Displays Proliferate at Newark Airport

The Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey will soon feature iPads in United Airline’s Terminal C. This is United’s main terminal at the Newark Airport and is a critical hub for United, a launching point for many of the airline’s transatlantic flights. The update will cost $120 million and will see every gate seat, as well as all restaurants within the United Airlines terminal, receiving an iPad.

More specifically, United’s upgrade will see its terminal boosted with 10,000 power outlets, 55 restaurants and 6,000 iPads.

Helping United design the system at Newark will be OTG Management (New York, NY). OTG entered into airports in 1996 and calls itself a “travel restaurateur”. The company has more than 200 restaurant and retail locations in 10 airports across North America. The company has worked on similar projects at terminals in JFK and LaGuardia airports. The upgrade at LaGuardia was in conjunction with Delta Air Lines between 2010 and 2012. The project included the installation of 1,500 iPads in Terminals C and D.

The presence of iPads is intended to serve as a distraction for passengers who often face long wait times at the Newark airport. In 2012, Newark was ranked the fifth-worst airport in the United States by Travel & Leisure, which looked at amenities, delays and concessions and other factors.

United Airlines spokeswoman Mary Clark said, “Our perspective in what we’re looking for, and what we look for in all of our hubs, is something that’s going to be a benefit for our customers – something that’s going to make the time they spend in the airport more productive, more enjoyable, comfortable”.

The displays support 20 different languages and include the capabilities of presenting flight tracking information as well as various kinds of entertainment and games. The interface is based on visual menus.

The system will allow passengers to buy, via the iPads, products from OTG shops, as well as other stores in the terminal. With the iPads, passengers will also be able to order food from restaurants.

United reports that if a flyer makes a purchase from one of the iPad-outfitted kiosks, delivery of that item will be met within 15 minutes. This delivery time comes with a guarantee.

The redesign is expected to be completed over the next 18 months. – Arthur Berman