Awful flooding images from the Northeast Wednesday evening. This one shows flooding inside Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
More airports getting robots to help deliver meals
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) now has a two-wheeled, semiautonomous robot named NomNom helping to deliver food and beverage ordered online as part of the www.LAXOrderNow.com program.
NomNom is a cargo robot that can carry up to 40 pounds of food at a time. It follows behind delivery staff from AtYourGate, which delivers food ordered via LAX Order Now. The robot can move at speeds up to 6 mph and uses a series of cameras and sensors to recognize and follow its handler throughout the airport.
Alaska Airlines’ New Lounge at SFO
The new Alaska Airlines lounge in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has some amenities we’re very anxious to see in person. In addition to serving Bay Area brews and wines from local vineyards, the lounge has a sourdough toast cart (!), a candy bar that includes Ghirardelli chocolate, Jelly Belly beans, and custom fortune cookies from Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory. There’s even a San Francisco Giants-themed children’s play area. The photos below are from Alaska Airlines; we’re going to have to visit in person to get our own.
Passengers can order food through the Grab app, a special section of the PHL website, or scan Grab QR codes in the terminals. Merchants are searchable by food type and terminal. And orders can be delivered to wherever you are in the terminal.
Participating restaurants at PHL include Auntie Anne’s, Bar Symon, Bud & Marilyn’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Dunkin’, Gachi, Geno’s Steaks, Jack Duggan’s, Jamba, Piattino Pizza, Smashburger, and Vino Volo.
More merchants will be added soon.
There is a small charge for delivery. But first-time users can use the promo code ‘RUSH’ to save 20% – up to $5 – off their first order.
Since then, other U.S. airports have rolled out cleaning robots. But PIT was the first.
Now PIT is making the hard-working robots even more endearing by giving them eyes.
The robots also have names:
Amelia is named for Amelia Earhart, the famed pilot and female aviation trailblazer.
Orville and Wilbur are named after the Wright brothers.
And the fourth PIT robot is named Rosa. She’s named after Rosa Mae Willis Alford, the sole female mechanic to work on the planes of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
Travel to a scary galaxy
In the spirit of the Halloween season and the scary, bizarro times, we’re printing out frameable copies of these science-inspired Galaxy of Horrors “travel” posters from NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau.
The posters look like vintage horror movie advertisements, but they are really out of this world.
This robot is billed as “the only ultraviolet (UV) room disinfection technology proven to deactivate SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19.”
SAT says the LightStrike uses environmentally-friendly pulsed xenon and can disinfect an area in less than 10-15 minutes without warm-up or cool-down time. They plan to use it pretty much everywhere in the airport, including jet bridges, gate areas, ticketing counters, baggage claim, concessions, elevators, and restrooms.
And it looks like the LightStrike robot is here to stay. SAT airport plans to have a contest to give the robot a name.
Airports Council International now estimates a drop of more than 4.6 billion passengers globally for all of 2020.
The airport trade group also estimates that total airport revenues worldwide will drop by more than $97 billion for 2020.
Still, airports are making plans for welcoming back travelers.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) says passengers will see new social distancing signs and markers through the airport terminal. Acrylic protective screens are being installed at ticket counters and at retail food and outlets as well. Cleaning crews are also out in force. And passengers are being urged to wear face masks in the airport.
What will the airport of the (near) future look like? I’ve got a story in the current issue of AFAR that lays out that scenario. Here are some of the highlights.
Photo -by Harriet Baskas
Your face is your ticket
Get ready for single-token travel. A facial scan and an initial look at your passport is already all you need at some airports.
Smart(er) security lanes
Time-saving, stress-busting security checkpoints will soon be universal. Improved technology speeds up the bin-loading process and allows TSA officers to scan carry-ons quicker and find bags containing prohibited items in a flash
Food and merchandise comes to you, wherever you are in the airport. OTG’s tablet-centered ordering and grocery-style self-checkout lanes are expanding, as are app-powered mobile delivery services such as Airport Sherpa and At Your Gate, already on-duty at the Baltimore, San Diego and Newark airports.
Where’s my bag?
Lost luggage is a bummer. But more bags arrive as promised thanks to airports that employ tools such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and monitoring apps to track bags from the time they’re accepted at the airport to delivery at the bag claim.
Find your car – and an open restroom stall
High-tech lighting systems guide travelers to open spaces in giant airport parking garages and direct home-bound passengers to lost cars. Airport restrooms are high-tech too, with occupied/unoccupied signals over the stalls and technology that alerts maintenance teams to lavs that need cleaning.
Count on cryptocurrency.
Australia’s Brisbane International led the way by letting travelers pay for purchases with cryptocurrency. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport followed with kiosks that exchange leftover cash for Bitcoin. Count on airports, the first and last city stop for international visitors, to embrace digital currency as its popularity rises.
Airport cities offer milk, medical facilities and more
No longer ‘just’ transportation nodes, airports are branching out with full-service grocery stores, medical facilities, movie theaters and entertainment centers. The observation deck at Incheon Airport’s new Terminal 2 offers virtual reality experiences, while Singapore’s Changi Airport 10-story Jewel complex (opening 2019) promises the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
Go to Miami – or Mars
As space travel and space tourism moves closer to reality, some airports plan to double as spaceports, so travelers can set out across an ocean – or out of this world.
What features are you hoping pop up at the airport of the future?