Monday, July 12, 2010

Communication Challenges For the Frequent Traveler

Communication eases the pain of long security lines. Forget for a moment about little girls who have to put their live turtle in the garbage due to overzealous security personnel. And ignore the woman who was allowed to zip through, no questions asked with an aluminum pan full of BBQ ribs. So maybe we cannot control the uncontrollable personnel working for the TSA, but we could homogenize basic communication.

Last week I flew through Ft. Lauderdale – granted, maybe not perceived as the hotbed of potential terrorist activity. At that airport, timecards are issued occasionally to passengers measuring the amount of time it takes to get from one point to another. Thus when you ask a question regarding the security line you receive an answer that has some meaning.

Or there is O’Hare, my hometown airport that I fly out of at least weekly. At O’Hare, security personnel give you advice on which lines are short and how they are moving.

But now, come on over to Baltimore. Apparently these folks went through hear, speak, and see no information training. A few tidbits from my recent exposure to BWI airport:

- How long will it take to get through? No way to tell.
- What is the holdup today? Big smile. It is like this everywhere in the country.
- Can I carry on solid food? Only if it is three ounces.

These illuminating responses came from the "Information Booth." Clearly in Baltimore, they didn’t know a turtle weighs less than 3 ounces, is not gel, liquid or powder.

1 comment:

Magda Maslowska said...

I think many airports suffer from poor information design.

Even if a particular employee is not trained well, posters or signs displaying this simple information could probably both speed up the security process and answer many of the repetitive questions.

Not to mention serve as daily training materials to the TSA employees.