You know the announcements: “Passengers travelling on Jetstar flight JQ21 to Melbourne: this is your final boarding call. We repeat, last call for Jetstar JQ21 to Melbourne. Can all remaining passengers report to gate 53 A, thank you.” Or the dreaded, “Please do not leave any baggage unattended. If you see an unattended item please report it to security immediately,” serenely repeated until it drives you insane.
The announcements go on and on—their satanic loop intent on ruining your pre flight nap. Suffice to say: airports can be noisy, stressful places. So maybe getting rid of announcements is a good thing. On the other hand, some people argue that inflexible check in staff, overzealous security, jetlag migraines and Toblerone-induced blood-sugar crashes all make travelling hard enough without having to remember when your flight takes off—announcements actually make a trip less stressful.
Well, for better or worse, Sydney airport have decided to introduce a “quiet terminal” for a more “relaxing” experience.
As reported by Lonely Plant, “Sydney Airport has significantly reduced the number of announcements at its T1 international terminal, as part of a new ‘quiet terminal’ initiative aimed at improving the experience of its passengers. The airport wants to create a more relaxing environment by ensuring there are minimal disruptions from announcements.”
“The announcements will now be confined to gate areas at the terminal, with only critical ones being broadcast beyond these areas.”
“Passengers will now be able to relax without being interrupted by constant announcements,” said Sydney Airport CEO, Geoff Culbert, in a statement, “We’re always looking at how we can make the airport experience even more enjoyable for our passengers. This initiative leapt out as one that would make an immediate and material difference and would align us with the practices of the best airports globally.”
This initiative means Sydney is now up with Changi Airport in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and Helsinki (which also have “quiet terminals”) as one of the most forward-thinking airports in the world. According to Lonely Planet it has also, “Worked with its airline partners to ensure it has struck the right balance between providing a relaxing and stress-free environment and arming passengers with the information they need in terms of signage and updated flight information to assist them to get to their gate in a timely manner.”
Passengers are now advised of their gate and boarding time at the check in desk (and on their boarding passes), and up-to-date flight information is provided via large display screens and multilingual e-directories placed throughout the terminal. Whether this will result in an influx of missed flights remains to be seen, but the results from airports who have previously embraced this change suggest that this may well be the case.
This is not a problem though. It’s a fair trade off: your sanity in exchange for the passengers that need to be spoon-fed missing their flight (at least that’s what we say until it happens to us).
One real problem remains though: we at D’Marge believe Sydney airport have not gone far enough. We reckon if you’re going to get rid of anything—get rid of in-flight announcements. Think about it: when you’re settled down to watch your movie (and crack into that second half of the Toblerone) you really don’t need to be interrupted every 2 minutes with the pilot’s commentary on the weather and time to destination. If you want this information you can easily seek it out: just have it on a screen somewhere.