Schiphol Airport teams up with Philips to develop ‘ambient gate’

Amsterdam Schiphol has opened a new gate at the airport’s G-Pier that is intended to make the time passengers spend just before departure as pleasant as possible. The so-called ‘Innovative Gate’ resulted from a collaborative venture between Schiphol and a large number of other parties. Philips played a key role by providing its expertise in creating ‘ambient experiences’, which basically make use of a play of different lighting fixtures, effects and colors to create different moods. The new 700m2 gate features 1,000 fluorescent LED lamps. 

Mood lighting, ‘living magazines’,  innovative seating
When passengers approach the gate, the gate is lighted using the airline’s colours and large billboards positioned at the gate entrance display photos or videos of the destination alongside flight information. A reception desk lets airlines welcome passengers, and the pre-waiting area offers different furniture elements, such as work desks for business travellers, group seats, and individual seats with enhanced privacy. The waiting area also features number of large video screens (called ‘living magazines’ by Schiphol) that show infotainment programmes. Cathay Pacific will be the first airline to use the new gate.

Concierge desk, premium seating, water fountain
After having passed the security scan, a seating area makes it easier for passengers to put their shoes back on and repack their bags. In the main waiting area, a concierge desk is staffed by the airline, and business class passengers and frequent flyers are seated in a premium area. Other features include Wi-Fi work desks, a centrally placed water fountain where passengers can tap a glass of water, and binoculars for children to spot planes. At the initiation of the boarding process, the lighting will change from warmer tones to a cooler colour in order to activate the waiting passengers, just like airlines such as Cathay do with mood lighting on board their arcraft. 

Schiphol’s new gate concept is currently undergoing a 3 month trial in which the experiences of the passengers will be assessed. Based on their feedback, Schiphol will decide whether the concept, or elements of it, will be used in the future.

Update 13 December 2010. Schiphol Airport reports that its passenger surveys show the innovative gate has a positive effect on passengers’ perception of the airport. The overall impression of the time spent waiting at the gate is more positive compared (27 percent) to the old situation. Contributing factors include waiting comfort, the atmosphere and furnishing. In June, Cathay Pacific became the first airline to use the new facility and Singapore Airlines and ArkeFly recently started using the gate as well.

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