.” United Club members will also enjoy a new Terminal 7 lounge.
To put these costs in perspective, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and JetBlue restored the architectural icon that is JFK’s Terminal 5, with a complete overhaul, passenger experience improvements and the introduction of 21st century technology for $753 million.
American Airlines has committed to worldwide improvements of its Admiral’s Club airport lounges, the integration of its livery and cabin products with the USAirways fleet, multiple new cabin improvements, and a host of other passenger experience upgrades–all for $2 billion.
Delta Airlines added 11 gates and 75,000 feet of space to its JFK Terminal 4 for $175 million. The airline will also bring a host of cabin improvements and passenger experience enhancements to its world-wide services for $770 million. Its substantial system-wide improvement projects completed since 2010, including building its new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal in Atlanta, cost the airline $3 billion.
The building of Abu Dhabi Airport’s massive new Midfield Terminal Complex will cost $2.94 billion.
Frankfurt Airport will build a new state-of-the-art Terminal, from the ground up, for $3.2 Billion.
We’ve reached out to United to give us more details on the plans for LAX, which might explain why these improvements warrant that level of investment, but we have not yet heard back from the airline spokesperson looking into the question.
LAX Airport is fifth in the world in passenger traffic, with 70 million passengers a year. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) holds the #1 spot worldwide with 96 million passengers.
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Photo credit: A rendering of the new security space at LAX. United is investing $573 million to refresh nearly all of its customer-facing space at LAX United Airlines