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U.S. airports continues to enrich passenger experience

(People's Daily Online)

09:48, February 09, 2012

By Joanna Law, Staff of People's Daily Online USA in New York.

While passengers are surfing the web in an airport using Wi-Fi, they no longer think this is a wonder. Frequent travelers have become so used to airports’ multifarious facilities that rarely would they come to realize how significant transformation the U.S. airports have undergone. The function of many U.S. airports has shifted: they no longer serve as a transient place only for transiting; they are a place where passengers are willing to linger and enjoy.

Decades ago, merely a massage chair in an airport was already an apple in travelers’ eye. As time goes by, passengers’ demands increase. Airports in many major countries, especially some regional airports in the U.S., have gradually come to understand that adequate airport capacity is key to support and sustain economy. Various passenger facilities are built and installed to satisfy and accommodate their need, immensely enriching traveler experience.

Prayer rooms, which now can be easily seen in many U.S. airports, are one example that signifies how airports are striving to meet the demand of people with different cultures and backgrounds. In John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York, there are four prayer rooms for different religions: Muslin, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish.

But who would have guessed that a yoga room could be one consideration for an airport facility?

Last month, it came true in San Francisco International Airport (SFO). A yoga room is opened in end of January in SFO and welcome passengers to go in to practice or meditate. This 150-square-foot room, located in the Airport’s recently refurbished Terminal 2 and just past the security checkpoint, is believed to be the first airport yoga facility in the world.

“When we began to remodel Terminal 2, one of our goals was not just to bring the glamour back to air travel, but to also make the entire experience less stressful and more enjoyable,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “With the opening of the Yoga Room, SFO has taken another giant leap forward in providing our travelers the opportunity and space to relax and decompress on their own terms.”

In fact, SFO is one of the U.S. airports that have been constantly enhancing passenger experience by taking in journeyers’ feedback. Apart from the Yoga Room, the Airport also offers showers, spas, a medical clinic, and amenities for kids.

Certain U.S. airports recognize travelers’ dependence on technology and its crucial role in passenger experience. In New York City, LaGuardia Airport, the Delta terminal has ipads installed for people to play games or even order food. These tablets are great companions for those who got stuck due to flight delays or who need something to kill time.

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