Signs inside and outside of airports can be confusing, misleading or lacking, and the emotional state people are in (worried about missing a flight, excited about picking up a friend or loved one, nervous about flying) can exacerbate common problems, including:

  • Parking – At most urban airports, drivers have a short window of opportunity to make decisions and change lanes. Effective signage provides them with useful information long before they are in the main circulation corridor and need to maneuver. Can they wait for passenger pick-up at curbside? Is long-term parking available? Where does one return a rental car?
  • Shared concourses – Airlines often share the concourses of other airlines, but the signage only reflects information related to the regular carrier. Passengers who haven’t allowed themselves adequate time can miss flights if they can’t find the right gate.
  • Transit between terminals – The process of arriving on a flight in one terminal and quickly getting to another terminal to catch a connecting flight can be especially frustrating in large airports like Chicago O’Hare or Miami International. Does the signage make it clear where shuttle buses are located? Are there other ways to move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 quickly?
  • Cancelled flights – If someone is unfortunate enough to experience a cancelled flight or the chaos that can take place when an airport terminal all but closes down, with multiple or all flights cancelled, effective wayfinding signs can make a huge difference. Where does one go to get re-booked on another flight? Where are the restrooms, the concession stands, etc.? Digital signage can be an excellent way to communicate information quickly to a large number of confused passengers because it can be updated in real time.

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