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3 Airport Amenities To Be Eliminated Within The Next 3 To 5 Years

    Chicago O'Hare International Airport
    Chicago O'Hare International Airport

    American airports are in desperate need of upgrades given their aging infrastructure and outdated amenities, and the Airports Council International - North America said the industry needs more than $100B worth of infrastructure improvements within the next five years.

    The industry's infrastructure is in such disarray that President Donald Trump, who is pushing to fund $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements throughout the country, met with U.S. airport and airline execs in February to begin brainstorming ways to update airport equipment and modernize the facilities.

    In a recent report ACI-NA surveyed guests' experiences and amenities within 69 North American airports that account for more than 76% of all North American air travel. The survey highlighted dozens of amenities airports are most likely to add and eliminate within the next three to five years. Respondents said nursing rooms, post-security pet relief areas and children's play areas are some of the most popular new amenities. But to add amenities, others need to be axed, and these are the perks that likely will not make the cut within the next half-decade. 

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    1. Pay Phones

    The convenience of the pay phone for future flyers is nearing its end. In January Pew Research said 77% of Americans own a smartphone, and nearly 80% of airports surveyed by ACI-NA offer WiFi. Combine the two and there are few instances where a pay phone is necessary. While Chicago's O'Hare International Airport still has more than 500 pay phones, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport eliminated its final lines last year.

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    2. Banking Services

    While ATM services are among the most common amenities found in North American airports, full-service banks are becoming a thing of the past. Nearly 70% of airports surveyed by ACI-NA provide ATMs, but less than 20% offer full banking services. Many airport banks have already been replaced by cash machines, and those that remain could find themselves replaced by up-and-coming amenities like pet relief areas or children's playgrounds before long.

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    3. Smoking Rooms

    Airport smoking room
    Smoking room in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

    Nearly an extinct breed, only a handful of U.S. airports still have smoking rooms. Salt Lake City International Airport closed all its smoking rooms last year, and by the end of next year Denver International Airport will have followed suit. While Washington Dulles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport still offer the amenity, it is likely their days are numbered as airports align with years of anti-smoking public policy. Though ACI-NA limited its survey to North America, smoking rooms are not suffering the same fate in European-based airports. There are about 28% of people that smoke in Europe compared to about 19% in the U.S. and from Vienna to Barcelona, smoking rooms are a common amenity once past security.