Quiet Airports: A More Peaceful Way to Travel
Being at an airport is an exciting time – a trip to a foreign land is just a few hours away, and the start of a holiday or a new life abroad is just beginning. Sometimes, though, it can get very stressful.
The large crowds of passengers, the constant announcements, and the rush to ensure you’re where you need to be means that the first moments of your trip can be anything but plain sailing.
This is part of the reason why silent or quiet airports are starting to emerge as the choice for many. A relatively new inception, what are they and how are they being of benefit?
What is a quiet airport?
A silent or quiet airport aims to relieve some of the stress often associated with the pre- and post-flight parts of your trip.
Whilst not strictly muted, general noise around the airport is significantly reduced. Compared with most airports, where you could be hearing an announcement every few minutes, in these quiet airports you may not hear anything at all from the public address system. The exceptions would generally only be emergency announcements.
This means there are no final calls or attempts to summon passengers who are late to board.
In the waiting areas of many quiet airports, there is silence except for general chatter. Announcements are only made inside each gate. This has led to confusion for some, and a more relaxing atmosphere for others.
With the reduced noise pollution, the hope is that passengers will focus on the important announcements rather than just assume they are hearing another flight-based message that is likely irrelevant to them. It also allows passengers to immerse themselves in what they want to do, rather than constantly listening out for information. They might like to read a book, enjoy a podcast or go shopping.
With less noise there will ultimately be less stress, but this novel approach to a more peaceful environment has led to several people missing their flights as the onus is on the passenger to keep themselves informed of flight information.
Why do we need a quiet airport?
Over the years, numerous studies have taken place around the effects of noise reduction, and findings have reported that less intrusive noises and unnecessary sounds help someone feel relaxed. It was also found that blood pressure can lower, allowing for a much more stress-free and less tense atmosphere pre-flight.
There can be further benefits to passengers, though, and one test carried out on mice showed that an exposure to periods of silence can benefit the brain. This test showed that the part of the brain associated with memory, learning and emotion would develop. It is thought that this same effect benefits humans.
Where can I find a quiet airport?
At present, there are not all that many, but they are increasing in popularity and airports that would have been normally noisy due to the high volume of passengers are now more tranquil than ever before. Check out the list below to see whether the airport you will be using will help with a more relaxing experience. You might be surprised at some of the high footfall airports that are now categorised as quiet.
- Schiphol, Netherlands
- Bristol, UK
- El Prat, Spain
- Cape Town International, South Africa
- Delhi, India
- Dubai International, UAE
- Cancun International, Mexico
- Chennai, India
- Helsinki, Finland
- Eindhoven, Netherlands
- Kempegowda International, India
- London City, UK
- Mumbai, India
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Venice Marco Polo, Italy
- San Francisco Airport, USA
This list is set to rapidly expand, with airports in North America, South America and Asia all investigating the possibility of this concept.
In San Francisco, when the silent airport plan was rolled out at the end of 2019 and start of 2020, a total of 90 minutes of unnecessary daily noise was removed and there was a 40% reduction of daily noise onsite.
In addition to turning equipment off or lowering its volume, staff were also mentored on delivering any announcements at a slower pace, with better enunciation and rehearsing customer names before putting them out over a speaker system.
Sensory benefits in airports
Many of the ideas behind quiet airports in fact stem from existing practises that were prevalent in some airports around the world. Quiet spaces have been incorporated in some whilst in others, yoga and wellness areas have been developed.
These have all been seen to benefit passengers who were perhaps anxious about flying or had other concerns that they felt would be better handled in a more serene space. In 2023, for example, in order to help those who would prefer not to fly, a simulator is planned to be launched at Kansas City International. This will allow those worried about flying to run through the boarding process without fear and fully understand what will happen from the moment they arrive to the moment they board the plane.
In some airports where the entire quiet airport process hasn’t been rolled out, the quiet zones with soundproof walls and sensory activities allow them to be distracted from the other noises and activity an airport may bring.
Start your travel adventure today – get your international travel insurance from Expatriate Group and rest assured the time away will be as stress-free as the departure from the quiet airport. Get a free quote today to see how we can help.