Where to Turn?

Paul Bowers

Like many people of our vintage, my wife is handling more and more of her aging mother's affairs. After her recent move into an assisted care facility, there was a lot of follow-up paperwork. Our experience changing my mother-in-law's address with one insurance carrier was particularly frustrating. 

We had a statement with a phone number to call. Great. But when we called, all we got was an automated response-no person, just a phone tree of choices, none of which included changing an address. To make matters worse, the phone system did not include an option to speak to a person, which left us feeling as though the insurance company really didn't want to hear from us. I'm sure there is a change of addresses form somewhere on the insurance company's website...if you know where to look for it. Unfortunately we didn't, and it was difficult finding someone who could help.

So what does this have to do with airports? Think about yours. Sure, you may have an information desk, but do the attendants ever go out into the terminal, mingle and proactively ask visitors if they need help? 

What about wayfinding? Is your signage intuitive? Has it kept up with changes to your facility, or is the current signage obsolete? 

How about your website? Does it contain parking information, allow visitors to make reservations or provide updates about which lots are full? Or, even more basic, does your website contain a list of people and departments, so passengers and community members know who to call or e-mail with questions and comments? All this information probably resides somewhere, but it doesn't do any good if people have to hunt for it. An objective review may indicate that changes are needed.

There are plenty of passenger touch-points where airports have little or no influence-baggage fees, overbooked flights, long waits at TSA checkpoints, etc. Doesn't it make sense to excel at the things we can control?




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