I remember when Delta dolled up its food and beverage offerings at New York LaGuardia, adding a host of nice new restaurants and bars. In addition to the good grub was a new addition: hundreds of Apple iPads at nearly every table or bar in the airport to be used to order food or browse the web. It was quite a spectacle. Delta expanded the high-tech offering when it took over US Airways gates there at LGA last year.
Now the invasion of the iPad is spreading to other key airports.
Have you been through United’s newly Terminal C at Newark? The iPads are ubiquitous, as is the plethora of new dining and drinking options popping up in restaurant spaces and new cafe-style options smack in the middle of corridors, taking over areas once occupied by moving sidewalks. (see below)
Healthier food, better shopping, and of course, more iPads, will soon pop up near United gates Houston Intercontinental, and near American gates at Philadelphia International’s Terminal B. The company behind all these improvements is OTG, an award-winning restaurateur with 250 restaurants in 11 airports under its belt.
In Houston, OTG will oversee all food, beverage and retail operations in United’s Terminal B South, Terminal C (including the new C North Concourse coming in 2017) and Terminal E. OTG says that it plans to install a whopping 8,000 (!) iPads throughout the airport, from which customers will find news and info and be able to order food and drink. At some outlets they will have the option of paying for it with MileagePlus points.
At American’s gate areas at Philadelphia’s Terminal B, OTG will phase in a few temporary “pop up” dining options to offer a taste of what’s to come as it builds out the full experience over the next two years. OTG will also introduce iPads at gate areas where passengers can order food and drink to be delivered from nearby airport restaurants. When complete, passengers will be able to use more than 1,000 iPads located at restaurants, lounges or gate areas. In addition, OTG says that it will install about 1,000 sorely needed power outlets in gate areas.
Ipads are cool, but some travelers may miss the human touch. Scott Mackenzie over at TravelCodex told TravelSkills: “I hate that I can’t do something simple, like order a beer, without using a tablet. Last time it took 20 minutes for a server to receive my order and then tell me it was unavailable.”
Have you used an iPad to order food or drink at the airport recently? What did you think? Please leave your comments below.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s newest, longest flight + Tipping Uber drivers + Qantas 747 Trip Report + Confusion over PreCheck policies + No-fee earlier flights