There is only so much that can be done to make the airport gate experience enjoyable for customers. When you’re dealing with cramped old terminals like those at LaGuardia the options are even more limited. There’s not enough space to really make things nice and tearing down and rebuilding the facilities is not going to happen any time soon, either. These challenges haven’t stopped Delta from trying, however. The carrier has stepped up the experience in their terminal, working to make pre-flight actually enjoyable.
One of the aspects of the effort is replacing the typical gate area seating – rows of uncomfortable seats crammed too close together – with new seats, including tables and outlets, so people can work or eat more easily. The layout is definitely more comfortable and customer-friendly, so long as you can actually get a seat. The main problem with the setup is that the seating density is decreased, meaning there are a lot of folks left without seats. And at LaGuardia, with the crowds, that is definitely a challenge.
In addition to the booths for sitting there are also taller tables with bar stools set up in the area. Again, lots of power outlets available and a nice desk for working or eating. But the high tops have more than just power and space; they also provide pre-flight entertainment options.
There are iPads set up at the tables, offering a few pre-loaded apps (e.g. FaceBook) and also an ordering platform for the OTG concessions in the terminal. The OTG setup is similar to that which the company debuted in the JetBlue JFK T5 a couple years ago, allowing passengers to order meals to the gate area rather than having to walk over to one of the stands to get the food. And this version offers entertainment, too.
The setup is quite nice. It is definitely a big change from the traditional gate experience. Not quite perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction.