At the height of the pandemic, if we were to ask you to conjure up a view of your local airport, you might have envisioned an empty terminal, devoid of travelers’ lively chatter and the familiar, steady clicking of suitcases quickly approaching their departure gate. At the time, with domestic and international travel at a virtual standstill due to global lockdowns and mandates, airports were desolate places, waiting – seemingly with bated breath – for the revival of our industry. Would the hospitality industry be treated to an epic resurgence of interest, with guests from around the world exhibiting renewed and unsatiated appetites for travel? This was the question on everyone's mind as we worked to put the pandemic behind us, our sights transfixed on a more optimistic future.
Now, with the aforementioned lockdowns lifted and global travel mandates eased, travel is – once again – back on the table for individuals, families, and professionals around the world. As we had hoped, the demand for travel is alive and well, with many travelers frantically attempting to pack in two years worth of missed vacations, international adventures, events, and family reunions into their calendars. There is a catch, however. With post-pandemic staff shortages and infrastructure breakdowns at an all-time high, airports are seemingly breaking under the pressure of increased travel demand. The quiet, desolate image of airports that ruled our imagination during the pandemic's peak has been replaced with expectations of chaos, from delayed to canceled flights, long lines, unhappy travelers, and lost baggage.