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Research shows waiting area experience is crucial to customer satisfaction

Infrastructure is the biggest driver of passenger satisfaction, says a new report, and comfort at gate waiting areas is a key component.

A new research report has been published by Airports Council International (ACI) World which shows that the comfort of waiting areas at airport gates is a crucial overall driver of customer satisfaction and provides a detailed view of the passenger experience through their comfort levels at the gate areas.

Produced through ACI’s ASQ programme the report continues that infrastructure is the most important driver of overall passenger satisfaction and the perception of comfort while waiting at the gate areas is a key component of this.

“Airports continually strive to improve customer experience as passengers are demanding higher levels of service,” said ACI World Director General, Angela Gittens. “Providing a comfortable experience for passengers waiting in gate areas is a priority for airports as waiting, even for very short periods, is an inevitable part of the passenger journey.”

The most obvious elements of creating a comfortable experience for passengers are seats and basic services such as Wi-Fi access, access to power and clean washrooms. However, the best airports are sensitive to intangible variables that have a direct impact on comfort, such as smell, light, noise and temperature, ACI said.

“Defining comfort of waiting at the gate areas is complex as there are a number of variables involved and this report assists airports by exploring which aspects of the passenger experience impact this,” Gittens continued. “The airport can provide a comfortable experience by reassuring, calming and relaxing the passengers and a comfortable environment can be achieved with both tangible and intangible elements.

“Beyond tangible factors – such as the comfort of seating – several intangible variables will contribute to passenger experience. Noise, lighting, air quality and crowd level all contribute to the ambiance. The most successful airports in providing comfort in waiting areas provide soothing environments, such as smaller lounges and quiet zones.”

The report also found architectural features such as the terminal envelope, space of seating areas, walking paths, floors and ornaments will also have a role of the passenger’s perception of the airport environment.

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