Robert Chicas Discusses Recent Trends in Airport Hold Room Design
A recent Passenger Terminal World article explores the evolution of airport hold rooms and highlights HOK’s modernization of Long Beach Airport.
“‘Our clients often want to incorporate a strong emphasis on branding, create a ‘sense of place’ and enhance revenue-generation opportunities,’ said Robert Chicas, global director of Aviation + Transportation for HOK. ‘Our planning and design approach focuses on the size and proportion of the gate hold rooms; the placement of podiums; the flow of enplaning and deplaning passengers; the placement and type of seating and other amenities; the quality of directional signage and public address systems, which is often overlooked; floor/wall/ceiling materials; and the proximity and integration of passenger services and revenue-generating amenities. It’s also crucial to plan for the possible future reconfiguration of the hold room.’”
“The Long Beach Airport modernization project includes more than 26,000 square feet of new hold rooms. These are integrated with food court seating to maximize revenue generation. Airside gardens double as exterior hold rooms, so that passengers can enjoy the outdoors. The red lounge seats, fire pits, wine bar, palm trees and garden walkway in the outdoor plaza are designed to make guests feel like they are in a resort instead of an airport. Inside, an iPad station equipped with card swipers enables passengers to order food, shop, check email or catch up on news.”
“‘The congested hold room landscapes of the past had tightly spaced seating, limited power and data ports, subpar service offerings and ‘cattle call’ boarding procedures,’ explains Chicas. ’This is no longer acceptable. We think of these spaces as ‘enhanced waiting areas’ rather than holding rooms. Every square foot of airport terminal space needs to be optimized to create profitable, convenient, intuitive and low-stress environments. Travelers should be treated as valued guests rather than commodities. Today’s boarding areas include counters with bench seating and service amenities such as coffee or wine bars that are integrated with the waiting area. These areas feature clearly designated boarding lanes, vibrant information displays, and an audible public address system. Local artwork enhances the sense of place and is perfectly suited to areas where customers linger.”’