Re:Imagining the Airport Gate Experience

How might we make the airport gate experience an exciting, enjoyable part of the journey?

Once an exclusive method of transport, flying is quickly becoming commoditised. With passenger numbers growing year-on-year, airports are investing millions into refurbishments to deal with this capacity.

Yet the airport gate remains relatively unchanged.

On a recent project with a European international airport, we layered passenger data with passenger behavioural insights.

The airport gate stood out as a pain point that is still unresolved. It should be exciting, a gateway for passengers building excitement for their holiday. But it remains a confusing and stressful part of their journey through the airport.

Lack of information and updates about flight preparations, difficult-to-find airport facilities, no seating… the list goes on.

This was the challenge our CCD Re: team was faced with.

To begin, they explored questions like:

1. What are the most confusing or unenjoyable parts of the airport gate experience for both passengers and staff?

2. What do passengers want to be doing at that stage of their journey?

3. What does the airline or airport want them to be doing?

4. Which behaviours/processes can and can’t we influence?

5. How can we make it enjoyable for all passengers?



From speaking with both passengers and operators, any design interventions or concepts needed to consider:

1. How can we make use of existing infrastructure at the gate or during the airport journey?

2. Considering the current challenges at the airport gate, what would be helpful and practical for both passengers and staff (carrier and operations)?

3. How can concepts build excitement at the airport gate?

4. How might these concepts be integrated to improve the passenger journey as a whole, rather than just at the gate?


The CCD Re: team found there were three main aspects of the airport gate experience that were the source of a range of issues:


Transparency of information

Behavioural change


The video below shows the journey the CCD Re: team took to re:imagine the airport gate experience.

Re:Imagining the Airport Gate Experience

About CCD Re: 

Through our CCD Re: Project scheme we are able to think freely about a brief allowing us to spend time understanding the motivation behind specific human behaviours and how the service or product can be improved to better the experience. For this project, employing open thinking around the brief enabled us to identify aspects of the passenger journey, particularly at the gate, that had opportunity for innovation and challenged the status quo.

Interested? Pitch your research brief to us today. 


Stephanie Clarke

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