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The tricks of airport design


Perhaps one of the most stressful parts of traveling is flying, and more specifically, the airport. Making sure you have everything before you leave home, getting to the airport, and checking in with enough time to get through the seemingly endless security procedures. Also, getting to your boarding gate on time and avoiding missing your flight may seem like a mammoth task. But did you know that airports are designed in such a way that they can help calm you down? Below are some of the many smart tricks that airport designers use to help make the most of your time before you board your flight.

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Uniformity

Whilst each city and country is unique, wherever you go you will find that every airport is designed in a similar way. From the layout of the check-in desks to the boarding gates, airports around the world stick to certain uniform standards. This is done for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons is to create a familiar and calming environment for passengers. When you get to any airport, you are immediately somewhat familiar with the layout and procedures. Even the signage in most airports is standardized so that you can look at a sign anywhere in the world and it makes you feel at home. It also allows for easy flow of passengers, helping to guide them seamlessly through from check-in to boarding as quickly and efficiently as possible. This way, there’s hardly a backlog or extremely long line of people.

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Security

Many people dread going through airport security. It is a long, tedious process and the security officials tend to make you feel nervous and afraid with their serious demeanor. It can also feel slightly invasive as they check every inch of your bags and your body, making sure that you are not carrying anything remotely dangerous. But despite all that, there are still security threats almost every day. So what is the point of such rigorous security? In actual fact, the security is there to make sure that people come back. Without security, many people would be too afraid to even come near the airport. Such an active and visible security presence can comfort those who are nervous about their safety and make sure that people are willing to return to the airport again.

Shopping

Of course, an airport’s main function is to serve as a gateway between worlds, allowing people to safely board and disembark from the aircraft which will take them to their destinations around the world. However, there is no point in creating such a large operation if there is nothing in it for the people who manage it. That’s where shopping comes in. Anyone who has traveled internationally is familiar with the gigantic duty-free shopping mall that awaits you as you walk out of security and passport control. Airports around the world have designed their process in such a way that it is impossible to avoid walking past stores as you walk towards your boarding gate. Studies have shown that people who have been through a stressful situation tend to reward themselves and self-indulge and airports have capitalized on this. They make sure that after you have been through the stressful check-in process, you are immediately confronted with a barrage of stores enticing you to spend your money as a reward for making it this far.

Photo: Getty Images