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January 13 2011
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PDD

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Delivering better experiences: A trip to Kastrup

Both work and personal life regularly take me to Copenhagen’s principal airport, Kastrup. Unlike many airports, Kastrup is one of the few that I actually look forward to passing through, to the extent that on a number of occasions, I have actually tried my best to arrive early, just to spend more time there.

Originally design in 1936 by Danish architect, Vilhelm Lauritzen, Kastrup has evolved over the years to include a number of new buildings. Its latest edition, a new terminal aimed at low cost airlines, was opened last month. A component of air travel, which is often the least pleasant part, is the walk (or run) to the gate, especially if it is your first visit to the airport and the route is unfamiliar. Aside from understanding  how to find  the gate, a key stress factor for passengers can be knowing how long is needed to reach the gate. This issue has been addressed at some airport by indicating time required to reach the gate in the departure hall, however it is usually just the once.

In the case of the new terminal at Kastrup, the journey time to the gate is approximately 5 minutes, which could be average as far as airports go. When I was there earlier this month I noticed one small (but effective) difference. The time remaining to reach the gate was indicated on the floor, at 30 second intervals. What I liked about it was the sense of reassurance I felt from know how long I had until I would reach my destination, and the confidence that I was heading in the right direction.

This reassurance of status is key here. We are constantly informed about the status of things throughout our daily lives, from  mobile  phone batteries to the time remaining on a YouTube video. However there are many instances when we are not accurately informed about status, such as waiting on-hold in a telephone queue or knowing where an ordered taxi is. What made my experience at Kastrup airport refreshing, was the simplicity of the solution, no electronics required and just the right frequency of feedback. Many products and services can learn from this example.

Have you come across any simple, yet effective, experience improvements? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

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Posted by PDD
@pddinnovation

Languages spoken: Global.
The last thing that inspired me: Design and Innovation.
My dream project: A project that makes a difference in the world.
My obsession: Develop successful, award-winning and world-first products and experiences.

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