In May, DFW Airport became the busiest airport in the world.
During the pandemic, Dallas based American Airlines, rerouted most of their flights to the DFW Airport location.
DFW Airport’s increase in traffic and flights make it the test subject for the future of travel post COVID-19. Aviation data company OAG reported DFW Airport saw 12,132 flights compared to 8,596 from Chicago O’Hare. The reason behind the shift is not because more people are traveling to and from Dallas-Fort Worth, but because flights are being rerouted and shifted to different hubs with connecting flights as opposed to direct flights between cities. Because of the centrality of DFW, the ability to reroute and connect is ideal.
As DFW Airport positions itself as the leading hub for travel during the pandemic, it becomes the test for the future. DFW Airport is testing several new improvements to make the airport a “smart” airport that relies more on technology and less on person-to-person interactions or community touch screens.
Globally, airports are testing the use of touchless services and the use of robotics. In Beijing, Daxing Airport uses robots to sanitize and patrol. These robots are installed with facial recognition software.
China Eastern Airlines utilizes camera headsets to identify members of their elite loyalty program. The headsets are something out of a science fiction universe and have the ability to pull up personal information in order to provide a better customer service experience.
Uruguay boasts the world’s first fully digital airport a blueprint for what DFW Airport is attempting.
DFW Airport is testing several new technologies and sees the future for airports as self-service engines. DFW Airport is implementing touch free toilets as well as self-service checking for all bags. Prior to the impact of COVID-19 in 2019, DFW Airport began implementing biometric face recognition technology. The technology allows the traveler’s face to become their passport or form of identification.
DFW Airport is taking sanitization to the next level with constant cleaning of high touch areas as well as the use of ultraviolet lights for germ killing. Other airports throughout the globe have increased cleaning plans and teams and some even use spray disinfectant devices to spray down guests. The emphasis on cleaning and sanitization has become a huge priority for most airports, and DFW Airport is no stranger to the increased safety measures.
Temperature checks are the new normal for most workers and travelers, and DFW Airport has implemented these checks for their crews. Touchless temperature checks are taken as each employee comes in for their shift. Temperature checks have yet to reach the consumer level as it is a tricky situation for companies at the moment.
DFW Airport’s improvements and testing of new technology will give the world a good look at the future of airport travel and how the travel industry will shift to a more self-service model.