If you’re lucky, an airport does one thing really well. Maybe it has painless security. Or robot assistants. Even just free Wi-Fi. Now imagine if every part of the experience was optimized for ultimate efficiency. We searched terminals around the world for the smartest innovations and mashed them all up into one. At this Frankenport, you might even want to show up early.
1. Universal Check-In
Grab your boarding pass at any counter in the departures hall, regardless of airline. Just look for the shortest queue.
2. Easy Drop-Off
Hong Kong International
With this airport-bound express train, you can drop your bags at the station up to a day before your flight and they’ll be loaded right onto your plane.
3. Free Wi-Fi
Clinton National, Arkansas
It’s superfast and it’s superfree.
4. Robot Helpers
Can’t track down a human attendant? Hitachi’s EMIEW3 robot can direct you to security or to your gate, in Japanese or English (or soon Chinese).
5. Speedy Security
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
Everything keeps moving in Delta’s “innovation lanes,” which allow five passengers at a time to load their bins while a parallel belt replenishes each station with empties.
6. No-Hassle Scans
Not only does CT scanning tech score highest in threat detection for carry-ons, you can leave liquids and laptops in your bag. Huzzah!
7. Automatic Verification
Queen Beatrix International, Aruba
Thanks to facial-recognition cameras at every checkpoint— bag drop, immigration, boarding—you only have to flash your passport one time.
8. Bluetooth Beacons
Emitters send gate info, directions, and dining recs to your phone based on your location inside the terminal. Now, where’s the nearest bar?
9. Space-Based Air Traffic Control
Canada has the best air traffic control, and now it’s launching radar trackers into space to chart shorter routes and safer passage.
10. Smart Baggage
Each checked bag—tracked via microchip—gets to its loading area in less than 10 minutes. The system also transfers luggage seamlessly between connecting flights.
11. All-in-One Terminal
Beijing Daxing International
The facility, opening in 2019, is organized around a central shopping area, with wings leading off in multiple directions. The farthest gate in the complex is only 650 yards away.
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