Will It Be Less Expensive? Of Course Not
Much of the travel world’s focus has been drawn to the larger problems faced by passengers at the moment. Flight delays and cancellations are rampant, handler shortages are seeing lost luggage claims at an all-time high, and lines are pouring out airport entrances from the check-in lines. Not being mentioned is the experience once in the departure lounge.
That looks set to change in the near future, as some American airports are attempting to address the lines forming in congested departure gates by introducing mobile ordering for passengers.
With delays and cancellations so common this summer, departure lounges are often packed to breaking point. Of course, those frustrated passengers need to eat, and with many of them already frustrated, service providers on the other side of customs and security are bearing the brunt of the tension.
The airports of Washington, D.C, are implementing new apps that allow passengers to order their food and drink online, bypassing the lengthy queues and only heading to the counter when their meal is ready. The new apps, which are already functional, are currently being used at Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
The easy-to-use app interface lists all participating restaurants, cafes, and bars in the airport, along with the full menu. Passengers can order from their gate if they wish and swing by the counter when they are notified that their meal is ready. The feature, when used properly, allows for a far more relaxing experience for passengers, who no longer have to wait in what can be huge lines for food. Instead, grabbing a seat nearby is the only stress.
Passengers can utilize the ordering system using the online browsers found for Dulles here, and Raegan here, or use the DC airports app for on-the-go ordering. Not all restaurants and vendors are featured on the app yet, but the majority of those catering passengers are available. The app also lists directions to the chosen restaurant in case passengers are a little overwhelmed by navigating the airport.
The features are expected to roll out extensively across the country in the future, but some cities are already well ahead. New York’s airports have taken the technology one step further and allow passengers to have food delivered directly to their gate. The feature is particularly valuable at Laguardia Airport, where complicated terminal setups make navigating the food options a pain. Its delivery feature eliminates that problem and lets the food come to you.
The DC Airports are already working on this function and hope to have it running in the near future.
It’s a fair assumption that most major airports will try and implement a similar setup going forward, helping make the airport process a breeze for many. Business travelers and families will find it particularly useful, as time can be better spent on work or keeping the kids in close quarters near the gate.
Of course, we can still expect the usual airline prices that we’ve come to loathe. Prices remain high in the airports, and combined with inflation, some vendors are seeing fit to raise them even more. New York has already brought in caps to prevent airport vendors from taking advantage of the limited options available to passengers. The cap was prompted by a viral post from a passenger who paid $28 for one beer.
While those costs are most likely here to stay, the ability to skip the long waits may dull the sting of pricey airport food, especially if time spent in the departure lounge is longer than normal this summer. It’s anticipated that a further 80 airports will have similar systems in place in the coming months and years ahead, with hopes it becomes a staple across the country.
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