25 episodes

Join us in The Hold Room, a bi-monthly podcast brought to you by the Airport Consultants Council! The Hold Room will explore the latest trends in airport development and passenger facilitation both here in the U.S. and around the world.

Conversational, informative, and sometimes irreverent, expect unique insights from ACC leaders, members, airports, and industry experts as we breakdown trends directly affecting airport development, including: the future of passenger facilitation; airline industry prognosis; airport construction practices; and legislative and regulatory updates. We will also explore the issues affecting your company, including increasing diversity in the industry, financial trends and challenges, and recruiting, developing and retaining employees, just to name a few.

Don’t miss this new opportunity to engage with ACC - you never know who you might run into while hanging out in The Hold Room!

The Hold Room Airport Consultants Council

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Join us in The Hold Room, a bi-monthly podcast brought to you by the Airport Consultants Council! The Hold Room will explore the latest trends in airport development and passenger facilitation both here in the U.S. and around the world.

Conversational, informative, and sometimes irreverent, expect unique insights from ACC leaders, members, airports, and industry experts as we breakdown trends directly affecting airport development, including: the future of passenger facilitation; airline industry prognosis; airport construction practices; and legislative and regulatory updates. We will also explore the issues affecting your company, including increasing diversity in the industry, financial trends and challenges, and recruiting, developing and retaining employees, just to name a few.

Don’t miss this new opportunity to engage with ACC - you never know who you might run into while hanging out in The Hold Room!

    Season 2, Episode 2: Anita Cobb

    Season 2, Episode 2: Anita Cobb

    The Hold Room, Season 2 Episode 2
    Transcript

    [Introduction]

    TJ: Welcome to The Hold Room with ACC: a quick update on all things relating to airport development as well as the Airport Consultants Council.
    Laura: This episode is part of the Passenger Experience series hosted by ACC’s Terminal and Facilities Committee. In this series, we are collecting the experiences and perspectives about the future of passenger travel, including changing demographics (such as the U.S. population aging and becoming more multi-cultural), new technologies, labor and supply chain shortages, and what the future may have in store. Thank you for joining us in the Hold Room!
    Paula: In this episode of the Hold Room, we get the perspective from one airport planner to now corporate diversity and inclusion program manager at Mead & Hunt Anita Cobb on how changing demographics and labor shortages are impacting the passenger experience. We will explore technology updates and airport design that should be considered as our airport passengers continue to change. Welcome to The Hold Room.
    [Interview]
    Max: Welcome back to The Hold Room everyone. We're very excited to have Anita Cobb here with us in the hold room. Anita Cobb is with Mead & Hunt. Anita, would you spend a few minutes just telling us a bit about yourself? What you do? Who you are?
    Anita: Sure, absolutely. I’m Anita Cobb and I work for Mead & Hunt, and I work out of our Lansing, MI office by way of our Denver office, because that's where our sustainability and environmental planning services are actually based. So, I've been with Mead & Hunt for the last five years, and I've had a super fun experience learning how to figure out how in our aviation practice we can take care of people, but I also take that extra step of looking at how we engage people. So, community engagement and things that help our disadvantaged business partners be able to become independent in the marketplace, and then, I also just pay attention to how we're dealing with industry organizations, colleges and universities to start influencing aviation from the perspective of recruiting new people into our industry as well.
    Laura: That's really exciting. Thank you. So, from a perspective of what's going on in the terminal planning right now, what is it a positive passenger experience mean to you?
    Anita: Well, this is an interesting question just because I think I've gained a new love and passion for the passenger experience quite recently. If you think about it, your Atlanta Airport Hartsfield they had approximately 55 million people go through their terminal in 2019, and when you think of the sheer volume of individuals going through that airport, the passenger experience has to change in order to be able to accommodate all those different levels of ability, and all those experiences of people who go into the airport. So, it's just really exciting to see that. There's a lot more attention being paid to human centered design and really looking into how we're engaging with people to understand what their current experience is and how we can help to improve that.
    Max: I'm curious, what are some specific changes that you feel like you've seen recently that are really kind of edging us toward a more human centered design aspect of the airport terminal?
    Anita: Absolutely, that's a great question too. Airports are becoming little cities more than just by like identity of what an airport has traditionally been. They are really taking on the feel of having places for you to shop, they have places for you to sleep, they have all these different things that allow you to be able to feel like you have a lot of the comforts of home. As you wait for your flight to leave, and I think that as we're looking at some of the more progressive airports, you're seeing things like these meditation spaces or reflection rooms, so you can have quiet. The sensory rooms are going in for people that are neurodiverse in order for them to be able to have

    Season 2 Episode 1: Meet Our Interviewers

    Season 2 Episode 1: Meet Our Interviewers

    Season 2’s focus is on the changing demographics in the United States and their impact on travel, technology, and what the future may look like.

    The Hold Room, Season 2 Episode 1
    Transcript
    [Introduction]
    TJ: Welcome to The Hold Room with ACC: a quick update on all things relating to airport development as well as the Airport Consultants Council.
    Laura: Welcome to episode one of our second season of the Hold Room. We're so excited for you to join us. This season's focus is on the changing demographics in the United States and their impact on travel, technology, and what the future may look like. The season’s interviewers Max Vale, Kisa, Hanlon, Carrie Wojcik, Anita Cobb, Neil Chatwood, and Laura Canham will now say a few words about themselves.
    Max: My name is Max Vale. I am an aviation planner of HNTB and I've been involved with the Airport Consultants Council since the end of 2020. I am based in San Francisco, CA. Over the next five years, I think one of the biggest changes that will hit airports is around decarbonization, not just in terminals, but in all manners of airport facilities ranging from rental car facilities to air cargo facilities. As part of airport decarbonization efforts, one area I'm hopeful for changes in public transit access to airports in the US. Airports have kind of grown up in the same era as the private automobile, so much of airport planning with respect to airport access revolves around automobile access. I'm hopeful that the push for decarbonization and increased sustainability will help break this paradigm. Airports will need to consider changes at the operational level as well as at the federal policy and regulatory level to help allow foreign fund transit connections in the airports. I'm excited to be part of this crew back for season 2.
    Kisa: Hi, this is Kisa Hanlon and I work at Swanson Rink. I started the company in 2008 and marketing and I have now worked at the company for 14 years and I'm now the Director of Business Development for our aviation and data center groups. In the next 5 years I see sustainability continuing to trend upwards with more and more airports focusing on being as green as possible. I also see an improvement in passenger flow at the airports with a continual push towards biometric technology, hopefully resulting in a more expedited passenger experience.
    Carrie: Hi, I'm Carrie Wojcik. I am a national account Rep at Inpro Corporation. I have had five plus years in the building industry. At Inpro I’m really focusing on the aviation market and I got involved with ACC to learn more about market trends. I think the biggest challenge I see for airports moving forward in the next five years is designing facilities to meet the needs of changing passengers, demographics, whether it be language barriers or even providing the necessary resources for the labor at the airport. People who work at the actual facility.
    Anita: My name is Anita Cobb and I am Mead and Hunt's market leader for aviation equity strategies. And for the last four years I've been working as an airport planner focusing on sustainability, equity, and environmental justice. I recently came into my new role because of a lot of great work that's going on in the industry, focusing on taking care of people and putting them first when it comes to planning, engineering, and design. I'm very passionate about keeping people in the middle of our technical work and identifying ways for us to continually push our society to identify and remove barriers to get to a respectable quality of life for all. In the next 5 years I see the aviation industry finding ways to measure equity and the associated impacts. Right now, as we focus on human centered building design concepts, I believe that we will find that technologies and consortium style learning in addition to resource sharing will provide a safer, healthier, and more resilient aviation industry.
    Neil: I'm Neil Bron Chatwood. I'm a digital signage specialist and I

    Episode 22: Drinal Foster

    Episode 22: Drinal Foster

    Many successful airports engage in broad and diverse outreach programs to their local communities. In this episode of The Hold Room, Drinal Foster joins Laura and Max to talk about her involvement with such a program: the Traveler Advisory Committee, or the TAC, sponsored by Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. An avid traveler, Drinal shares what she brings to the TAC through her personal travel experiences, and she highlights how the TAC has helped influence policy and development at MSP.

    The Hold Room, Episode 22 (Drinal Foster)
    Transcript

    [Introduction]
    TJ: Welcome to The Hold Room with ACC: a quick update on all things relating to airport development as well as the Airport Consultants Council.
    Wendy: This episode is part of a New Passenger Experience series hosted by ACC’s Terminal and Facilities Committee. In this series, we are collecting the experiences and perspectives of different types of users of the airport passenger terminal, including: business travelers; leisure travelers; airport executives; airport, airline, TSA, and concessions staff; and airport consultant staff, to name a few. For more information on this series and the hosts, go back and give the first episode a listen to.
    Paula: Many successful airports engage in broad and diverse outreach programs to their local communities. In this episode of The Hold Room, Drinal Foster joins Laura and Max to talk about her involvement with such a program: the Traveler Advisory Committee, or the TAC, sponsored by Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. An avid traveler, Drinal shares what she brings to the TAC through her personal travel experiences, and she highlights how the TAC has helped influence policy and development at MSP.

    [Interview]
    Laura: Welcome back to The Hold Room. Today we have Drinal Foster joining us. Drinal, would you like to tell us a little about yourself and what your role in the aviation industry is?
    Drinal: Absolutely! Well, thank you for having me. I am by day a senior diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant at a financial services company. I do a lot of travel for work, but I also am a leisure traveler. I travel personally, and right up to the pandemic had a goal of traveling to 100 countries, and got stopped short way through that. I also partner pretty closely with the airport Travel Advisory Committee.
    Max: Could you tell us a bit about your role on the Travel Advisory Committee? That's for MSP, is that correct?
    Drinal: Yes. So probably for the last year and a half, I've been a member of the Travel Advisory committee, and it's just been a fascinating group of individuals talking about travel experiences at MSP airport, talking about their businesses, and how it relates to travel—really just being a conduit, talking about the customer experience perspective, what are things that we've noticed, great experiences that we've had, maybe areas of opportunity. Maybe as we are traveling throughout the United States or elsewhere internationally, what are some of those great airport experiences, and bringing back some of that knowledge and insight to the Travel Advisory Committee. And so it's been a very diverse group of individuals. Just a lot of great insights and experiences as it relates to travel.
    Laura: Yeah, and I think that kind of plays into what we're talking about today, too. So you touched upon this a little bit already, but how has the pandemic affected you, either your job, travel experience; but then also what you were just talking about, or the passenger experience throughout the airports that you've traveled at?
    Drinal: Oh, gosh. Well, let me go back to the first part of it. So the pandemic—it's definitely it turned my world upside down. So I was traveling at least twice a month for work, and obviously just everything coming to a stand. You know, no more traveling, working from home, somewhat isolated to a degree. But outside of that, personally, you know, I talked a little bit about this travel goal

    Episode 21: Cody Shulman

    Episode 21: Cody Shulman

    Laura and Max chat with Cody Shulman, Managing Director at Xovis, about how people-flow technology plays a role in the passenger experience at various locations in the airport where queuing and crowding typically occur.

    The Hold Room, Episode 21 – Cody Shulman
    Transcript


    [Introduction]
    TJ: Welcome to The Hold Room with ACC: a quick update on all things relating to airport development as well as the Airport Consultants Council.
    Wendy: This episode is part of a New Passenger Experience series hosted by ACC’s Terminal and Facilities Committee. In this series, we are collecting the experiences and perspectives of different types of users of the airport passenger terminal, including: business travelers; leisure travelers; airport executives; airport, airline, TSA, and concessions staff; and airport consultant staff, to name a few. For more information on this series and the hosts, go back and give the first episode a listen to
    Paula: In this episode of the Hold Room, Laura and Max chat with Cody Shulman from Xovis about how people-flow technology plays a role in the passenger experience at various locations in the airport where queuing and crowding typically occur.

    [Interview]
    Max: Welcome back to the Hold Room. Today, we're very excited to have Cody Schulman here with Xovis. Cody, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?
    Cody: Sure. Thank you Max. Cody Shulman. I'm the Managing Director for Xovis here in North America. So this is a hardware and software company. Together we make our own sensors and systems to really tackle people-flow and movement and throughput and analysis of anywhere in the airport where there's a crowd or a line or anything of the sort. I manage the U.S. business on that sense for both airports and our non-airports business as well.
    Max: Thank you. So the first question that we typically ask our guests is how has the pandemic affected you, either in your job or your travel experience? Or alternatively, because you may not necessarily be interfacing directly with the airport environment, how have you seen the pandemic affecting the types of environments that you're usually working in?
    Cody: I think it's had a number of interesting changes. I mean some of them we all know about, whether it's, you know, traffic downturns, you know drastic changes in airline route networks and things like this. In terms of how it's affected my job or me, you know everyone kind of hit the pause button initially and then we kind of took stock of things. Actually a number of projects we had kind of accelerated whether that was because an area that we were working on an installation or configuration of either, you know, temporarily closed or a decrease in passenger or throughput allowed the flow of people to be redirected and you could work on some kind of installation, maybe even during this day, which of course is easier and cheaper and things like that. We really had airports come back to us and say: OK, you know, I have a Xovis system in my terminal complex. I have eyes and ears, but you know how can I adjust them? How can I use them differently?
    Now with the situation we're in and the kind of first early steps that we took were to that now buzz word that is part of our vernacular: social distancing, right? So we created a thing to serve our customers or users with what we call PDI physical distancing indicator. And so that was a comparative metric that we had to kind of come up with and and go at kind of right away to make sure that they were getting some useful thing to say Here is you know a situation here today, let's redesign it, reconfigure it, compare it to see how people are moving about differently. Another thing we did was analyze face masks. So we taught our system to detect whether or not a passenger was wearing a face mask. And that allowed them to look at compliance and see if they were adhering to certain things and make adjustments, whether it was from changing their anno

    Episode 20: Perspectives from a Pilot

    Episode 20: Perspectives from a Pilot

    TJ, a pilot at a major airline, shares how the pandemic has changed the passenger experience and the unique experience pilots have had recovering from pandemic conditions.


    The Hold Room, Episode 20
    Transcript
    [Introduction]
    TJ: Welcome to The Hold Room with ACC: a quick update on all things relating to airport development as well as the Airport Consultants Council.
    Wendy: This episode is part of a New Passenger Experience series hosted by ACC’s Terminal and Facilities Committee. In this series, we are collecting the experiences and perspectives of different types of users of the airport passenger terminal, including: business travelers; leisure travelers; airport executives; airport, airline, TSA, and concessions staff; and airport consultant staff, to name a few. For more information on this series and the hosts, go back and give the first episode a listen to
    Paula: Today in the holding room, Max & Delia are having a discussion with Pilot TJ from a major airline on how the pandemic has changed the passenger experience and the unique experience pilots have had recovering from pandemic conditions.

    [Interview]
    Max: Welcome back to the hold room. Today we have TJ who is a pilot for a major United States airline. TJ, welcome to the podcast. Could you tell us a bit about yourself please?
    Pilot TJ: Hey Max, thanks. It's great to be here. I've been working for the airlines for almost 10 years and I've been with my current airline for about four and a half years. I have about 6000 flight hours, so I've been in the industry for a little while now and happy to answer any questions you have about what's been going on lately.
    Max: I think the first thing that we're curious about is how has the pandemic affected you, either in your job or any leisure traveling?
    Pilot TJ: I was actually traveling internationally the first time I felt the effects of the coronavirus. I was in Asia with my husband and we actually came home a day early because it was the start of the Chinese New Year and we'd been hearing all about this virus and we just didn't want to get too close to it if we didn't have to, so we actually came home early from a vacation, and then, personally, I flown most of January before we went on the vacation in February, flew a normal schedule and then in March, I stopped flying about halfway through the month. Everything I was supposed to do was cancelled, so I had full trips that came off my schedule and then I had days that I had to be available, but I wasn't actually asked to come in or fly at all. In April I flew one day trip and in May I flew a whole bunch 'cause I knew I took five months off starting last June, so knowing I had five months off coming up I flew as much as I could and kind of braced myself for some changes. That was kind of how things first affected me. I guess. Currently, I'm still not really back to fulltime flying. I've flown about 100 hours in the past year.
    Max: Yeah, I'm sure that that wasn't easy.
    Delia: Was there a sense of community around all of the different pilots and the crew to try to figure out how do we make this work during the pandemic? How did it feel for the industry and for everybody who you worked with?
    Pilot TJ: That’s a great question and I wish I had a clear cut answer, but unfortunately what I kind of saw was a little bit of everything. Some people kind of turned on other groups, like some newer pilots thought the older pilots should all retire and some of the older pilots thought, “Well, I got furloughed once, you know, what's the big deal? - this has happened, you’re not the first people to get a furlough notice. I've got furloughed twice.” - so we had some divisiveness, if I'm being honest. There was also a lot of compassion. I had people who I maybe had flown two or three trips with calling me at home and saying, “Hey, you know, how are you guys holding up? You know, how are your peers?” We also had kind of complicated decisions to make because our unions and the c

    Episode 19: Josh Lemeshow

    Episode 19: Josh Lemeshow

    In the last two years, we’ve seen several new airlines begin service in the U.S., including Avelo Airlines, Breeze Airways, and Aha. But what are the market forces driving this increase in new entrants? How will these new leisure-focused carriers affect airport facilities and the passenger experience? In this episode of The Hold Room, Josh Lemeshow with RS&H chats with Laura and Max about the changing domestic airline landscape and ways to improve the passenger experience.

    The Hold Room, Episode 19 (Josh Lemeshow)
    Transcript

    [Introduction]
    TJ: Welcome to The Hold Room with ACC: a quick update on all things relating to airport development as well as the Airport Consultants Council.
    Wendy: This episode is part of a New Passenger Experience series hosted by ACC’s Terminal and Facilities Committee. In this series, we are collecting the experiences and perspectives of different types of users of the airport passenger terminal, including: business travelers; leisure travelers; airport executives; airport, airline, TSA, and concessions staff; and airport consultant staff, to name a few. For more information on this series and the hosts, go back and give the first episode a listen to.
    Paula: In the last two years, we’ve seen several new airlines begin service in the U.S., including Avelo Airlines, Breeze Airways, and Aha. But what are the market forces driving this increase in new entrants? How will these new leisure-focused carriers affect airport facilities and the passenger experience? In this episode of The Hold Room, Josh Lemeshow with RS&H chats with Laura and Max about the changing domestic airline landscape and ways to improve the passenger experience.

    [Interview]
    Max: Hi Josh, welcome to The Hold Room. Glad we could have you on today.
    Josh: Alright, thank you for having me.
    Max: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
    Josh: Absolutely. So, I am an aviation consultant. I've been in the industry for 15 years. I worked at URS right out of college as an airport architect intern, spent a couple years outside of aviation, I guess just working on non-airport related projects, and then I got involved in Southwest Airlines. I spent five years at Southwest Airlines in customer service, operations, and in-flight. After that, I went to work at AECOM doing airport terminal design in Boston. Then I moved out to Chicago for family and continued working at AECOM at the O'Hare Modernization Project. For those that are unfamiliar, is all of the runway expansion and reorganization that's pretty much wrapped up now. So, I did some time there, and then I worked at Ricondo for over 2 years. And now I'm at RS&H. My primary responsibilities is airport terminal planning. I've been lead planner on several projects. I've been support planning with Buildings Group on a number of other projects. And I'm also in the airline industry—sort of market intelligence analyst—a lot of data-crunching with DOT stats and how on-time performance trends are looking. And that's been very important over the past year and a half as we've been doing a lot of tracking of how the airports have been recovering. As enplanement data comes out, I've been tracking national averages along with pretty much all the airports that we have as clients. So that brings me to today.
    Laura: So, from your background, looking at terminal planning, design—having seen what's been going on for the past two years now—how has terminal planning changed as part of this? What do you think has influenced things as they've continued to progress throughout this time, and have you seen any changes at airports that you're excited about?
    Josh: That's a great question. So as the pandemic was unfolding, the big topic that was always coming around was how do you implement social distancing into an airport environment? And it was a very complicated topic at the time because no one was traveling. We were down to 10% year-over-year in

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