Sunday, December 06, 2015

Tampa International Airport (KTPA) to add thousands of outlets for battery-drained travelers

Tampa International Airport, as part of its master plan, is planning to add thousands of new outlets in their gates so travelers can charge and use their devices on A/C instead of draining the batteries. J. T. Langlais plays a video game at a gate where Delta already has installed similar charging posts. At left, is Peter Celatka, who has his phone plugged in.

TAMPA — It’s a common sight at airports. Departing passengers sit awkwardly on the carpet near scarce electrical outlets waiting for their cell phones to charge. Others perch nearby waiting to swoop in the moment a plug leaves a socket.

Not so everywhere. At Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, customers can peddle up their phone’s power using exercycles placed throughout the terminal. John F. Kennedy Airport has tabletop transmission pads that allow cordless charging. Denver International Airport takes a more traditional route, with outlets everywhere.

Passengers waiting to leave from Tampa International Airport gates? They’ve either been using those hard-to-find wall outlets or one of the 237 work stations with outlets scattered throughout the terminal.

Next year, though, local travelers will see a surge of new outlets. As part of its $1 billion master plan, Tampa International is adding hundreds of new charging stations with thousands of electrical outlets and USB ports — at every gate.

“We have a lot of airside functional improvements on tap. One of the biggest ones is increasing the number of power outlets and USB ports available at the airsides and especially at the holding areas,” said airport spokesman Danny Valentine.

The airport will add 4,683 outlets and USB ports, including those at 299 new work stations scheduled to be installed. The remainder will be placed on pylons, or towers, and wedged between seat rows, making them easily accessible to those sitting at gates waiting to board planes.

Each tower will have four ports and four outlets.

“We’re going to start putting them in about mid-2016 at Airside E, then hit all the airsides one at a time,” Valentine said.

“This was really done to address the passengers’ need to charge their phones and computers,” he said. “It’s really frustrating when you go to the airport and you are unable to charge your phone. It’s all about improving the customer experience.”

The restrooms at Tampa International have all gotten a facelift and new concessions are under construction. Pubic art for the airport will soon be commissioned.

The airport also plans to add more seating, children’s play areas with computerized interactive games and green space, said John Tiliacos, vice president of operations and customer service.

But adding all those charging stations? Those may get more attention than any other gate improvement, Tiliacos conceded. “I can tell you these will be extraordinarily popular. We continuously engage customers through our WiFi (surveys) and what we’ve heard is that we are lacking in power outlets. Both business and leisure customers want them.”


No comments:

Post a Comment