Charity organizations get creative in raising donations from travellers at the airport

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By Malgorzata Lach,

Obeying restrictions and rules put upon passengers by safety regulators and airlines is unavoidable in air travel. The nature of regulations can also vary, making it harder for the travelling public to get their travels organized. Furthermore, some of the limitations come up unexpectedly for inexperienced travellers and require immediate reaction.

In response, a few forward-looking airports in Northern Europe decided to turn things around and change those unanticipated situations into positive outcomes.

Overweight Baggage Dropp Point (Rygge Airport, Norway)
One rule that certainly affects the majority of the travelling public is the baggage weight limit. When dealing with an overweight bag issue, some passengers decide to stick to their plans and pay the additional charges in order to check in what they have packed, while others go through their suitcases and remove the stuff they need the least. In the worst case they will have to dump some of their belongings in a waste bin at the airport.

To ease the pain of leaving ones personal possessions behind, Fretex – a Norwegian chain of second hand stores that is run by the Salvation Army – came up with a creative solution. The charity organization partnered with Moss Rygge Airport, which is located 60 kilometres from Oslo, Norway, to install an ‘Overweight Baggage Drop Point’.

Consisting of a weighing scale and an used clothing container, the dedicated area allows travellers drop off their clothes to avoid extra charges and at the same time do something good by donating them to those in need. Video of how the charity service works here.

Bottle Donation Machines (Frankfurt Airport, Germany)
On a similar note, a few years ago Frankfurt Airport came up with a creative approach to encourage travellers to donate. Because German law makes deposits obligatory for single-use cans and bottles passengers, the airport installed several bottle return machines at the security checkpoint area in Terminal 1. Instead of throwing their plastic bottles in a waste bin, passengers can now put their liquid cans and bottles into kiosks and support one of the charities from a prearranged list, while cutting waste at the same time.

In the first three months after the kiosks had been installed the airport collected over 46,000 bottles and cans, which generated 10,000 euro in donations.

Charity Arcade (Stockholm, Göteborg Airports, Sweden)
However, is not just restrictions that encourage travellers to donate. Passengers returning home often find themselves with pockets filled with spare change in foreign currencies.

In an effort to rethink the traditional donation boxes installed in the baggage claim areas of Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter airports, Red Cross Sweden and Swedish airport operator Swedavia added an entertainment factor to the organization’s charitable efforts by turning donation boxes into arcade games.

Passengers can now relive the early 1980s while waiting for their bags and play Ms. Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Galaga on custom machines which can accept any currency. But most importantly, they enable people to use up their left-over travel coins, make a donation to the Red Cross and kill time while they wait for their bag — all in one go.

Judging by the stir the concept caused in the media around the world, the Charity Arcade initiative has been more attention grabbing than the traditional collection boxes and has a chance to be rather successful for the Red Cross. Video of the Charity Arcade here.


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