There is only so much that can be done to make the airport gate experience enjoyable for customers. When you’re dealing with cramped old terminals like those at LaGuardia the options are even more limited. There’s not enough space to really make things nice and tearing down and rebuilding the facilities is not going to happen any time soon, either. These challenges haven’t stopped Delta from trying, however. The carrier has stepped up the experience in their terminal, working to make pre-flight actually enjoyable.
One of the aspects of the effort is replacing the typical gate area seating – rows of uncomfortable seats crammed too close together – with new seats, including tables and outlets, so people can work or eat more easily. The layout is definitely more comfortable and customer-friendly, so long as you can actually get a seat. The main problem with the setup is that the seating density is decreased, meaning there are a lot of folks left without seats. And at LaGuardia, with the crowds, that is definitely a challenge.
In addition to the booths for sitting there are also taller tables with bar stools set up in the area. Again, lots of power outlets available and a nice desk for working or eating. But the high tops have more than just power and space; they also provide pre-flight entertainment options.
There are iPads set up at the tables, offering a few pre-loaded apps (e.g. FaceBook) and also an ordering platform for the OTG concessions in the terminal. The OTG setup is similar to that which the company debuted in the JetBlue JFK T5 a couple years ago, allowing passengers to order meals to the gate area rather than having to walk over to one of the stands to get the food. And this version offers entertainment, too.
The setup is quite nice. It is definitely a big change from the traditional gate experience. Not quite perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction.
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I don’t know…it looks like a chintzy diner to me.
The last few times I have been at LGA the gates are so crowded that I could hardly move around. I couldn’t even see the furniture, much less sit on it. Waiting in the skyclub is a much better alternative if you have that option. There is still more space up there, even when the skyclub is crowded.
Definitely an interesting choice to do it at LGA, where seating density at the gates was already an issue. Still, I like the idea of trying something different from the traditional rows of seats too crowded together to be useful. The concept needs a few tweaks, to be certain, but I like that someone is trying anything other than just rows of benches.
I’d rather there be dense seating for many, rather than sparse seating with entertainment for a few. In LaGuardia, even “normal” gates often have too few seats.
I agree, Ted & Mark, that the choice to put them in at LGA – where space was already an issue – is an interesting one. It certainly presents some challenges. But I do love the idea of something different than awkward, excessively dense seating. I’m guessing a few more refinements on the product before they really get it right.
I was there 2 weeks ago coming back from the Flyer University. I was pleasantly surprised. You can also press a few buttons on the ipad and get food delivered to your seat. Prices are not low but the food is pretty good. I had a few snacks. Frank-It was anot a chinzy diner because chintzy diners dont have the IPAD setups. A HUGE improvement. There is a burger place in the terminal and I got one of the best burgers at a very fair price. Some management company is running the entire thing. They did the same in Boston i think? I would like to see this design elsewhere. With ton of people int he terminal you could find seats.
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