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One Runway, Five Minutes

A Traveler:  stands at the threshold of an airport’s security area. Typically, this area would seem like a play entitled, “Cows and Criminals,” due to all the shouting of commands, herding into lines and inspections. But this area is different. Travelers seem to be happy, calm and moving quickly. How can this be? Is this a dream? A kind voice suddenly speaks to the traveler and asks, “Do you need some help?” He snaps out of his daze and notices it is an airport employee. The traveler explains his bewilderment, to which the employee smiles and replies, “Welcome to Gatwick’s South Terminal, where we process our travelers in under five minutes, hence the short lines and happy faces.”

Details: Five minutes or less is a very bold boast for an employee to make, but Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate disagrees, “We’re committed to making the airport experience an easier, speedier and less stressful experience for our passengers,” he says. “The opening of the new South Terminal security area is just part of a £1.2 billion investment in Gatwick Airport, as we continually look to innovate and deliver solutions that will provide real benefit for passengers” (2). Of the proposed £1.2 billion, £45 million has been used to complete a pilot security experience that was launched last month. Here are some samples of that pilot program:

Airport personnel easily greet and help passengers, because they have under gone many hours of training to earn their City & Guild Level 2 Award for Excellent Customer Service. This is now a requirement by the airport. Also, large-screen monitors give directions for all security’s needs or areas in five languages.

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