Assisted Flying

When I was thirteen years old, I flew from Baltimore to Alabama by myself to visit my

airport
Airport Terminal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airport_terminal

Uncle. I felt nervous leading up to my flight, even though I had flown before with my parents. Instead of traveling with my parents, this time I had to walk away from them after checking my luggage. I remember the tears welling up in my eyes as I walked through the security and waved goodbye to them. I feared that I would get lost in the airport and then miss my flight.

I am not the only one that feared getting lost in airports. One study showed that 50% of travelers cannot find what they are searching for in airports.

Five years after I flew alone, there is an app for locating services in airports, including the Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, and San Jose airports. The app is able to direct people turn by turn to their destination in the airport, so people never get lost! It allows travelers to find their gate, locate food, or facilities around the concourse, and when they head in the wrong direction the app is able to turn them around and direct them on the right path.

Another feature is that the app, called “wayfinding,” can provide relevant information to passengers’ locations throughout the airport. Depending on whether a traveler is parking, checking in, or approaching their gate, they will receive different notifications  and tips to help make their journey uncomplicated.

gate
Airport Gate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expansion_of_Gatwick_Airport

These location services bring an ease to airports that makes the process of flying simpler and faster paced. Travelers no longer need to look for signs leading them to the right gate or the bathroom or ask for directions when they are lost. They can just search for what they are looking for and then follow the apps directions turn by turn.

While this app makes traveling easier, especially in new and unfamiliar airports, it also makes us slightly absent when traveling. For example, one time when my mom was flying home from Texas, she ran into a good friend she had not seen for years. If she had been absorbed in her phone with directions to her gate or the bathroom, she may have missed the opportunity to catch up with an old friend.

Location services in airports add to the fast paced, technology driven society that we live in today by making traveling less stressful for many people. If I would have had such an app when traveling to Alabama, the experience would have been a lot smoother for me.

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