Back to the Future at Airports

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January 5, 2018
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March 15, 2018

International travelers fly through time zones. Sometimes it makes me feel that as if I have time travelled. The airport experience either adds to the feeling of having gone back in time or it creates a futuristic sensation. The time travel story of the movie ‘Back to the Future’, an 80’s classic, covers that experience well.


The main character of the movie, Marty McFly, accidently travels to the past in a DeLorean that was turned into a time machine by the eccentric Doc Brown. He has difficulty trying to get back to the future, but with enough ambition, creativity and risk taking, he succeeded and finds that his ‘present’ life has changed for the better.

Recycling is not Innovation

At some airlines and airports there are real innovators, who are not recycling and repackaging old solutions. They are improving the passengers experience with products and services that include self-service bag drop solutions making full use of available biometric technologies, such as facial recognition.

Ambition Drives Innovation

Too many times airports rely on airlines to initiate change and vice versa. However, innovation does not occur by pointing at others. While the ownership and management structures do impact, especially in the US, ultimately it is ambition that drives real change. Like Doc Brown and, maybe accidently, Marty McFly.

1, 14, 23, 41 and 86

According to the 2017 SkyTrax list of the world’s best 100 airports, my upcoming trip will have me traveling through five airports that are ranked 1, 14, 23, 41 and 86. Yes, it includes number 1, Singapore Changi, also referred to as the airport of the future. Apparently, it takes crossing time zones, not time travel, to see the future.

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