Some of the most high-tech airports are located outside of the US—from Singapore Changi and Incheon International Airport to Dubai International Airport and London Heathrow. Nonetheless, those located in the US have also made major moves to provide millions of passengers some unique and efficient travel technology. With travel growing tremendously year after year, it’s important for airports to take steps to reconstruct and update in order to simplify traffic and meet the growing demands of travelers from around the world.
Let’s take a look at the top ten US airports that have taken high-tech to the next level.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
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The first on the list is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which is also the busiest and most efficient one in the US. Servicing more than 150 domestic and 70 international destinations, ATL sees about 44.9 million passengers a year, and those travelers are able to enjoy some fascinating high-tech travel technology. This includes the ability to pass security by only a fingerprint check, relax and unwind in a “minute suite” that can be rented by the hour (featuring a bed and mini desk), as well as 102 electric vehicle charging stations for all the eco-friendly folks out there. And as with many airports, free Wi-Fi is provided, courtesy of AT&T.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
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Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) comes in second place. It’s considered to be the world’s third busiest airport in regards to aircraft traffic, and eleventh in the world for passenger traffic, which is about 27.3 million a year. Travelers coming in and out of DFW can experience a convenient parking area featuring seniors and lights above each parking spot. This allows drivers to be updated in real-time on which spaces are open, alleviating the hassle of driving around trying to find a free spot. The airport also offers travelers free AT&T Wi-Fi and a free mobile travel lounge located in Concourse C that has seats and abundant charging outlets.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), also known as SeaTac Airport, is number three on the list. SEA is the biggest airport in the US Pacific Northwest, serving 77 domestic and 22 international cities, with about 19.5 million travelers coming in and out per year. It was first built in 1944, and since then it has flourished into an economic hub in the region. Passengers who step inside can stay on top of their flight information by scanning QR codes throughout using the airport’s Flight Status app, and stay connected with free Wi-Fi, courtesy of AT&T. There are even robots to help travelers find drink and food stations within the terminals. And to top it off, passengers can clear security via “CLEAR”, a fingerprint and eye scanning device.
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
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Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) is number four in this list of the top high-tech US airports. Covering over 2,800 acres, LAS services an average of 20.9 million passengers per year. These travelers can experience an array of technology such as self-boarding platforms, where they can scan their boarding pass and go through the door to the aircraft without assistance from staff. For those who need to make a connection, passengers can interact with hologram workers who will tell them which tram to take to get where they need to be. Google has also recently added a feature where people can navigate within buildings (versus only roads), one of which is LAS—say goodbye to getting lost.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
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Number five on the list is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)—a busy hub, connecting many flights from the US to South America, as well as other international destinations. Servicing over 5.9 million travelers a year, AUS offers them several high-tech amenities including automated passport kiosks, global entry kiosks, free AT&T Wi-Fi for 90 minutes, and streamlined experience with a merged Customs and Immigration and Agricultural line.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), also known as Wold-Chamberlain Field, is number six on the list. MSP is used both for the military and the general public. Many describe the airport as being one of the best, with many restaurants and shopping options to keep one entertained and fed. It services an average of 16.7 million travelers a year, offering them the latest technology such as integrated iPads that can be used for surfing the internet, accessing emails and checking the latest on social media. Terminal one has tablets for people to order food without waiting for a server. For those who are nature lovers, Terminal two is the place to be—plants and flowers cover the rooftop to keep the roof cooler as well as provide insulation for the entire terminal. And in order to stay connected no matter where you are at MSP, travelers can enjoy free internet from AT&T.
Cincinnati-Kentucky International Airport
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Number seven is Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)—the fastest-growing cargo airport in North America. Globally, CVG is the key hub for Amazon Prime and the largest hub for DHL Aviation. It services about 3.1 million passengers per year who are able to use several travel technology advancements including “BlipTrack”, a system displaying security wait times online and at the airport’s entrance, and free Wi-Fi throughout. There are also sensors called “TaskWatch” that inform airport staff of restroom traffic so they know when to clean—transmitted to them via a smartwatch.
Sacramento International Airport
(Image Source: Walsh Group)
Sacramento International Airport (SMF) began operations in 1967 and was then called Sacramento Metropolitan Airport. When it opened, it was the first purpose-built public-use airport in the west and has since then expanded to provide over 4.9 million passengers direct flights throughout North America, and three to Mexico. SMF provides airlines with a “common-use gate system”, allowing carriers to park and depart from any gate. Because of this, travelers are able to print their boarding passes from any kiosk located in the airport. Additionally, a system called WebTrak is available to surround residents, which they can view and research any aircraft operations and flight information.
SMF has taken steps to be more green by installing a heat-reflecting roof to naturally keep Terminal B cooler. These special roofs block solar heat, which reduces CO2 emissions by 793 metric tons per year. Because of this, SMF received the LEED® Silver award.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport
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Number nine on the list is Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), which services direct flights to 153 domestic cities and 55 international destinations. ORD was named the Best Airport in North America for 10 years, thanks to its environmentally-friendly services and world-class amenities for 31.5 million passengers per year. These include B4 You Board, a meal delivery service that goes right to the gate, as well as FlySmart, a guide to newsstands, gift shops, restaurants, restrooms, and other terminal information. Moreover, those who need to charge up can do so at various power stations throughout, while staying connected to free Wi-Fi for 30 minutes, courtesy of AT&T.
San Francisco International Airport
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Last but not least on the list is San Francisco International Airport (SFO). It is the world’s twenty-first busiest and North America’s seventh busiest airport, connecting 19.7 million travelers a year to 83 domestic US cities and 49 international destinations. Passengers coming in and out can stay connected with free Wi-Fi throughout (even onboard the airplane), stretch out in the cutting-edge yoga room, and catch up with work in the 850-square foot co-working space known as #Converge@flySFO. For those who are blind or visually impaired, SFO has installed a system called indoor.rs, providing these passengers accurate indoor navigation via a mobile app.