MON
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Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:18 am

Most airports that have public areas over more than one level have departures on top, why? Is it just a case of the arrival bagage belts being preferentially located on the ground floor or is there another reason?
 
Sand0rf
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:04 am

Checked baggage is handled at ground level (i.e. that's where it comes out of the plane). Therefore it makes sense to have baggage claim on the same level to save the not inconsiderable energy it would require to move baggage up a floor (and then inconvenience people having to take it down again). Once baggage claim is on the ground floor it makes sense to have arrivals there to. Also the other way round, baggage from departures moves down where gravity helps with moving the baggage to the aircraft.

The other concern is that you need more space for departures -- people spend more time there and that's where an airport can make money with shops and things. In arrivals people are generally moving through the airport and leaving; as such not as much space is needed. That means you can use the extra space on that ground floor for all the behind the scenes stuff (such as baggage handling).

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TheLark
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:15 am

Sand0rf wrote:
Checked baggage is handled at ground level (i.e. that's where it comes out of the plane). Therefore it makes sense to have baggage claim on the same level to save the not inconsiderable energy it would require to move baggage up a floor (and then inconvenience people having to take it down again). Once baggage claim is on the ground floor it makes sense to have arrivals there to. Also the other way round, baggage from departures moves down where gravity helps with moving the baggage to the aircraft.


So, airports let passengers do the heavy work of lifting baggage a floor up.
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sandyb123
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:18 am

TheLark wrote:
Sand0rf wrote:
Checked baggage is handled at ground level (i.e. that's where it comes out of the plane). Therefore it makes sense to have baggage claim on the same level to save the not inconsiderable energy it would require to move baggage up a floor (and then inconvenience people having to take it down again). Once baggage claim is on the ground floor it makes sense to have arrivals there to. Also the other way round, baggage from departures moves down where gravity helps with moving the baggage to the aircraft.


So, airports let passengers do the heavy work of lifting baggage a floor up.


No because the check in desks are on the ground floor too. All the bags stay on the ground floor and passengers depart from the first floor. This also makes sense as going up a floor is more time consuming and people have more time departing but want to get out the airport quicker when arriving.

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SAAFNAV
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:18 am

Good video to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zJlI5VzAvQ

TheLark wrote:
Sand0rf wrote:
So, airports let passengers do the heavy work of lifting baggage a floor up.


Not if the people arrive on the top floor already when the roads lead them there.
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jmchevallier
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:41 am

Better to separate terminal landside and airside :

- on landside, it is customary to have departures at the upper level (when there are 2 levels) and arrivals at the lower level, as detailed above.

- on airside, ground floor is usually dedicated to baggage handling and remote gates. Departures and arrivals by boarding bridges are located in upper floors, most often departures on top. However, it is generally more cost effective to locate arrivals at mezzanine level over the departures level.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:57 am

TheLark wrote:
Sand0rf wrote:
Checked baggage is handled at ground level (i.e. that's where it comes out of the plane). Therefore it makes sense to have baggage claim on the same level to save the not inconsiderable energy it would require to move baggage up a floor (and then inconvenience people having to take it down again). Once baggage claim is on the ground floor it makes sense to have arrivals there to. Also the other way round, baggage from departures moves down where gravity helps with moving the baggage to the aircraft.


So, airports let passengers do the heavy work of lifting baggage a floor up.

All the airports that I'm familiar with have plenty of elevators/escalators to get bags to the 2nd floor.
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scbriml
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:26 am

sandyb123 wrote:
No because the check in desks are on the ground floor too.


Check-in desks are not on the ground floor at Heathrow's T5 and many others that I've used.
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a320fan
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:37 pm

scbriml wrote:
sandyb123 wrote:
No because the check in desks are on the ground floor too.


Check-in desks are not on the ground floor at Heathrow's T5 and many others that I've used.


Same at MEL, Checkin is on the upper floor above arrivals. In fact in T3 the VA terminal checkin is on the upper level at the same elevation of the departures drop off road. You then proceed to go down escalators to the level of the terminal pier, which is about a 737 door height above ground level.
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Dutchy
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:53 pm

Interesting question. Don't know the answer.

A hypothesis: all to do with travelers experience? Arriving at the airport and then moving up, once you have checked-in your luggage you can stay at the same level right upon getting to the gate and into the a/c itself. Moving up a small staircase after the security/customs check might impair this experience.
Or another reason might be that if you want your arriving passenger to buy anything, you need some space set up after the customs check, check-in needs more space than arriving passengers, so that would make sense. If you make your design just right, you can direct all your passengers, arrival and depart, and the people whom are there to pick them up and make a sell at a coffee shop, bar or magazine stand. Don't think of airports primary function as to let people catch a plane, think of them as shopping malls where they could catch a plane, that's where the money is ;-)

Can't see logistics have anything to do with that, luggage needs to move up or down anyway.
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knope2001
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:20 pm

Dutchy wrote:
A hypothesis: all to do with travelers experience? Arriving at the airport and then moving up, once you have checked-in your luggage you can stay at the same level right upon getting to the gate and into the a/c itself. Moving up a small staircase after the security/customs check might impair this experience.


I think you've hit on a key reason. It seems the (generally) preferred layout is to have departures all on the upper level -- check in, security, boarding. The advent of jet bridges put boarding upstairs, and when logistics permit you'll routinely find departures all on the upper level. Efficiency is most important to airlines when it comes to departing passengers, so the fewer obstacles for departures the better to avoid delays and missed flights.
 
gatechae
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:47 pm

In TUL, departures are on ground floor, arrivals on second. So there are exceptions to the rule.
 
Thenoflyzone
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:35 pm

gatechae wrote:
In TUL, departures are on ground floor, arrivals on second. So there are exceptions to the rule.


TUL isn't a modern airport. It's terminal was designed in the 1960's and has largely remained untouched. Concourse B was renovated starting in 2010 but that's it.

All modern airports, or older one's that have been properly renovated/expanded share the concept of arrivals below, departures above.
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Sand0rf
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:28 am

SAAFNAV wrote:


I was actually looking for that movie but couldn't find. I thinks that's the best explanation for the layout of terminals.
 
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kearnet
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:45 pm

At LAX TBIT arriving international pax arrive on top floor (enter the terminal) and then proceed down to customs/immigration/baggage claim on the top floor, except for pax from the bus gates and the 2/3 gates from the old north terminal who are on/go down to the ground floor, then go up to levels, and then follow the same walkways as the other arriving new terminal pax, before going down again
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BreninTW
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:43 am

Last month we flew into MAD and arrived at Terminal 4S. It makes no difference which floor the aircraft exited to ... we went up and down so many stairs and escalators that it would be impossible to know which floor we were actually on at any one time! I guess at some point we were actually below ground level, because we had to take the train to passport control and baggage claim.
 
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enzo011
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:48 am

Dublin Airport Terminal 2 has check in on the ground level, arrivals on the second level and departures on the third level. That is a new terminal as well as construction was started in 2007 and the terminal was opened in 2010. You check in at the bottom, then have to take 2 escalators up two levels and then go through security and have your shopping level and eating places. For your flight you have to go down then to the departure gates.
 
Bostrom
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:12 am

Thenoflyzone wrote:
gatechae wrote:
In TUL, departures are on ground floor, arrivals on second. So there are exceptions to the rule.


TUL isn't a modern airport. It's terminal was designed in the 1960's and has largely remained untouched. Concourse B was renovated starting in 2010 but that's it.

All modern airports, or older one's that have been properly renovated/expanded share the concept of arrivals below, departures above.


Unless they are on the same floor.
 
osupoke07
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Re: Airport design, why are departures normally on top of arrivals?

Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:54 pm

gatechae wrote:
In TUL, departures are on ground floor, arrivals on second. So there are exceptions to the rule.


The reason for arrivals being on the second floor is because the bags have to travel by conveyor over the departure road. No point in taking them back down again.

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