I’m currently down in Florida – getting here was a nightmare. After missing two flights (neither my fault) I could rant for hours about the inefficiencies of airports. There is definitely big money to be made by someone who can reengineer the whole security/check-in process. Alas, I am not that smart.
As I sat on the runway watching people de-ice my plane (read: long delay), my stomach started going crazy. I had traveled via train, cab and foot to make it to the airport. I had left my apartment at 7am and it was now 2:30pm. I had run all over the terminal, argued at multiple ticket counters and wasted $7.95 on a crappy internet connection. I forgot my toothbrush. I was amped. But now, sitting on the runway with my endorphins in check, hunger was catching up to me. Unfortunately all I had to look forward to was a bag of peanuts and a cup of juice. Furthermore, I would have loved to watch a DVD, but I had also forgotten to pack one of those.
The Idea: Someone should set up a nifty little catering/concierge businesses for airline food and entertainment. For example, if I have a four hour flight – maybe I don’t want to eat the fast food in the airport and I don’t want the peanuts. It would be great if I could order a roast beef sandwich, or a cup of soup and just pick it up prior to the flight. This same service would rent movies and even portable DVD players. Since I create an account online, they have my credit card number in case anything gets ’lost.’ Movies could be a limited selection of the top 10 new releases; just pick one up pre flight and drop it off once you land. This service would also be ideal for delayed flights when you’re not expecting to need hours of entertainment.
To implement, all one needs is a single kiosk per airport. To lower costs and build a partnership you could try and team with the ubiquitous Starbucks. Really all that is needed is a computer and someone to give out and pick up the videos. If I forgot a toothbrush, I just alert the Kiosk employee who sends an email to my destination airport. When I land, I just hit up the Starbucks and grab my expensive but uber convenient toothbrush.
Other ideas might be renting the new Sony Book Readers equipped with 300+ titles. If I start on one book and it bores me, I switch to another book with one click. Rent them per day, so that people could have the option to keep them over the duration of their visit. You could also order a copy of the local paper, or get a free updated list of bars and events for the next seven days in the area you are visiting.
Seems like an easy enough idea. Heck, maybe even add social networking and some targeted advertising. Why not?