The trip feels long, I wonder how the experience could be designed to make it seamless.
Purchasing a direct flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam did help with simplifying the experience: no need to roam between airports looking for your connecting flight.
Packing everything in just one checked-in luggage, one carry-on, and one purse, takes care of the mobility: no dragging of heavy and bulky luggage.
Buying tickets in time helps with the choice of flights: no uncomfortable hours to wake up to.
Cozy clothing to endure the many hours sitting in a small place, and to comply to the airport screening procedures, softens the impact; as are the wheels to any luggage; valid passports; and a private ride to the airport.
Is there anything else a passenger can do?
I’m sure the seating position could be one, with the choice for first and second class being a differentiator for the experience during the flight.
But is this really an option? Who wouldn’t choose a first class ticket?
While each of the previous stratagems requires some planning, this latter one is of a different nature: the price difference between the two classes is so wide, that it almost takes away the option to choose.
Perhaps, this should be a shared responsibility, between the airline and its passengers, where the seating-design is comfortable across the spectrum, and the price difference is based on luxury services rather than experiences. *
Would this additional piece make the experience of flying across continents, seamless?
Interestingly enough, I don’t think so.
The time spent in long zig zag lines waiting to remove your shoes, the multiple stops to go through check-ins, custom, gates, and on-boarding penalizing lines, it all seems to be reinforcing a condition of punishment instead of delight. What modern retail store would ever ask its clientele to continue standing in long line to make their payments?
The flying journey is still an experience based on an old model, one that puts customers second, and justifies unfriendly experiences in the name of top-down decisions.
There is a great opportunity here for designers interested in changing the way we serve needs, one that can be accomplished by working holistically across the spectrum of interactions, technologies and innovative visions.
I would love to join the thinking for the next generation of “teleportation” 🙂
* This could be a blog for another time!