Design

Taking an airport walk as an old person

Harriet Baskas wearing 30 pounds of 'aging suit' apparatus for test walk through SEA airport

Monday’s assignment was another one for the books: go the airport, meet a couple of guys from the Dallas-based Corgan architecture and design firm, let them outfit me in a weighted vest, knee pads, padded shoes and assorted other items that simulate being 30 years older than I am, and take a walk.

The goal? To experience the challenges of moving through a busy, crowded airport without the pep, eyesight and navigational fearlessness of a much younger person.

I’m writing up the details of this educational and exhausting day for tomorrow’s At the Airport column on USA TODAY, but here’s a pic of me trying to get a suitcase up and over the lip of a bag claim carousel.

No laughing please…

Baskas had a tough time trying to lift a suitcase over the lip of the bag claim carousel while wearing an  'aging' suit

Coolest new airline? Maybe.

Livery for Teague's Poppi airline

Can the air travel experience be calmer, cooler and more comfortable?

The big thinkers at TEAGUE, the Seattle-based design consultancy surely think so.

The company helped design Microsoft’s first Xbox and has been Boeing’s key design partner forever. And to float some ideas about what might make air travel better, they created a new – imaginary – airline called Poppi.

Devin Liddell, Teague’s principal brand strategist, walked me through some of the key features and concepts he hopes airlines will adopt now, “instead of when it’s too late.”

TEAGUE’s most “disrupting” idea might be the banishing of carry-on bags and large overhead bins in favor of slimmer models they call “Fedora bins” that would hold hats, jackets and laptop cases.

Slim overhead bins, dubbed Fedora Bins, would only hold personal items

Liddell and his team are certain that technology is now good enough to make sure everyone’s bag gets where it needs to go. And that keeping all those bags out of the cabin would make everything from the security lines to the boarding process a breeze.

“That would sidestep the nightmare that takes place on the cabin when people try to cram their bags into the overhead bins and would make exiting the plane go much faster,” said Liddell.

In 'click-class' carry-on luggage would snap into the seat

For those unable to part with their bags, Poppi would have a “Click Class” option that would allow passengers to use special luggage that stores in the seat.

Poppi's middle-seat passengers would get special perks and gifts.

TEAGUE has lots more ideas about ways to transform all aspects of air travel, but the one they’re likely to get the most applause for is their suggestion that people seated in the dreaded middle seat be rewarded with gifts or special perks.

Read more about Poppi’s ‘promises’ here.

LAX ups its curbside appeal

LAX Susan Goldman - pink lightband

Photo/Los Angeles World Airports, Susan Goldman

Another phase of the major upgrade program is underway at Los Angeles International Airport.

This one focuses on curbside appeal and includes modern LED street lighting, custom-made art deco LED light poles and a programmable LED light band running the length of the Central Terminal.

LAX tells us the light band is over one mile long, is attached to the edge of the Upper/Departures Level roadway and is made up of 690 eight-foot-long individual light boxes interconnected and controlled by a single theater control system.

Looks great!

Gifts for Avgeeks

I’m gathering up a list of cool aviation-related products and handicrafts, just in case Santa reads StuckatTheAirport.com, or in case you’re looking for some cool gifts this holiday season.

Two for today:

Jerome Daksiewicz has a kickstarter campaign going to create a boxed set of his runway prints of 30 of the large hubs in the US and a screenprint illustrating all the runways.
 
runways

And Matthew Mahler at Skyebags has a refreshed line of items – a wallet, a tote and a Dopp kit – made from upcycled leather from old Delta Air Lines seats.

7_Skyebags Dopp Kit

Have a great avgeek gift to recommend? Send in your suggestions.