In just nine months, airport seating manufacturer Arconas completed the installation of some 21,000 seats in 10 American Airlines holdrooms simultaneously as part of the airline’s sweeping refresh of its gate hold rooms. This project is part of a company-wide rebranding journey started by the airline in 2013 aimed at building a more modern experience for its customers.
From the introduction of a new logo and livery (aircraft branding), new planes, new uniforms, and an expanded digital presence, American’s mission is to provide a comfortable, convenient and connected travel experience. Working its way through each customer touch-point, a crucial part of this transformation was the customer hold room experience, which American embarked on earlier in 2016. A trusted partnership was forged between American and public furniture manufacturer, Arconas, to transform these liminal spaces into an integral part of the brand experience. American knew that by choosing Arconas it could give modern travelers what they want: comfortable airport seating with access to power to recharge their electronic devices.
Arconas’ premium Flyaway beam seating was chosen to keep customers comfortable as they wait. Flyaway offers higher backrests, effective lumbar support, thick cushions and superior performance. Over the course of this project, over 21,000 seats will have been installed with more to come. Additionally, 30% of these seats are equipped with Arconas’ innovative inPower™ flex modules to keep travelers recharged. Each module easily attaches to the underside of any beam seating allowing travelers to plug in their personal electronics via a traditional power cord or USB cable. InPower™ flex distributes power to multiple seating units from one floor outlet, reducing coring costs dramatically. Each module is UL-rated and comes with numerous built-in safety features that limit currents, is GFCI protected against short circuits, and shields passenger’s electronic equipment from surges.
For all parties involved, this project was about more than just seating and power solutions.
“From the beginning, it was important to understand the needs, goals and challenges faced by American Airlines and work with them to find a solution that would meet their requirements from both a logistics and customer satisfaction standpoint,” says Lynn Gordon, Arconas’ Vice President – Airport Solutions.
From the outset, several important aspects were immediately apparent. It was crucial that this roll out be done simultaneously across airports, over a short time period, and have as little impact as possible on American’s operations. This was not a small task.
To ensure this outcome, Arconas became not just a gate seating provider, but a strategic part of the project team. Drawing from the company’s in-depth experience in rolling out large public and airport seating projects at operating airports, Arconas’ project manager was able to advise on the detailed planning of the shipping and installation schedule. “The rollout became a highly coordinated effort with multiple stakeholders to ensure the project was completed on time and on budget,” said Gordon. Arconas initiated weekly American Airlines project meetings and was in constant communication with American’s airport managers, utilizing its network of local sales representatives and installers. As part of Arconas’ holistic approach to airport furniture, the company worked with American’s design team, with Corgan as project manager, and with several local architecture firms, advising on many aspects of the hold room refresh. This included optimizing layouts that would facilitate passenger flow and accessibility for people with reduced mobility.
In order to not disrupt American’s airport operations, the seating was assembled off site by local crews who delivered and installed full gate hold rooms literally overnight. “Our crews not only removed and responsibly disposed of the old seating on the same night as bringing in the new, they worked around other trades replacing carpet, paint and counters,” added Gordon. “The planning had to be carefully coordinated with many stakeholders to transform the space efficiently.” Gordon credited American’s Corporate Real Estate and Procurement staff along with Corgan’s experienced project team for making the roll out go smoothly.
The American Airlines refresh project included ATL, BNA, BWI, EWR, IAH, JFK, LAX, LGA, MSP, ORD, PDX, PHL, PHX, PIT and STL. The renovations are expected to be completed by early 2017, when customers can fully experience the new look and feel of American’s hold rooms.
Facts & Figures:
Client: American Airlines
Product Installed: Flyaway, inPower Flex, inPower Stool
Seating Designer: Doug Ball
Seating Fabric: Majilite Destiny
Total Flyaway seats: 21,000
Total inPower flex modules: 3,700
Total inPower stools: 1,600