The Heathrow Expansion: What is it?

David Pflieger highlights the Heathrow Airport expansion.

Advertisements

European airports are generally busy, but none reaches the number of passengers that annually fly through London’s Heathrow Airport. Located a short distance outside the city center and easily accessible by the London Underground and other public transportation options, Heathrow has needed an expansion for years. That expansion is about to begin.

Delays To The Heathrow Expansion

A number of groups challenged the approval that the airport received for its expansion. A couple of the major opponents included the group Friends of the Earth and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The main reason for opposition to the addition of another runway at the UK’s flagship airport was concern over the environment. Critics of the expansion argued that the airport’s plans violated the nation’s environmental policies related to climate change, in addition to the Paris climate accord. The UK has ratified the Paris accord, but it’s not an official part of UK law. In addition to concerns over increased pollution in the area, there are concerns in the local area regarding the number of houses that would need to be demolished to make room for the expansion.

The court system ultimately rejected the argument from the critics of the planned expansion. There was an acknowledgement from the judges who provided the ruling that there was substance to the arguments of these opponents. However, the main concern of the judges was the legality of the project. The judges returned a unanimous ruling that decided that Heathrow could proceed with its planned expansion.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Tips and Tricks Behind Designing an Airport

David Pflieger highlights what architects consider when designing an airport.

Architects don’t have an easy job, but there’s something especially daunting about designing an airport. The dramatically high volume of travelers that come through these transit points are also incredibly diverse. The necessary chokepoints like security stations and baggage claim add an extra layer of complexity to things, and while airports are fundamentally about shuttling people from one place to another as efficiently as possible, it’s also a place of commerce. These two competing notions are often in conflict with one another. As a result, architects have to be strategic with their design, and there are a number of clever tricks they’ve learned to employ over the years.

One of the key tasks an architect needs to achieve is putting customers at ease. The crowds, tight deadlines, and high level of security in airports can be incredibly stress-inducting, so designers have learned that establishing cues is necessary to facilitate a sense of orderly conduct. The most critical of these is a philosophy known as “wayfinding”. Getting lost disrupts the core efficiency of an airport while also exacerbating that core anxiety, so architects try to use the environment to guide individuals to their destinations as quickly as possible. Different terminals often use different signage, coloring, and even carpets to designate a change of environment, and large pieces of art serve as implicit guideposts for passengers who might have lost their way.

And while airports have become increasingly more secure with the presence of tighter security checkpoints and more officers, smart airport design ensures that passengers play an important role in maintaining order and security. Posters and signs throughout modern airports don’t just nudge customers into reporting suspicious behavior. They strongly enforce the notion that doing so is an act of virtue. In doing so, these prompts become an implicit act of virtue on the part of passengers rather than an imperative from an authoritarian figure.

One of the great ironies of modern airport design is that many of the security measures themselves are largely theater in the same way this signage is. Small measures like encouraging engagement by customers and increasing administrative security protocol have the most substantive effect on an airport’s security, but they aren’t decisions that are objectively present in the minds of passengers and thus do little to ease concerns about their safety. When new security machines and checkpoints are put in place, they’re as much for the sake of the attitudes of passengers as they are preventive anti-crime measures.

In order to read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Some Airports Allow for Non-Passengers to Pass Through Security

David Pflieger highlights how certain airports are allowing for non-traveling passengers to pass through security checkpoints to send off friends/family.

Since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, airports have had their gates in a vice grip. It seems like security checkpoints update their strict rules and regulations every other week. This makes travel—especially international travel—a rather difficult hassle. What is safe to go through the security checkpoint in one country is strictly banned in another. For example, in America you can have loose change in your carry on bag or purse without an issue. However, if you arrive in China with coins in your purse, you will need to fish out every last one.

These little discrepancies consume time and energy for travelers, but place an exceptional burden on security guards. This is part of why certain airports in the USA have decided to allow for non-passengers to go through security checkpoints.

Whether a non-passenger wants to see a loved one off before they leave to go abroad, or they simply want to eat at the only Potbelly’s in the state, three airports in the States have decided to open their doors to non-passengers. This is incredible news for those who want to be near those they care about when they can’t necessarily afford to buy an extraneous—or even refundable—airline ticket.

While these patrons are waived the hustle of going through the traditional security gate, they are still vetted through a specialized security system that will likely become more sophisticated as the trend spreads throughout the world. At the Pittsburgh airport for example, non-passengers check in at the specific non-departures level of the airport. Their information is then run against a secure “no fly” list, to ensure the security of everyone in the area. Then non-passengers are granted a stamp which allows them access to the areas beyond the security gates. The Seattle and Tampa airports have implemented a similar protocol.

To read the full article, written by David Pflieger, make sure to click the link.

Speedy Security: How to get Through Airport Security Quickly

Dave Pflieger highlights some of the best ways to speed through security checkpoints at the airport.

Going through airport security can be a daunting process with its long lines and wait times. Airport security is especially worrying for travelers who are pressed for time and are trying to get to their gate. Luckily, there are multiple things a traveler can do so they can pass through security as quickly as possible.

Join a Trusted Traveler Program
The Department of Homeland Security has various Trusted Traveler programs that will enable travelers to quickly pass through security. Two that are useful for the majority of travelers are TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. TSA PreCheck is great for domestic travel. Over two hundred airports and sixty-seven airlines are part of the TSA PreCheck program, so it is likely that it will be useful to travelers wherever they are in the United States. Travelers pass through TSA PreCheck lines where they are not required to take off their shoes or belt nor are they required to remove their computer or liquids from their bag. The majority of travelers wait no longer than five minutes in a PreCheck line. Global Entry is great for travelers who travel internationally and also includes TSA PreCheck. Besides the benefits of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry speeds up the arrival process for travelers who are coming from abroad. Global Entry members use automatic kiosks instead of going through the usual arrivals line and processing by a customs officer.

In order to read the full article, written by Dave Pflieger, make sure to click the link.