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What’s a “Silent Airport” & Why Are They Becoming So Popular?

European flyers are enjoying a quieter travel experience as a growing number of airports adopt terminal silence.

Finland’s main international airport recently became the latest travel hub to adopt a “silent airport” policy — a calming trend that’s spreading through airports around the world, especially in Europe.

In June, Helsinki Airport (HEL), which is operated by Finavia Corp. and served 16 million flyers in 2014, discontinued announcements made throughout terminals regarding flight information and passenger paging. Like other “silent” airports, though, HEL is not completely silent; announcements at departure gates and emergency announcements remain unchanged.

“The aim of the project is to improve the comfortability of the waiting areas and to reduce the stress caused by traveling,” Finavia wrote in a press release last month. “The objective is to minimize the background noise and sense of hurry at the terminal by reducing the number of announcements.”

According to Angela Gittens, director general of Airports Council International (ACI), airports and airlines are attracted to the silent airport concept because they want to “create a calm, relaxed ambiance” for travelers. Speaking with CNN, Gittens explained silent airports help passengers “wind down while they wait for their flight to board” in common areas throughout the terminal.

Travelers passing through HEL will now need to rely on the airport’s schedule displays, mobile app or I’m Departing webpage to monitor gate and schedule information.

Heikki Koski, vice president of HEL at Finavia, noted that most major European airports have similar practices in place, so many flyers are already familiar with the silent airport model.

Koski encouraged flyers to verify the boarding time listed on their boarding passes immediately after check-in by comparing it to the HEL’s schedule displays, mobile app or webpage. Boarding times at HEL typically range from 30 to 60 minutes before departure.

[Photo: Helsinki Airport]


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Tanya934 July 9, 2015

So if you're visually impaired or have issues reading the display boards clearly?