Frequent-flyer guru Randy Peterson to airports: Give travellers what they want

April 23, 2012

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airport restaurant istock small1 Frequent flyer guru Randy Peterson to airports: Give travellers what they wantRandy Peterson, one of the world’s leading experts on airline frequent-flyer programmes, hosted a webinar late last week to explain what customers like and don’t like about airports.

During “The Airport Experience: Insight from Customers” webinar, which was sponsored by registered traveller programme Clear, Peterson praised airports for bringing a “Top Chef” mentality to concessions with the inclusion of restaurants like celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Torta at Chicago O’Hare.

“I love name brands and local flavours in airports. I never look at the price tag at Frontera. Frequent flyers like quality and are willing to pay for it,” he says.

Airports are not alone in this regard; airlines all over the world are now bringing retail-style food and beverages - as well as well as home-grown products such as microbrew beers – to passengers.

On the technology front, Peterson urges airports to work with existing offerings including TripIt and GateGuru instead of building separate smart phone apps.

“I have 73 apps on my iPhone, and most I don’t use. Give them the information so we can have it all in one place,” he says.

Peterson’s two gripes are near and dear to my heart: paid/slow Wi-Fi and a dearth of power outlets. “Airports have slow Wi-Fi speeds. These systems need to be modernised so we can upload photos quickly. We already feel like we’ve paid for Wi-Fi with all the airport fees. So modernize and stop charging and we’ll love you for improving our experience.”

Programmes and apps suck the life out of travellers’ devices, suggests Peterson. “I see some airports have power poles, but it’s not enough. Smart road warriors bring their own power strips and extension cords, but that’s an accident waiting to happen. We need more and we need it to be accessible.”

Meanwhile, airlines are fielding similar complaints about the speed of inflight Wi-Fi and the lack of power ports on many aircraft. Tackling the former obstacle Gogo is experimenting with price increases with its various airline partners in the United States. The move may reduce pressure on overwhelmed onboard Wi-Fi systems, as argued in this OpEd piece.

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About Benet Wilson

Author of the AviationQueen.com blog and a long-time aviation/travel writer based in Washington DC, Benét has also worked for Mesa Air Group and Delta Air Lines, Rolls-Royce North America and the Regional Airline Association. She now handles communications for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

View all posts by Benet Wilson
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3 Responses to “Frequent-flyer guru Randy Peterson to airports: Give travellers what they want”

  1. Jamila Ruis Says:

    Enough of envy in me, here in Brazil airports do not even have free internet for passengers, Brazil has to see the other countries with more developed example.

    at, Jamila Ruis
    Rastreadores BBOM

    Reply

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