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Posted by on Jan 4, 2013

How to make a wait something to wait for

How to make a wait something to wait for


Waiting for bags at Schiphol airport.

Waiting can detract from an otherwise positive experience.

The end of a Christmas vacation,  an on-time flight home,  fun movies on-board, and even no line at immigration.  But what a downer to have to wait for what seems like forever for the bags.

It doesn’t have to be that way. As we’ve documented in our simple  Line Handbook, it’s easy to create “good” waiting experiences, if you understand what the person waiting for wants.

The Welcome Intercom sign at Schiphol

And here’s another great example,  just installed at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

As the traveler waits for bags, his mind inevitably wanders to who is waiting for him on the other side, and he grows impatient.  (This is why so many airports use milky glass or a physical barrier between baggage claim and the waiting hall so travelers can’t see  loved ones and feel even worse while waiting for the bags.)

But Schiphol understands its customers.

A father uses the Welcome Intercom at Schiphol airport while waiting for his bags.

Instead of milky glass, the view to the waiting hall is open, expansive and transparent.  Passengers quickly can wave to the group waiting for them. And now,  instead of just dumbly waving to each other, families can pick up the “Welcome Intercom” -  a simple walkie-talkie  – and chat with their family on the other side. A decidedly low tech, simple solution to improve the waiting experience, on both sides of the customs divide.

In fact, this father was so engrossed talking to his young daughter, he even missed the fact that the bags had arrived.

Now that’s a great waiting experience.


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