Ranging from app-based F&B pre-ordering to virtual interpreters, Europe’s airports are continuing to think outside the box to simplify the passenger experience. Ryan Ghee reports.
Heathrow partners with Grab to add F&B pre-ordering to app
Heathrow Airport has teamed up with Grab to launch a digital food and drink pre-order service. Hosted within the Heathrow Airport app, the service allows passengers to pre-order, check turnaround time and make payment, before collecting their order from a dedicated collection point within the terminal.
Initially, the service trial has launched with at least one restaurant per terminal, with a view to extending to all restaurants across the airport in the coming months.
TRG Concessions is first to trial the service, with restaurants including Giraffe, Wondertree, Comptoir Libanais and The Curator all offering dishes for pre-order. Each restaurant receives orders via a tablet, which also allows staff to communicate directly with the customer.
Ben Crowley, Heathrow’s Head of Food and Beverage, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Grab to offer a new, innovative service to Heathrow passengers. This enhances the takeaway offer our restaurants provide and allows passengers to enjoy the fantastic range of dining options at 30,000 feet. This is the latest move in our service proposition as we continue to put passenger experience at the heart of our airport operations.
Sundsvall Timrå Airport implements unified security platform
Sundsvall Timrå Airport in Sweden is taking steps to optimise efficiency. Recently, the regional airport started to explore more advanced security technologies that could automate intrusion alarms and extend monitoring capabilities to security staff anywhere in the airport with the objective of maximising resources and reducing costs.
Recently, a decision was taken to move forward with Genetec Security Center, the unified security platform that combines video surveillance, access control and other security systems in one intuitive application. Today, the team at Sundsvall Timrå Airport is managing around 20 cameras within the Omnicast video surveillance system. The video system is unified with third-party video analytics and intrusion detection solutions, providing staff with complete visibility of the airport terminal, gates and perimeter. While there is a security monitoring desk in the baggage makeup area, guards are rarely stationed there. Instead, the team relies on the Security Center Mobile App to oversee security as they move through the airport.
David Lenot, Airport Practice Leader, Genetec, explained: “The “Unified” approach means not only that multiple systems can be used from a single interface but more importantly that the platform always delivers relevant, filtered, contextualised information to the user so that they can immediately understand the nature of the issue, and resolve it faster.
“The advanced map interface makes it clear at any given point in time where things are happening; this means that even a new operator on his first day of duty could locate a camera or an incident in seconds. This enables operators to respond to incidents before situations escalate. They can do this when sitting at a PC, or from their mobile phone when on the field supporting customers.”
Lenot added: “This helps every employee to spend more time doing what truly matters: supporting customers to make sure that their experience is at the highest level throughout their journey.”
Finavia trials digital interpreters for Chinese and Russian passengers
Finnish airport operator Finavia is piloting a virtual interpreting service for Chinese and Russian passengers at Helsinki and Rovaniemi airports. The digital interpreters have been introduced to help passengers and service providers overcome the potential language barrier.
Finavia is working with Finnish mobile interpreting service Tulka on the initiative. Sales and service personnel at the airports will test the interpretation service on tablet devices in different customer service situations, particularly with Chinese and Russian customers.
Heikki Koski, Helsinki Airport Vice President, Finavia, said: “Finavia’s aim is to provide its customers with innovative world-class services. Tulka allows us to contact a professional interpreter within seconds in the form of sound and image.”
The service providers participating in the pilot are Budget-Avis, Vantaa Taxi, World of Delights Helsinki, Marimekko, Iittala, WDFG Helsinki, Finavia Customer Service at Helsinki Airport and Rovaniemi Airport. The pilot will run until the end of 2017.
‘Movie Worlds’ introduced at Frankfurt Airport
Passengers flying from Frankfurt Airport can now watch full-length movies, documentaries and television series in the two new “Movie Worlds” that have been opened in Piers A and Z in Terminal 1.
The free-to-access cinema rooms have been introduced to help keep travellers entertained while they are waiting for their flights. The Movie Worlds have been designed to re-created the relaxed ambience of a living room. There are multiple comfortable couches and the floor is covered with carpeting to create a cosier atmosphere.
The installation of multiple screens means passengers and small groups travelling together can select the content they would like to watch. The movies, documentaries and series are available in multiple languages and passengers can decide whether they would prefer to listen to the soundtrack using their own headphones or a speaker.
The two Movie World areas in Terminal 1 can accommodate 22 people in eight separate TV areas.
‘Small bags only’ security lanes prove a success at AMS
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has decided to keep its “small bags only” security screening lanes open beyond the peak summer season following the success of the initiative during recent months. The dedicated lanes are open to passengers carrying either no hand luggage or small items of hand luggage, such as a handbag, backpack or laptop bag. Figures show that the security waiting time for 95% of passengers travelling from AMS in July and August was less than 10 minutes. Also, 15-20% more passengers were processed through the “small bags only” security lanes compared to the regular security lanes during peak periods this summer.
Although the “small bags only” security lanes in Departure Halls 1, 2 and 3 were only open during peak times over the summer holidays, the improved rate of throughput has resulted in Schiphol extending the opening times up to and including the autumn holiday period.