For the umpteenth time, I waited to check-in, go through security, and board a flight at JFK in facilities with bad light, rude and indifferent service, and processes that must have been deliberately designed to be inefficient. At one time, I hear the experience of flying was enchanting and magical; now it’s about going through with a “just let it go” mindset. With so much of our time spent in such embarrassing facilities, why don’t we introduce the design attitude inherent in the new economy into our old economy that overwhelmingly still is the face of who we are to the world. The knee jerk response is that we are focused on more substantial goals like security in an airport, but the real answer is that these institutions are run by folks who do not care and/or have the vision to see that a more magical customer experience and killer functionality are not mutually exclusive.
That is the truth. Indeed, can you imagine, if you took the person who designed the Apple retail store experience, and gave him even two weeks to re-design the look, feel, and process flows of JFK or any other airport in the US. We would start to regain the inherent magic in the experience of going somewhere.